Political Puppets Perform; Team America: World Police

Team AmericaThere’s an awesome movie coming out this October that will mix the puppetry of the classic 1969 Thunderbirds TV show with the wit and humor of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Team America: World Police is a plot based on the War on Terror, but funny, because it’s done with freakin’ puppets! You can skip straight to the awesome photos over at South Park Alliance, or read the article at Ain’t It Cool News, where Moriarty Visits Matt & Trey On The TEAM AMERICA Set!

The funniest part is the reaction of Fox movie execs when they first saw how the movie opens on a puppet stage within a puppet stage:

The film opens with a shot of an obviously fake backdrop with a badly drawn Eiffel Tower, nothing realistic about it. A fairly awful puppet comes walking out in front of it, and I had a moment where I thought, “Oh, god, is it all going to look like this?” Evidently, when they first screened the footage for Paramount executives, the prankster spirit that is alive and well in the guys led them to make sure that this was the first shot they saw from the entire production, prompting one executive to actually yell “Oh, god, they fucked us!”

That’s the gag, though. As the camera pans left, we get our first look at a huge beautiful outdoor Paris set, and we realize that what we were looking at is a sidewalk puppet show, being performed by a puppet puppeteer. Dozens of Parisians are out, walking in the park, riding bikes, enjoying the sun. There’s even an annoying mime trying to get everyone’s attention. A small French boy walks along with his mother, enjoying a chocolate pop, so distracted by it that he walks right into the back of a terrorist. How do we know he’s a terrorist? Because of the turban, the briefcase with the blinking light on it, and the temp track from BLACK HAWK DOWN. In the final film, the score will actually be composed by their SP: BL&U collaborator Marc Shaiman, but for now, the temp track works really well.

As soon as the little boy notices that blinking briefcase and tells his mother, Team America’s helicopter swoops in overhead and they drop in, ready to kick some terrorist ass. Because they play it like a regular action movie, right down to the cheesy one-liners (“Hey, terrorist! Terrorize this!”), it feels both familiar and incredibly absurd. The action is especially funny. There’s something about two marionettes trying to have a bad-ass martial arts fight that should give any audience a wicked fit of the giggles. “I think there’s going to be a moment, about ten minutes into the movie, where it’s really going to hit people. “Holy shit, this is really going to be an entire movie about puppets.” Hopefully, they won’t freak out and run for the door.

Judging by the popularity of JibJab’s “This Land,” this could be very timely to see how public opinion of the elections will be swayed by humor if the movie features Bush or Kerry in any way.

19 NEW Team America Pictures [South Park Alliance]
AICN Exclusive! Moriarty Visits Matt & Trey On The TEAM AMERICA Set! F*#k, Yeah!! [Ain’t It Cool News]

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