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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: June 11th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2023

South Park: Joining the Panderverse

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
There’s something wrong in the sleepy mountain town of South Park - they’re Joining the Panderverse! Through the haze of race-swapping and gender-switching, the entertainment industry must turn to Catman to set the multiverse right. The latest hilarious South Park special event comes to Blu-ray with another respectable A/V presentation but again void of 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:
49
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
June 11th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

After nearly thirty years of hilarity, you really shouldn’t be surprised by Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s willingness to dredge up controversial topics for a great episode or special event. In classic form, they use the sleepy mountain town of South Park and the four foul-mouthed little scamps Stan, Cartman, Kyle, and Kenny to stick it to the hand that feeds them. And just when you think they’re taking sides, they turn that satyrical mirror around leaving no one safe from a well-earned poke in the eye. And it’s damned funny too! 

Something’s wrong in the world. Our favorite IP franchises are changing, and not for the better! What once was white is now black. What once was a man is now a woman. What once was heterosexual, is now homosexual! But this isn’t just a diabolical plot by Hollywood to pander to a growing audience. No, something far more sinister is afoot. To save the universe and our high-brow entertainment standards, Eric Cartman must team up with his worst enemy, Kathleen Kennedy and stop the Panderverse!

So I’ve been a bit hit or miss with the special event episodes from South Park that periodically pop up on Paramount+. More to the point, I just wish Matt Stone and Trey Parker would go back to doing longer episode-run seasons instead of these occasional one-offs. Most of the time they’re fun, but they can also feel thin like they’re stretching a standard  22-minute episode to fill a 48-minute streaming slot. South Park is at its best when the show has a lot to say, and you can really feel it when most of these special events on Paramount+ are just making time. 

However, South Park: Joining the Panderverse is one of the better event episodes that felt thoroughly explored, completely ridiculous, and just damn funny. I’m not sure if you’ve been around the internet much lately but suffice to say, it’s not exactly a healthy space, least of all for fans of big franchises and established IP projects. All one company has to do is make one casting announcement that doesn’t line up with some nutter’s personal vision of what a thing is “supposed to be” and then the fanbase loses its collective shit. 

For Joining the Panderverse, Matt and Trey not only brilliantly skewers the trend of race, gender, and sexuality swapping, but also Hollywood’s over-reliance on Multiverse storylines. And while they’re poking the eyes of executive teams and lazy creators, they’re also giving a stern boot to the asses of so-called “fans” who love their characters so much they throw a fit at any perceived creative slight. And true to classic South Park style, they don’t really take a side.

Everyone is fair game and you can feel they’re having fun with it. One moment someone is complaining about a character being race-swapped or gender-swapped, and the next they stop to point out when it works. As many complaints about real franchise changes in Star Wars, Marvel, or DC, they’re also throwing out as many “that was kinda cool, actually” or “it doesn’t bother me.” More often than not, people screaming online about character changes amounts to pissing in the wind and I feel like this episode really hammered that home. The issue isn’t a changed gender or race so much as a lazy story that doesn’t support that effort and in true South Park form, they don't let that lesson pass by. 



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
South Park: Joining the Panderverse format swaps from streaming to Blu-ray in a single-disc set. Pressed on a BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to a basic main menu with simple navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

As with previous special event episodes and season collections of South Park, Joining the Panderverse arrives with a clean and effective 1080p presentation. It’s South Park so it’s not one to command the kind of visual attention of a live-action series. Likewise, even for animation, its simple cardboard style doesn’t offer much “splendor.” But in true form, the show still looks great on Blu-ray. Details, such as they are, are sharp and clear. Colors are bright and bold with lovely primaries and black levels are nice and inky giving the image some range of depth.

Audio Review

Ranking:

True to the series on Blu-ray, Joining the Panderverse kicks things off with a solid Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix. While a lot of this special keeps to the Front/Center channels, with all of the multiverse shenanigans, there was a nice extra kick for the surrounds to play with. And because it’s South Park dialog gets all of the necessary attention. Imaging is pretty great, especially any time anyone travels through the portal or the attention paid to the different school universes. All around a solid audio mix for a fun little series. 

Special Features

Ranking:

The Pandererse doesn't open up to give us any extra features. 

South Park may be in something of a weird place right now split between the regular series episodes that come in fewer batches and less frequently and these special event mini-movie episodes. Like all things South Park sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s pretty good, and sometimes it’s a gut-buster. I have to say Joining the Panderverse fell in the latter category for me. I felt like Matt and Trey’s satyrical eye was sharply focused giving every side their due kick in the ass while staying satisfyingly neutral on the issue. Returning with solid A/V but a frustrating lack of extra features, this Blu-ray is Recommended

Order Your Copy of South Park: Joining the Panderverse on Blu-ray