The Reel Story: In “Team America: World Police” — probably the first, best and only political satire headlined by puppets to see major-studio release — the Team’s archenemy, North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong Il, is a strange and somewhat enigmatic figure (who happens to sound suspiciously like Cartman from “South Park”). As part of his evil plan for world domination, puppet Kim Jong Il gathers the world’s leaders in North Korea for a nine-hour variety performance. This spectacle, after which the Dr. Evil-like puppet plans to detonate nuclear bombs planted all over the world, includes singing, dancing and a special plea for world peace from actor Alec Baldwin. Kim also sings a song himself, “I’m So Ronery,” right after dropping U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix into a shark tank. Which obviously begs the question, does the real Kim Jong Il have show biz in his blood?
The Real Story: Why, yes, he does — in the unique way that only the despot of a starving country could. When he’s not building up his nuclear arsenal or his army (fourth-largest in the world), Kim likes to stage elaborate singing and dancing spectacles lasting from the crack of dawn until the wee hours, so the length of the film’s nine-hour extravaganza is actually right on the money. Prior to succeeding his father (the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung), young Kim dreamed of a career as a film producer. He penned a book on the subject, 1973’s “On the Art of Cinema,” as well as a tome on opera, “On the Art of Opera: Talk to Creative Workers in the Field of Art and Literature.” He has also reportedly written a handful of operas that have been performed in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
His interest in entertainment as propaganda was so strong that he reportedly kidnapped the most prominent South Korean movie star and her director husband, keeping them under house arrest — and forcing them to make films that the party leader personally oversaw every aspect of (he’s got the Hollywood producer thing down already) — for eight years.
Details about self-proclaimed “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il are few and far between. However, according to CNN, this little guy (5’2″, but he rocks the four-inch shoe lifts) has a collection of more than 20,000 videotapes, including all the James Bond films. And surprisingly, according to CNN, the reclusive leader of this repressed country enjoys Hennessy in a way that would make even the highest-rolling MC proud. Not one for restraint, Kim is the company’s largest customer, spending about $700,000 each year on the cognac. Yep, Kim rolls like a thug. Meanwhile, the average North Korean earns about $900 a year. Apparently it’s “ronery” at the top.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Team America: World Police.”
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