Team America: World Police appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not too many problems cropped up here, but enough minor issues appeared to knock down my grade to a “B”.
Sharpness was a bit spotty at times. Granted, those instances were infrequent, as the vast majority of the flick looked detailed and concise. Nonetheless, more than a few scenes looked a little soft and ill-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge enhancement. As for print flaws, the movie was somewhat grainy at times, and I also saw the occasional speck or mark, though those instances were rare.
Colors worked as a highlight of the movie. The film boasted a bright and dynamic palette that the DVD replicated nicely. From start to finish, the hues were lively and bold. Blacks seemed similarly deep and rich, but shadows were less stellar. Low-light shots always remained visible, but I thought they lacked great definition. Ultimately, this was a good transfer, though.
With all its action scenes, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Team America: World Police offered many opportunities for activity. It usually took advantage of these, though it didn’t come across as stellar enough to inch up to “A” territory. The soundfield presented a fairly broad and engaging setting. The score and songs demonstrated good stereo delineation, and the various effects were accurately placed. They meshed together smoothly and added a fine sense of environment.
The surrounds came into play mostly during the action sequences. The fights kicked the spectrum into higher gear, as did shots with vehicles. The part with the sky battle offered the movie’s most impressive piece, though a number of other scenes were strong as well.
No issues with audio quality manifested themselves. Speech always remained natural and concise, with no edginess or issues related to intelligibility. Music was broad and dynamic. Effects sounded clean and accurate, and they packed a nice punch when appropriate. Across the board, the movie boasted tight, firm bass response. Though the mix lacked the dazzle factor necessary for “A” consideration, it worked well enough to assure itself a sold “B+”.
Next we find a long roster of short supplements. Unfortunately, no audio commentary shows up, as it appears Parker and Stone prefer to discuss only their crummier movies like Orgazmo or Cannibal! The Musical. The extras open with a featurette called Team America: An Introduction. This five-minute and nine-second piece includes comments from writer/director/producer/actor Trey Parker and writer/producer Matt Stone. They talk about the movie’s story and why they did it with puppets. You won’t really learn anything, but it’s amusing, especially when Parker rants about why he hates actors.
Entitled Building the World, the next featurette goes for 12 minutes and 41 seconds. It includes remarks from Stone, Parker, production designer Jim Dultz, visual consultant David Rockwell, set decorator Richard C. Walker, and property master Brad Elliott. The program covers the movie’s sets and production design. We get a good look at both the overall look as well as many details. Both elements work well. It’s good to learn about the big picture, but I especially like the little tidbits when we find out the quirky elements of the set design. “World” is a terrific little piece.
Next comes the seven-minute and 59-second Crafting the Puppets. It presents information from Parker, Stone, puppet supervisor/principal puppeteer Stephen Chiodo, puppet producer/principal puppeteer Edward Chiodo, puppet art director/principal puppeteer Charles Chiodo, puppet designer/principal puppeteer Norman Tempia, mold maker Steve Newburn, lead painter Thomas Killeen, puppeteer Mark Bryan Wilson, lead mechanic/principal puppeteer Jurgen Heimann, lead animatronic/computer control Joe Andreas, costume designer Karen Patch, and sculptor Don William Lanning. As one might expect, “Crafting” looks at the design and execution of the marionettes. We get a solid overview of the various stages required to bring these puppets to life, and this is a worthwhile program.
For more on operating the puppets, we head Pulling the Strings. This 10-minute and seven-second featurette offers information from Parker, Stone, Tempia, Charles Chiodo, puppet coordinator/principal puppeteer Frank Langley IV, Edward Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo, and principal puppeteer Kevin Carlson. The show goes over the various technical challenges required to manipulate the marionettes. This offers some nuts and bolts as well as creative issues presented by the conflict between the ultra-planned world of puppeteering and the impromptu nature of Parker and Stone. It gives us another strong take on the behind the scenes work for Police.
After this comes Capturing the Action. It fills six minutes and 42 seconds with notes from Parker, Stone, Langley, and cinematographer Bill Pope. We learn why Parker and Stone hired Pope, the movie’s lighting and photography, and unusual concerns and benefits created by the format. “Action” takes on its topic as well as the other shows and offers another nice examination of the material.
Yet another technical featurette covers Miniature Pyrotechnics. The four-minute and 49-second show gives us remarks from Parker, Stone, and special effects supervisor Joe Viskocil. We see some specifics about the various explosions in the flick. Less informative than the others, “Pyrotechnics” mostly just offers a quick overview of techniques, but it still manages to give us a few insights.
For a look at one of the main characters, we head to the five-minute and nine-second Up Close With Kim Jong-Il. We hear from Pope, Stone, Parker, Tempia, Elliott, They discuss the choice to feature Jong-Il, research and design issues, and puppet specifics. It creates another brief but fun and informative program.
After this we find a pair of tests. We get a Dressing Room Test (two minutes, four seconds) and a Puppet Test (4:08). “Room” is just an early version of the scene where Spottswoode recruits Gary and not terribly interesting, but “Puppet” - which uses the Spottswoode marionette in a variety of circumstances - offers a cool look at sample footage.
10 Deleted/Extended Scenes and Outtakes go for six minutes, six seconds. These range from pretty good (“I’ll Never Be a Racist Again”) to fairly superfluous (“Gary Outside of the Tavern”) to just plain silly (“You’re Puppets!”). They move quickly, however, and are usually entertaining.
In the Animated Storyboards area, we look at six scenes. We examine the prep work for “Paris Opening” (three minutes, 52 seconds), “Gary’s Flashback” (0:48), “A Member of the Team” (2:39), “Kim Jong Il’s Underwater Lair” (1:32), “FAG Meets Team America” (2:06), and “Kim Jong Il’s Bedroom” (1:09). These storyreels present filmed storyboards accompanied by dialogue and some effects. Because they offer sometimes very different takes on the scenes, the storyreels are unusually interesting. Actually, it’d be cool to see the entire movie constructed in this way to get a look at an alternate Police.
In addition to two trailers for America, the DVD opens with some promos. We find ads for the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, South Park Season Five, Fade to Black and Coach Carter.
Like most efforts from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Team America: World Police never manages to really take flight and soar. However, it parodies a number of subjects well and remains entertaining and insightful enough to work. The DVD presents pretty good picture and audio along with a small roster of well-produced extras. Don’t expect transcendent material here, but Police turns into something fun and amusing for the most part.