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Friday, June 17, 2011


South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Run-time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Directed by: Trey Parker
Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, Mary Kay Bergman, George Clooney, Minnie Driver, Brent Spiner

In the wake of one of the most talked-about episodes of "South Park" in recent memory, there's many a fanatic pondering whether last week's mid-season finale marked the beginning of the end of the franchise. I know that I've been debating the meaning of the melodramatic ending to that episode, and it's gotten me thinking about the series as a whole. One of the brightest moments in "South Park" history was the release of its first - and to date, only - feature length film in 1999's South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Because the show has been on my mind, I decided to give the movie another gander as part of my DVD Challenge.

Now, I was a fan of "South Park" long before I had the opportunity to see the film (I didn't first see it until about five years ago), so I may be a bit biased in my love towards the film. I have yet to find a fan of the series that didn't like the film, but I don't know if I've ever talked to anyone who has seen the film but isn't a fan of the series. Because of this, I'm not sure whether the film has staying power outside of avid fans, but for me, it's one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

In terms of the vocal acting, there isn't much to say about our normal string of characters that can't be said about every single episode. Parker and Stone handle most of the lead voices throughout the film, but we are introduced to a number of new characters during it. We get to meet Satan (voiced by Parker), who plays an incredibly important role in the film, and there are a few other characters that make nice appearances. However, some of the little tidbits that fans might enjoy are the inclusion of big-name celebs like George Clooney (as Dr. Gouache), Minnie Driver (as Brooke Shields) and Brent Spiner (as Conan O'Brien) lending their vocal talent to the film.

You're also going to notice that the film is, in fact, a musical. We're given a slew of original songs that only add to the hilarity of the movie, but a lot of them have in-jokes that only fans might recognize. For example, the song "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" is a direct reference to the Brian Boitano appearance in the early stages of the television show. Also, the song "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" was used in an earlier episode and was expanded for the film. However, some of the original fare proves to be the best, even garnering the film an Academy Award nomination for the song "Blame Canada," which was wonderfully performed by Robin Williams at the actual awards show:

My personal favorite song from the film, however, has to be our opening number simply entitled "Mountain Town." It sets the stage for everything that's going to happen.

Now, not a lot of credit is given to the film's screenplay, which proves to be rather brilliant. In a way, it's extremely metatheatrical. At the beginning of the film, the boys go to see an R-rated film called Asses of Fire that's essentially an analogue for the film the audience itself is watching. It's chalk full of insensitive and irreverent profanity, just like the movie we get to see. We're basically having the same experience that the boys are having within the film, minus the havoc that it ultimately creates. The rest of the film serves as the filmmakers' statement about American over-sensitivity with vulgar language whilst having the double standard of under-sensitivity when it comes to graphic violence. Sure, they drop their usual goofy gags and "potty humor" throughout the film, but there's something more profound about their message than just that. It's a little difficult for me to explain here, but fans of the film will know what I'm talking about.

Overall, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is easily one of the greatest animated films I have ever experienced. Whether that can be said by many is uncertain, but I know that it was a fantastic addition to the annals of "South Park" history, if nothing else.

Best All-Time: #81

1999: 5 nominations, 4 wins

Previous DVD Challenge: DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG (2008)

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