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Team America: World Police - People talk about offensive, I thought the treatment of Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor was offensive



Feature by: Jack Foley

IN TERMS of offensive subject matter, Team America: World Police pretty much has it all - puppet sex, a biting commentary on world politics and the cream of Hollywood being shot or blown up.

Yet, for the most part, it's funny, pertinent and actually pokes fun at some of the more gung-ho and unintentionally offensive material that emerges from Hollywood.

And for that, co-creator and South Park supremo, Matt Stone, is unapologetic.

He maintains that the film is principally 'about the emotions of being an American today' and frequently becomes frustrated by some of the views surrounding it.

Hence, when asked about the censors during a recent press conference, at London's Soho Hotel, he explained: "I think there should be a ratings system; I think that parents should know what their kids are going to see, and I don't think this particular film, or the South Park movie, is right for 10-year-olds to see.

"But I also think there's a workable situation for how to make that work, while also not censoring films, and the MPAA doesn't do it.

"I don't know if there's a censor board that works any better here but in America it doesn't work because what you have is something like, we're not Stanley Kubrick or some great artist or whatever, and our film was somewhat censored.

"But then, I can guarantee, tons of 10-year-olds saw it, so it doesn't work on either end. It's like they censor stuff and still the kids get in, which is kind of ridiculous."

The cuts in question mainly centred around the now infamous marionette sex scene, during which a number of positions are shown.

But Stone insists that all is not lost and that many of the 'banned positions' will be re-introduced for an uncut version on DVD.

And when asked whether there was any controversy surrounding any of the A-list actors depicted in the film - who are seen to visibly be against Team America's brand of justice - he was equally candid.

"Here's all I've heard of the whole thing. When Alec Baldwin heard we were doing a movie and he was going to be in it, he called Paramount and said he wanted to do the voice. And we said 'thanks but no thanks, that's ok'. That's all we heard from Alec Baldwin.

"And Sean Penn wrote the letter where he got mad with me and Trey [Parker] for doing the movie - and that speaks for itself, and speaks pretty badly for itself, but that's his response to the movie, and other than that I haven't heard a thing.

"Hopefully, I think most of them probably have a sense of humour. I actually think that people like George Clooney and Matt Damon do have a sense of humour. Or maybe they're pissed off and they're silent. I don't know."

As for Michael Moore, who is seen as the lead voice against Team America in the film, Stone will admit to being slightly peeved with the way he was used in the documentary, Bowling for Columbine - even though he has nothing personal against him.

"He didn't mis-represent me in the film at all. What he did, and it really pissed off Trey, and kind of pissed off me too, was that he put animation right after us, that I think was mixed.

"And tons of people come up to us and say 'oh I love that animation you guys did in Bowling for Columbine', it's very South Park-esque. But we didn't do it, and I was offended by the cartoon - I thought it was retarded, personally, but that's just my opinion.

"And the only reason my opinion matters is cos people thought I did it, and it really was a bummer, and I think it was a good reference to what Michael Moore does in films; he doesn't necessarily explicitly say this is what it is, but he creates meaning where there is none by cutting things together.

"So we've been a personal kind of victim of that. I don't really hate the guy. I disagree with him politically about as strong as you can.

"But if you're doing that movie and you're trying to make Gary [Johnston] confused by the voices in the world, then you have to have Michael Moore be the voice of anti-Team America; I mean, he is, for better or worse, that voice in America right now.

"And more than anything else, it was fun just to make a puppet of him and blow him up!"

It is clear from spending time in the company of Stone that he is a take-no-prisoners kind of guy.

So when asked about his views on Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, who are particularly singled out for derision by Team America, he is equally forthright with his opinion.

"People talk about offensive, I thought the treatment of Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor was offensive.

"They premiered it on an aircraft carrier. I mean, Trey was actually there, and he said it was just the most offensive thing. You know, this movie is as important as Pearl Harbor - that's just offensive to me."

 

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