DirectorTrey Parker, Matt Stone
Release Date(s)1999 (October 13, 2009)
Studio(s)Comedy Central/South Park Studios (Paramount)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: B
I’m definitely a South Park fan, but I’ll confess... when I saw this film in the theater, my mouth just dropped open in shock for the first 15 minutes. Then I laughed good, hard, and often. This film is rude, crude, and extremely funny. It might be the most politically incorrect this you’ll ever see. And it’s refreshing as hell.
If you followed the smack-down, grudge match fought in the media between South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and MPAA president Jack Valenti prior to this film’s release, you probably know what to expect here. The reality is that the more Valenti trashed this film, the more people wanted to see it. Trey and Matt did everything possible to crank up the show’s already foul attitude for its big screen debut, and after a while, they just started throwing things into this movie that they knew would piss off the ratings board – in your face filmmaking at its finest. To quote Kyle’s mom, “Just remember what the MPAA says: Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words!” Point made. And the score is Cartman 1, MPAA 0.
Despite all that profanity, there’s still a story here (silly though it may be). One afternoon, Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny sneak into a showing of the Canadian-import movie Asses of Fire, starring Terrance & Phillip. Soon after, their speech can be measured in Obscenities Per Minute, and their parents aren’t too happy about it. When they discover that a movie from up north started the problem, the mothers of tiny South Park, Colorado declare war on Canada in retaliation (a standard theme on the TV show – parents never take responsibility for their kids if they can lay blame elsewhere). Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein and Satan are up to no good, with plans to bring on the end of the world. So naturally, it’s up to Stan, Kyle, Cartman and the ghost of Kenny (“You bastards!”) to save the day. And along the way, we’re treated to tons of laughs, at least one good Jar Jar Binks joke, and a surprisingly entertaining (and Oscar-nominated!) batch of songs, featuring the likes of What Would Brian Boitano Do?, Blame Canada!, It’s Easy, M’Kay and the dreaded Uncle Fucka (in which the F-word is used many, many times).
Presented in 1080p by Paramount, the video quality on Blu-ray is excellent. This isn’t a movie that you’d expect would benefit from HD presentation, but the color and contrast are significantly improved here over the DVD. More importantly, the added resolution really helps all those “construction paper” textures on the characters and backgrounds stand out. (Which is funny, as the film – and show – has been animated by computer since the original pilot.) The TrueHD audio mix is also quite good, with a big wide front soundstage, smooth panning and excellent clarity that really makes the film’s... *ahem* amusing... soundtrack sound great.
The original DVD release had no extras other than a trio of theatrical trailers. Those have carried over to the new Blu-ray in full HD. Better still, added exclusively for the Blu-ray is the music video for What Would Brian Boitano Do? and a new, full-length audio commentary track with Trey and Matt. This is one of the funniest commentaries I’ve heard in a while. The guys joke and laugh and tell some great stories, then start inviting in other staffers and just about anyone who happened to be in the building at the time... whether they worked on the film or not. (“Wow, I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I didn’t work on this film!”) You get the idea. The disc is worth having just for this track alone. It’s a hoot.
When the DVD version first came out a decade ago, I was at a Target store and watched as a little boy no older than ten pointed at the disc on the shelf and shouted, “You killed Kenny!” His mother immediately grabbed the disc, put it in their shopping cart and headed for the checkout isle. Benjamin Spock must be spinning in his grave. Regardless, this Blu-ray is highly recommended.
- Bill Hunt