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America: The Motion Picture (Movie Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film

SUMMARY

A revisionist take on the American Revolution that features an odd assortment of historical characters and pretty much skewers friend and foe alike in this rather vapid animated feature.

Just in time for the big holiday weekend that celebrates the birth of the United States of America comes the animated full-length feature, America: The Motion Picture, from the pen of Dave Callaham (Mortal Kombat, Wonder Woman 1984, The Expendables) that delivers an alternative universe version of American history.

The show opens with a bang as the British invade Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was just signed, and proceed to blow away Ben Franklin (Jeff Fastner), John Hancock (Matt Thompson), Thomas Jefferson (Eric Sims) and the rest of this document’s signers. The scene shifts to Ford’s Theater where lifelong friends Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and George Washington (Channing Tatum) gather for a play when Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg) unexpectedly shows up. Benedict turns into a werewolf and rips out Abe’s throat but not before the dying Lincoln asks George to name the new country America. George straps on a pair of motorized chain saws and does in scores of Benedict’s redcoats.

Later we get to see George having epic sex with Martha (Judy Greer) who immediately informs him that she is pregnant (spoiler alert: the real GW had no children by Martha). We are also treated to the heartwarming backstory of young George and young Abe. Where America:The Motion Picture really takes off is when George joins forces with uncouth frat boy Sam Adams (Jason Mantzoukas) and dim-witted Paul Revere (Bobby Moynihan) whose best friend is his horse Clyde. During another encounter with the Brits, scientist Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn) who turns out to be a Chinese chick saves herself from a hanging and becomes part of a motley crew that is later joined by Geronimo (Raoul Trujillo) and John Henry the Blacksmith (Killer Mike) who will forge the silver bullet to take down the “Wolfman.”  Along the way to an eventual showdown with Benedict Arnold and the “Fun Police” aka the British, we are treated to a vision of the Titanic sinking in Boston Harbor during the Tea Party. By the way, dousing the Colonists in British tea turns them into Brits.

To keep the historical and political incorrectness of the storyline, the British Monarch is King James (Simon Pegg) who arrives on the Titanic and urges Benedict Arnold to put an end to the Colonial uprising.  The turning point, if there is one in this film occurs when Arnold kidnaps Martha from the Washington home and takes her to the Gettysburg Address to live with King James.  With a no-holds-barred fight to the finish between the Colonial irregulars, including Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, there are special effects and blood and gore galore before the issue is finally settled for the U S of A–or is it?

This mashup of American history is more a mess up than it is anything else. If the intent of America: the Motion Picture was to induce laughter, this somehow eluded Dave Callaham and his cartoonists. The device of making George Washington more clod than champion of the American way wears thin pretty quickly as do the seemingly endless series of frat-boy jokes.  When Benedict Arnold becomes the most interesting character in this rather vapid storyline, you almost wish that this revisionist take on the American Revolution concluded with the Brits carrying the day.  Special effects abound and provide the small bit of interest in what is happening on the screen–I did like the Redcoats Star Wars fighting machines–but the staggering amount of animated violence is enough for parents to make sure that their children are nowhere in the room when this film is streaming. Viewers who grooved on South Park and Team America will probably go gaga over this film. For those who want to get a full dose of racist commentary, women’s liberation and other contemporary causes, just skip to the end of the film and save yourselves an hour and a half.  For the rest of us who still possess even the slightest modicum of critical faculties, America: The Motion Picture is, so far, the must-miss movie of Summer 2021.


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America: The Motion Picture is streaming now on Netflix


  • Studios & Distributors: Combo Estudio | Floyd County Productions | Free Association | Lord Miller | Netflix
  • Rating Certificate: TV-MA
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English
  • Run Time: 92 Mins.
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Director: Matt Thompson
  • Written By: Dave Callaham
  • Release Date: 30 June 2021
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