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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 7th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2022

South Park: The Streaming Wars

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
Between shorter season episode runs, the boys of South Park return to Paramount+ for their next big special event The Streaming Wars. The first half of the event special may be a little thin, but the second half tosses up hilarious satire of everything from streaming services to the big Crypto bust. The two-part streaming event kicks off with the same impressive A/V presentations but we miss out on any extras. Recommended 
 

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Length:
99
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
November 7th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

It’s wild that Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been headlining their silly cartoon South Park for nearly three decades now - and it’s only getting bigger. In addition to the individual season episodes, they’re churning out great RPG video games, and new multi-part specials to keep the fanbase satiated. This approach to the show came out of the Pandemic the dominating presence of streaming. Thus we have the fittingly titled South Park: The Streaming Wars

Set against the backdrop of the massive drought striking the west and the lack of water flowing into the Colorado River (and therefore downriver into other communities), Matt and Trey take a quite literal approach to the streaming wars with Colorado’s infamous water rights laws. As Randy becomes more of a Karen with his weed business, he’s sold on the idea that his water rights are worth big bucks. But then so is everyone! Now Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and their pals find themselves in the perfect spot to make extra cash helping everyone with water rights prove the value of their “streaming service” and get rich! Only nothing is very simple in the sweet little mountain town of South Park… 

As more of these two-part specials come down the streaming pipeline, they’ve been a bit hit and miss, but overall a good time. As a longtime fan of South Park since the very beginning, the show’s strengths have always been in short-form, in-the-moment storytelling. While the Bigger Longer and Uncut feature film was a gas, the series has always been best in bursts. Bad episodes of South Park happen all the time, but at twenty minutes they’re easier to forget and move on from because next week is a new episode. A feature-length story split in two becomes problematic when one half doesn’t measure up, and that’s where we are with The Streaming Wars

The first half is frustratingly mediocre. Like a bad regular episode, you could feel that Matt and Tray had a good idea, but it didn’t fully come together. There are some laughs to enjoy - Cartman’s quest to get his mom fake boobs being a highlight. However, much of the satire is just flat and doesn’t feel clever or interesting. The water rights as a stand-in for the glut of streaming services like Max, Paramount+, and AppleTV+ is a fine setup, but about fifty minutes of the show is just checking off boxes with only intermittent laughs.

Then you come to the second part of The Streaming Wars and it’s an absolute gas. Almost completely making up for the first half, it’s loaded with in-jokes about South Park getting sued for its dueling content between Max and Paramount+. It rips on the Crypto bubble bust with Matt Damon and other celebrities drinking pee while uttering “Fortune favors the brave” to pump themselves up. Cartman now has an amazing set of fake boobs. Randy becomes a full-on Karen. It’s genuinely funny. 

The multi-part stories aren’t new for South Park but in shorter bursts they are funnier. Imagination Land is a great example there. Part of what makes the show so funny is how quickly they adjust and augment scripts to fit very recent events often mere hours before airing. The first half of The Streaming Wars feels like not a lot was actually going on and the story was just canned. Thankfully a lot happened in time for the second half to pep it up and give it some range. Even if most of the laughs come from various celebrities drinking pee or eating pasta cooked in pee, that’s at least inspired. 

When you break it down, The Streaming Wars is one part “meh” mixed with one part solid classic South Park for an overall uneven but funny “Special.” As these Paramount+ specials appear to be sticking around, I hope more time is spent fleshing them out so they feel genuinely special rather than filler as we wait for the next six episodes to stream on Max. 



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
South Park: The Streaming Wars
wizzes down the leg of streaming services and pools onto a single-disc Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment. Pressed on a Region Free BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard Blu-ray case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to a basic main menu with simple navigation options allowing you to play both parts back-to-back, or choose one individually.

Video Review

Ranking:

Standard for South Park on Blu-ray, the two-parter event series arrives with a very good 1080p transfer that’s consistent with what we’ve seen on disc for past seasons and event episodes. Details such as they are are very good letting the character animations come to life while still maintaining that distinctive 2-D cardboard feel. Colors are bright and bold with excellent primary saturation. Yellow, for obvious reasons, gets a lot of play in the second half of the event series. Black levels are solid giving the image some measure of depth. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

Again, with past South Park on Blu-ray outings, we see another effective and strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track appear here. Except in fits and spurts, the show isn’t always heavy on action or big set pieces to draw a big surround immersive effect. Dialog has always been the show’s mainstay sound element and that’s the focus here. Most of the soundscape keeps attention to the front/center channels with occasional drifts into the surrounds. That said, when it counts most, the mix does open up beautifully for a big sound with plenty of action, an armada of popsicle sticks is a hilarious example. Also just about every sequence with ManBearPig is a sonic delight.

Special Features

Ranking:

Nothing extra for this release.

South Park: The Streaming Wars may not be a series highlight for the show, but it’s still pretty damn funny. If anything this two-parter event series highlights the best and worst aspects of South Park - sometimes one episode might be a big whiff while the next is a total gut-buster. The first half of The Streaming Wars is rather tepid and surface-level funny, but the follow-up brings it home with Cartman’s breasts and plenty of celebrities drinking copious amounts of wee. If you’re stuck with the show this long, you’re probably still a fan and it wouldn’t take much convincing to call this one Recommended

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