Team America, World Police, and doesn’t that pretty much say it all. Clearly the filmmakers have a negative image of America as world police, or at least a strong appreciation for the ironies of the issues involved. By juxtaposing verbal information with contradictory visual information the filmmakers make a clear yet unthreatening statement about American foreign policy and action. For instance in the opening sequence Team America moves to stop terrorists, verbally we hear the Americans making statements, congruent with those of current policy makers, of their mission, that the foreigners have nothing to fear, that they are there to stop and prevent violence and create safety, and so forth. Meanwhile visually we see their actions cause wide spread unnecessary destruction and death. This contradiction is never really noted directly, only its unspoken presence in contrast to direct statements is provided to viewers. This way, it is the viewer’s interpretation of the movie, rather than the film itself, which develops a political position. Meanwhile the movie continues in its satire of many issues, not only those of American foreign policy (although that is a central theme) but it also broadly uses clichés and cultural conventions as entertainment and quick easy communication.
The story line itself, the lost love in the beginning, finding a new love, the love triangle, all very cheesy classical story lines, which is entierly befitting the needs and message of this film.
I agree with Aaron’s statements that celebrities have just as much right to voice their political opinions as any other citizen. I am not, however, surprised to see the issue parodied in this film which parodies so much. All in all the film succeeds in being funny, but for me it is not the kind of movie I’d want to see more than once. Honestly, if it weren’t for this course, I probably wouldn’t have seen it the first time, but, surprisingly, I don’t watch too many movies.
On another note, I think this film must have set some sort of record for oral sex references. From the landing strip in the president’s mouth to the use of oral sex as a proof of loyalty, I’m sure they did SNL members, and other such comedians, proud in their creative and flexible use of the oral sex metaphor.
In another side note, since there isn’t really a reading this particular week to discuss this film in light of, I would like to say something about German POW’s from WWII. On the history channel, (they love their WWII specials) There was a program recently (and probably replayed repeatedly) about the experience of German POW’s kept on American soil. In contrast to our current political controversies and embarrassments over the treatment of current POW’s and other prisoners, the POW’s then were treated exceedingly well. Geneva Conventions were followed very strictly and all the German POW’s were treated with the same standards as our troops. This meant, controversially, that they were not subjected to the same food rationing as American citizens (all this information is according to this documentary and has not been cross referenced by the way). Therefore they were feed better than most citizens of the time and recounted experiences of burning food, the excesses being more than they could consume, so that they would continue to receive generous proportions. Also they had available recreation (playing soccer, ect.)To get to the point, in interviews many former German POW’s talked about how the good treatment they received surprised them, they recounted being stuck in transit to a prison in one instance, and feared violence from the locals only to be greeted with gifts of food and people telling them “welcome to America”. This kindness and generosity directly contradicted the image of America they had received from Hitler propaganda. This aided greatly in teaching POW’s messages other than those of Nazism. Although this was not the intention of the military, who stated the favorable treatment was given to hopefully insure equally good treatment of American POW’s, it was very successful in changing the minds of prisoners. Today in the ‘war on terror’ the minds of individuals are the sole battleground. In this film we see that represented as a great focus is placed on processes of propaganda, for instance how the celebs were victims of propaganda and therefore a tool of propaganda, in believing Kim Jong and acting for his behalf. It makes we wonder though what some positive action, not merely propaganda, could do. If we treated prisoners very well, despite the controversies that would subsequently arise, would it help to create a more positive image of America, not just in the minds of prisoners (guilty and innocent alike), but also in the minds of foreign nations and their peoples? Just a thought.