Team America, World Police - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Team America, World Police


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Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :4stars:




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Movie

All right, as a HUGE South Park guy I have to admit that South Park is not the best thing I’ve seen Matt Stone and Trey Parker do. While I love The Book of Mormon broadway play, reveled in Baseketball and loved South Park to death, there is NOTHING that tops Team America: World Police. Maybe it’s because I was in college during 911 and the whole “post 911 world” thing was a big part of my 20s, but they hit the ground running and firing every weapon in the arsenal at full for this one.

What do you do when you’ve made films about a Mormon adult actor, made a successful TV show that literally mocks anyone and everyone, and produced a hit Broadway Musical and are living in the early years of a George Bush presidency during the height of the patriotic fervor craze? Well, you got it. You make a super patriotic action movie mocking the U.S. Military, Kim Jong Il, and even Hollywood themselves…….with marionettes.

In a post 911 world, America has amped up her super secret military black ops presence in the world so we’re just about ready for anything. But unfortunately, Kim Jong Il is funding a group of Jihadi terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, and even the super duper secret (and totally tough as nails) black ops group “Team America” can’t seem to track them down. Leader of the group, Spottswoode (Daran Norris) comes up with a brilliant idea. Get an actor with no knowledge of guerrilla warfare, insert him into the lower ranks of the Jihadi group, and have him act his way up the ranks. Cuz you know, terrorists can totally tell when you’re a soldier, just like how criminals can sniff out undercover cops, right?

I don’t care what anybody says, but Team America is pure brilliance. It has the absolute right mix of action movie, slapstick humor (aided by the Marionettes), South Park like dirty humor, and of course Matt and Trey literally mocking EVERYTHING about the war on terror, from it’s advocates to its detractors. Plus the use of Marionettes is genius. The duo took what would have been your every day animated film and amped it up a level with live action marionettes, which for some bizarre reason actually WORKED way better than expected. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody, no matter what side of the political fence you’re on as Matt and Trey unleash merciless salvo after salvo of jokes at the viewer. We have everything from mocking of the S.A.G. (although they slightly tweak the name of the organization to the Film Actors Guild, so there’s plenty of 12 year old laughs with that acronym), Michael Moore and his insane rants during the early 2000s, and yes, LOTS of poking fun at Jihadi terrorist cliches.

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While it sounds outrageous on paper, the movie actually ends up being even more outrageous in real life. It’s basically a reverse Michael Bay movie, with Matt and Trey deconstructing Bay’s over the top “bla bla bloom!!!!” film making style, and infusing in some very biting satire with Thunderbirds visuals. It’s so insane, so crazy, yet somehow one of the single funniest and most quotable films of my life time. You ever have one of those guilty pleasure movies where you and the guy friends all get together to watch while the wives go in the other room rolling their eyes and saying things like “oh, they’re watching THAT movie”? This is that movie. It’s a hilarious roller coaster ride of Stone/Parker trademark crude humor, and a rather biting bit of satire on the state of Hollywood action movies as well as the War on Terror. It seems like it would offend one side of the political fence more than others, but for some reason it allowed both red and blue to come together, have a few beers, and giggle like we’re back in middle school again over fart jokes.

So the question is, who is Matt and Trey making fun of? Who is the target audience for the movie? Especially after taking on a HIGHLY polarizing topic as the war on terror back in 2004? The answer is….everyone? No one? I’m not sure? Who knows, all I know is that the South Park duo are gleefully slinging mud in every direction they could while still showing some genuine love for action film making in general (despite cheerfully deconstructing Michael Bay’s whole filmatic approach). Over the top sex scenes, violence everywhere, and enough “oo-rah!” chest thumping for any red blooded American. Personally I’m not sure if the film could ever be made today, not for fear of being canceled by the “woke”, but because Matt and Trey struck at a singular point in time where this was all relevant for all Americans, on both sides of the political aisle. They caught lightning in a bottle, and I seriously doubt it could ever be replicated. Heck, what sort of animated (ish) film from a bunch of stoners could actually get people worried that it might affect the elections of 2004 (in which way, I’m not exactly sure. I’m not sure if the people worried about the film even knew). But hey, we have this glorious bit of post 911 comedic genius, and I’ll rewatch it till they stop making TV’s and we have VR chipsets implanted in our brains.




Rating:

Rated R for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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I haven’t viewed the Shout! Studios Blu-ray yet, but I’m guessing they used the same 4K master Paramount used, as both the Blu-ray and the 4K UHD are a solid upgrade over the 2015 Blu-ray from WB/Paramount. Clean and clear as a whistle, the film looks incredible on 4K UHD. Unlike South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, there is no super simplistic animation to limit the visual joy. Instead the live action marionettes look fantastic, allowing us to see every seam and crease on their plastic bodies, as well as the overly cheesy practical effects used for the action sequences (One of the interviews I saw years ago had Matt and Trey going into detail on just how prevalent practical effects were, and how they rigged up the explosions etc). Black levels are deep and inky, and I noticed no signs of banding or noise spiking (which I did see in the Blu-ray. There’s a nice fine layer of grain throughout, but it’s not obtrusive or very obvious at all. It’s just a nicely textured looking image.








Audio: :4stars:
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This appears to be the same 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that was found on the original Blu-ray, and once more, not a bad thing. The track, much like the movie, almost parodies a Michael Bay style extravaganza by playing lip service too, but going the opposite direction as well. There’s tons of driving cars, missiles and explosions, the great Pyramids exploding in great deal, but the bass is sucked out of those moments (for the most part). It’s punchy and adds weight, but it doesn’t come with that ground altering shock wave that you’d expect (could be due to satire, could simply be budget constraints). Dialog is crisp and cleanly located up front, and surrounds get a modest amount of activity. Most of the big bombastic moments are saved for the musical numbers, but there were a few times (usually with the plane battles) where things got a bit more excited.







Extras: :4stars:
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Team America: An Introduction
• Building the World
• Crafting the Puppets
• Pulling the Strings
• Capturing the Action
• Miniature Pyrotechnics
• Up Close with Kim Jong-Il
• Dressing Room Test
• Puppet Test
• Deleted/Extended Scenes and Outtakes
• Animated Storyboards
• Theatrical Trailers












Final Score: :4.5stars:


Team America is a ball, and I’m glad we finally get the film in 4K. Originally Warner (distributing for Paramount) released a barebones disc including only the theatrical cut back in the early days of the format, but a little less than a year ago Shout! Studios actually released a special edition with a ton of extras and BOTH cuts of the film. Strangely Paramount took the rights back for this 4K UHD release, releasing it themselves instead of allowing Shout! Studios to re-release it in 4K. And interestingly enough, this release is a lot closer to the Shout! Studios release than I would have thought. The Shout! Extras are all included on the Blu-ray, which is the unrated cut version of the film, while the 4K UHD disc contains the theatrical edition. So while there’s no unrated cut in 4K UHD, we do get both cuts of the film, all the extras from the Shout! Release (which were probably provided TO them by Paramount I’m guessing) AND what looks like to be a new video encode for the Blu-ray as well (which seems to handily outclass the old 2015 Blu-ray). So a near perfect release. Highly recommended. Derka Derka, haka sherpa sherpa, bakala


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Elle Russ, Kristen Miller, Daran Norris, Masasa Moyo
Directed by: Trey Parker
Written by: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: R
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 25th, 2024
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Recommendation: Awesome Watch

 
Last edited:

mechman

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Wow they released 4K version of this?!?! I figured this one would have been on the backburner.
 

Michael Scott

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Wow they released 4K version of this?!?! I figured this one would have been on the backburner.

haha, I know! I was pleasantly surprised by it.
 

Todd Anderson

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Great review Mike. In total agreement with you on this one... look forward to seeing it in 4K!
 
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