[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00AEBB8TM][/pullquote] South Park is an award-winning TV show from creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker that debuted August 13th 1997. It immediately caused controversy because of it’s anti-PC content, including ridiculing and satirising religions, celebrities and ethnicities. A huge success from the beginning, South Park currently stands as Comedy Central’s highest rated and longest running show. In 1999, mid-way through the third season of the show, a feature-length film, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released in cinemas taking over $80m at the box office.
Much like the TV show, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut revolves around the adventures of central schoolboys Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman. The hit show Terrance and Phillip release a film that is so full of obscenity that the boys parents launch a campaign against the Canadian duo, which leads, through a series of bizarre events, to the USA declaring war on Canada itself. Meanwhile in the pits of hell, Satan and his lover Saddam Hussein plot to rise up and conquer earth, using the scheduled execution of Terrance and Phillip to unlock the gates between the two worlds.
Unlike Stone and Parker’s other forays into feature films (BASEketball and Ogazmo), South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut had a back-story of all the characters set out by the TV show. The characters were well-defined and the film plays to each of their strengths. Stan is chasing a girl, Kyle can’t stand up to his mother, Cartman is rude and obnoxious and Kenny dies. Unlike in episodes from the series the film is able to take these ideas and run with them over an extended period.
Kenny’s death, while occuring early in the film is not the end of his role as he is used to introduce the true antagonists Satan and Saddam. The evil gay lovers are superbly characterised, with Saddam the maniacal egomaniac and Satan his sometimes reluctant assistant. This perverse role-reversal is excellently handled and even gives the film one of its best songs as Satan sings a Disney-esque ballad about wanting to be “Up There” with humans.
The music as a whole is excellent and often where creators Stone and Parker do their best work. The film is a musical, with 20 tracks scattered throughout. Highlights include ‘Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch,’ ‘Uncle F**ka’ and ‘Blame Canada,’ which itself was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Dispensing with any need for self-censorship on the big screen, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut even holds the world record for most swearing in an animated movie, having, as it does, 399 profane words.
The plot skips along at a good pace, and unlike the latterly released The Simpsons Movie, does not feel like 3 episodes stuck together. The only pacing problem comes with the quick final act, but by then you’ve laughed so hard for so long that you barely notice. There’s even time for Kenny to finally reveal his face. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is one of the finest examples of animated film-making of all time.