Naughty Puppets in 'Team America' DVD13 May, 2005 By: Fred Topel
Scene from Team America
Unrated DVD releases have become the norm for edgy films, but usually the viewers can't tell what's been added.
That won't be the case with Team America: World Police, the marionette movie from “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which streets May 17 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The notorious puppet sex scene reaches scatological proportions in the new cut. Parker and Stone originally included the extreme sex acts to distract the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) from other scenes. It worked, and they got an ‘R' after taking the scene out.
But when deciding to restore the scene on DVD, Parker and Stone debated putting the shots back in.
“Matt wanted to put them in, and I didn't want to put them in,” Parker said. “We were making this decision at 4 [a.m.] on a Tuesday night, when we were finishing our last ‘South Park' before vacation. And finally I was like, ‘All right, I'm tired.’
Ultimately, the filmmakers stand behind both the ‘R'-rated and unrated cuts.
“The movie is not about puppets having sex,” Stone said. “The heart of the movie is still in the theatrical version. We would never have released it if we thought that it was compromised in any big way.”
Parker and Stone believe a more appropriate title for the unrated cut would be “The MPAA Cut,” because the MPAA's restrictions inspired them to be raunchier than they otherwise might have been.
While “South Park” DVDs and the duo's previous films Orgazmo and Cannibal: The Musical feature entertaining commentary tracks, the creators felt it was too soon to record one for Team America.
“We're just burnt out,” Stone said. “Emotionally, you're just not at a place where you can really talk well about the movie. I think it would be really kind of an angry commentary track.”
Parker and Stone said they aren't fans of DVD extras. “I think DVDs should just be the movie. As long as the movie is there and it's the way it should be, that's the statement,” Stone said.
Even so, Team America is loaded with featurettes on the technical aspects of puppeteering, miniatures, production design, costumes and more. The duo wanted to do justice to the artists who helped them realize their vision.