Team America satirises almost every convention of an action movie, America’s political views, and the all important American actors who set themselves up as key spokespeople on world events. It does this by exposing the debateable issues and flaws, and ridiculing them. The film’s main focus is America’s blind view of the rest of the world and the USA’s ‘Global responsibility’, a quotation taken from neo-conservative statement. In fact, the main aims in the neo-con statement are that America must accept its global responsibility and vital roles in maintaining peace and security in the rest of the world.
The quotation from Team America’s logo: “World Police” refers to the country’s views. The film highlights America’s arrogance and how they think that they’re the world leader and they can resolve anything. However, in the first scene of the terrorists in Paris, Team America arrive in their flashy helicopters with the American flag embedded in everything, and they end up blowing up half of the town and telling everyone that everything is “bon”. Team America share the same views as the neo-conservatives but the film mocks them. This can be seen when the news reporter is reading the news about Team America’s ‘world policing’ in Cairo, and the Film Actors Guild, especially Alec Baldwin.
Team America has stereotypical representations of practically everything, from a group of terrorists speaking a language which seems to consist of about five words, to a young French boy with an ice lolly singing “Frere Jacques”. These stereotypes have problems and powers. The powers are that they are easily recognisable, and they can be humorous because essentially, they are just using exaggeration. However, people may take offence to stereotypes. The use of stereotypes could again, show America’s arrogance on how they see the rest of the world. This is also shown in the languages spoken, e.g. the French boy singing “Frere Jacques” and the terrorists saying “Muhammad” and “jihad” all the time.
Another ironic feature in Team America is the use of puppets. It is ironic because the film has adult themes and topics, yet the producers decide to use puppets which are for children. By using puppets Team America goes against the Hollywood view that everything needs to be as realistic as possible. Also, the puppets could satirise the lack of talent in Hollywood actors.
The lyrics from the non-diegetic music are of particular interest. The son “Freedom Isn’t Free” could be similar to the American government’s views on freedom, and Gary’s speech where he says he doesn’t want the guilt, could be the views of an average American citizen. Also, the song “America, Fuck Yeah!” has the word “America” repeated constantly followed by “fuck yeah” which again shows America’s “greatness” and all of America’s ironic brands and views such as Wal-Mart, democrats, and Taco Bell.
The puppet fight scene contains ironic non-diegetic music which is an example of incongruity. It has some fsat-paced music which builds tension then becomes very lively and energetic. It is a clichï¿½ of action movies and it is funny in Team America because the puppet fight is unrealistic, yet there is serious music in the background.
The film has many different tools to make it funny such as parodies and intertextualities. Team America uses clichï¿½s from action movies such as Top Gun and Armageddon, however the film satirises them to them funny. An example of this could be the classic establishing shot of the team walking towards the camera in slow motion. It is an iconic shot because it makes the team look like heroes by using a low angle shot and dramatic music, however in Team America it is ironic because the team aren’t heroes, although they think they are.
Team America also mocks the “bad-guy” which every action film has, with the Korean dictator called Kim-Jong-Il. One of his main scenes is of the mass murderer singing a song about how “ronery” he is. This is another example of irony. Also, Kim-Jong-Il uses the stereotypical Asian pronunciation of the letter “R”. This is ironic because the only letter not in the Korean language is “R”, so instead of saying “ronery” he should be pronouncing the “L” correctly but mispronouncing the “R”, for example “loundhouse” instead of “roundhouse”.
Team America doesn’t just satirise Hollywood movies, it also mocks the actors. In the movie there is a group of actors called F.A.G. who set themselves up as important spokespeople on world events. This is satirised when Janeane Garafolo says “As actors, it is our job to read the news and say it as if it’s our opinion.” What this implies is that famous American actors take it upon themselves to tell the world news, as if they have a “global responsibility”.
Team America does not only parody movies, it also parodies a popular musical called “Rent”. The scene where Gary first appears is of him performing in a play called “Lease”. The song being performed is called “Everyone Has AIDS”, which satirises Rent because some of the characters suffer from AIDS.
To conclude, I think that Team America is a very successful satire because it is so unique and it satirises conventions of action movies and it mocks Hollywood actors who we may look up to, and of course, it mocks America.