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‘America: The Motion Picture’ movie review: Netflix’s animated satire is goofy fun

A still from ‘America: The Motion Picture’  

What a riot this movie is! With Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) as producers, irreverent laughs are guaranteed. Directed by Matt Thompson, this tongue-in-cheek history of the birth of America has jokes and pop cultural references flying thick and fast. America: The Motion Picture feels like an animated version of Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1 tempered with lashings of Richard Armor’s It All Started with Columbus.

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George Washington (Channing Tatum) and his best bud, Abe Lincoln (Will Forte) are hanging out at the theatre when Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg) who, apart from being a traitor is also a werewolf, tears off Lincoln’s throat. Though he wants to shame Washington “with cutting dialogue,” Arnold decides to dash off, with his coachman (who looks suspiciously like Jason Statham) biting off, “Let us get you transported.”

America: The Motion Picture
  • Director: Matt Thompson
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Jason Mantzoukas, Olivia Munn, Bobby Moynihan, Judy Greer, Will Forte, Raoul Trujillo, Killer Mike, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg
  • Duration: 98 minutes
  • Storyline: A revisionist American history complete with a chainsaw-wielding George Washington and a traitorous werewolf that goes by the name of Benedict Arnold

Though gutted by the loss of his friend, Washington decides to challenge the evil Arnold and avenge Lincoln’s death. With the curvaceous Martha Dandridge’s (Judy Greer) encouragement, Washington sets about assembling the A-team. Riotous Sam Adams (Jason Mantzoukas) hates the British because they are want to outlaw beer for tea. There is Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn), a Chinese woman, who bats for science not sorcery. Paul Revere (Bobby Moynihan) joins the gang because he wants “people friends.” Geronimo (Raoul Trujillo) hopes to right wrongs done to his people, while John Henry (Killer Mike) thinks Washington is not the worst choice for the leader of the free world.

The jokes are silly but fun, especially the word-play ones and anachronistic visual gags. Sample this—Sam tells Washington, “I took murder lessons from John Wick,” and Washington asks, “The candle maker?” There is also a whole section on the Gettysburg Address being a place.

The climax as Washington takes on King James (Simon Pegg)—no one said the movie was even trying to be authentic, is suitably loud and fiery with the Beverley Hills Cop theme playing in the background. There are elephants, a knavish Transformer-style Big Ben, double decker buses atop AT-AT walkers from the Battle of Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back) and a murderous football called... yes, you guessed right, Manchester!

If you are in the mood for some goofy fun, America: The Motion Picture is just the ticket.

America: The Motion Picture is currently streaming on Netflix

 


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 9:45:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/america-the-motion-picture-movie-review-netflixs-animated-satire-is-goofy-fun/article35075350.ece

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