When 'South Park' exploded onto the scene and collective conscience back in 1997, it may have been a few years ahead of its time. The portrayal of school children, normally so sweet and innocent, as foul, crude, rude, disposable, and at times borderline evil, dealing with situations far beyond their years, was controversial to say the least in some circles. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had the next 'Beavis and Butthead' on their hands, and after only a handful of seasons, the show hit the big screen, lambasting the criticisms in a parody wrapped in a musical wrapped in a tale of warped sensibilities.
When Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny sneak into 'Asses of Fire,' the R-rated film adaptation of their favorite TV program (The Terrance and Phillip Show), their fragile little minds are blown. Soon, they adopt the dirty language their idols use, and adults are outraged. How dare a movie expose these children to such language!?!?
An anti-profanity movement, led by Kyle's mother, takes Terrance and Phillip hostage, creating tensions between America and Canada. The cause against naughty language, using any amount of physical force/violence, sets into motion a much larger plot than war between the neighboring countries. Satan and all his dark forces, including his gay lover Saddam Hussein, will be unleashed upon the world, unless a certain group of impressionable children can put an end to the bickering, and defend freedom of speech, no matter what is said.
No film has ever been so bitingly aimed at its critics as 'South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut,' as the film rallies its own cause to point out the hypocrisies of those rallying against it, by embracing the very method being complained about and creating a tale so twisted on its side that only Parker and Stone could be behind it. The expletives come in rapid succession, extravagantly flaunting the objectionable material in songs like the infamous 'Uncle Fucka.'
The film's music is the real winner, with the above mentioned 'Uncle Fucka.' providing the best laughs, along with a remix of the 'Kyle's Mom's a Bitch' song, which is the only holdover (music-wise, at least) from the TV show in the film, an Academy Award nominated ditty 'Blame Canada' (whose purpose is self explanatory), 'What Would Brian Boitano Do?', and bits of insight in song form from Big Gay Al, Satan, Saddam Hussein, and Mr. Mackey, mmmkay?
On the downside, 'South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut' is much like a rap battle, in that its hair point focus may seem brilliant for the first viewing or two, but after a few repeat watches, it feels like an ex-lover who just can't get over being dumped, obsessing over minutia. As such, replay value on this film is low, despite the strong urge to view the film again immediately after it ends, due to the hilarity of the content.
While Parker and Stone admit they miss the mark on the TV show as often as they strike gold, their lone big screen adaptation of 'South Park' is a hit, damn close to a bullseye. While the visuals on the show are leap years ahead of this movie, which dates it quite badly (as does the early years' insistence on constantly killing Kenny (you bastards!)), the same dark 'South Park' humor is out on full display. Here's hoping one day we'll see another film adaptation of those foul mouthed little Colorado school children.
'South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut' marks the second time that Parker and Stone's creation has hit Blu-ray, after 'Season Twelve' debuted earlier in the year. There is no comparing the two, as the movie has a classic (for 'South Park,' at least) animated feel, so full of the cut-outs we have grown to love, while the newer seasons sport a more computer processed feel.
Textures are sharp for the first half of the film, as each cut out has solid detail and patterns that bring liveliness to the film, rather than bland monotony, but in the latter portion, they can get a bit more drab and less accented, which is discouraging. The shot of the Baldwins lacks any real definition whatsoever, and feels like a colorful blur. Whites are a wee bit busy, less than beautiful, and the snow fall blends in and disappears when it overlaps on the pond, but we can blame the animation for that, not the AVC MPEG-4 transfer.
Backgrounds often fluctuate in brightness and color distractingly. Black levels are deep and proud. Color banding and artifacting are never issues, though aliasing pops up a few times, particularly noticeable in the tin can in the resistance warehouse. Some animations can be a bit off, like the Canadian air planes before they bomb the Baldwins, as they have clearly visible light horizontal lines moving along with them that are not visible in the same scene in the theatrical trailer.
The source has a fair amount of dirt on it, popping up every now and again, while the entire picture can shake a bit, up and down and side to side, as the film hardly lies stagnant. The source also shows signs of tampering, not by DNR or edge enhancement, but the DSR (digital scratch removal) that was so ballyhooed in the Paramount release of 'Gladiator.' The sequence where Cartman first has his v-chip tested has his eyes, which are clenched shut due to the voltage surging through his body, disappearing and reappearing in numerous frames in this sequence, an error that is visible at regular speed, and even 10x speed. While normally one could blame such a sequence on the primitive animation stylings of the film, a quick glance at the trailers in the extras that contain the very same sequence do not suffer from this effect (the same could be said about the lines near the Canadian planes, as they are not visible in the HD trailers, but are clear as day in the film). Additionally, in the later sequence where Cartman actually is shocked, with voltage jumping from the panel, there are no signs of lines disappearing, despite being near identical facial animations. The outlines on Clinton's desk fluctuate in thickness, as do character outlines, so it is highly possible that Paramount decided to get funny and tinker with something that didn't need to be tinkered with. Dog shit taco, Paramount. Dog shit taco.
"Say Terrance, what did the Spanish Priest say to the Uranian Gynecologist?"
'South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut' has a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that makes sure every vulgarity is heard loud and clear, folks. Dialogue is never truly loud, no matter how high one adjusts his receiver. Fidelity is strong, with highs and lows registering wonderfully, and noises never blending or becoming indiscernible. Minute noises, like the reels in film in the first and third act, are always present, just so slightly, giving the film a bit of depth and realism, though the front heavy mix doesn't do a viewer any favors. Dialogue is stuck up front, with some localized effects in the front right and left channels, while rears are mostly utilized for songs, picking up and dropping back out annoyingly often. Bass is not an overly present part of the film, mostly present lightly in music, though the occasional footstep from Satan has a rumble to it, and the sequence where all hell breaks loose has some roar, though not much. Echoing effects are nice, and one of the few non-musical elements to hit the rears. All in all, the track is clear, but is slightly underwhelming compared to other musicals or animated features. It sounds quite lovely, but also quite cheap.