“Ding Dong! Its America motherf**kers” – George Washington (not literally)
If you thought Hamilton was an interesting and unique reconstruction of early American history, then you’ll be surprised by what this latest Netflix original, animated ‘motion picture’ has to say.
Far more of a mockery than it is an informative and intelligent piece highlighting the birth of America. Its self aware structure and ludicrous tomfoolery would have you believe it was written from the perspective of a Brit. But apparently that isn’t the case. Directed by Matt Thompson, who has previously worked on shows like Archer (which is evident from its animation style) and written by Dave Callaham. America: The Motion Picture is a satirical but often too silly showcase of America’s highs and biggest blunders throughout their lifetime.
After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by the hand of Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg), George Washington (Channing Tatum) rages war against his betrayer and the British army led by King James (Simon Pegg). Knowing he can’t start a revolution on his own, Washington seeks help in those willing to fight against their oppression and the British colony.
Washington starts his recruitment process with the beer loving, frat boy Samuel Adams (Jason Mantzoukas). Then going on to find a gender reversed Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn), the derpy jouster Paul Revere (Bobby Moynihan), a native American known as Geronimo (Raoul Max Trujillo) and Blacksmith (Killer Mike) whose namesake is fitting with his occupation.
Together this band of patriotic, overzealous oddballs will usher in a new era for the newly branded America, and will dismantle the British empire.
If you’ve ever sat through an episode of Archer, you’ll be familiar with the style of comedy that is on display here. It’s kooky, chaotic but most importantly doesn’t take itself (or its subject matter) at all seriously. Poking fun at past wars, previous atrocities and the modern world we live in today. Both the American way of life and the British are key tools of mockery and comedy for our amusement, and it appears nothing is safe of slander.
As is expected with the genre, not all jokes will land. But it does manage to stay fairly consistent throughout. With enthusiastic performances from its voice cast and its bombastic and fun approach of retelling American history, Matt Thompson’s short-ish streaming service spectacle delivers handsomely as goofy popcorn entertainment, if nothing else.
Ushering a new era of star spangled stupidity, driving home that “Murica, F@$K YEAH!” narrative to the heights we haven’t seen since Team America: World Police (2004). Whilst America: The Motion Picture does feel like a highlight reel of the best segments from an animated TV show, it does offer the laughs when it needs to, and the fact it can be viewed from the comfort of your own couch is a favourable selling point.