The year was 1999 and South Park was the thing to watch that would really piss your parents off. The show was in the heyday of its controversial content, and displayed no signs of slowing down. A group of four nine year olds had changed the face of television forever. The only question was, where would they go from there?
Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker answered the question that summer with the movie version, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The movie was expected to preform OK, and meet critical pan across the board. But instead the film became a major financial success and was met with impossible to predict praise that even the Academy recognized.
Unlike most TV to movie adaptations, this film didn’t just deliver a ninety minute episode with saltier language. No, what Matt & Trey did was something so amazingly out of left field, that all anyone could to was sit back and enjoy.
Why We Love It
A musical. Whichever one of the duo proposed the idea of making the film a play on every single Disney film ever made, and at the same time do a meta address to the shows constant controversy, was having a really good day.
The fact is, the second the Paramount logo turns into the animated mountain, and Stan comes flying out his front door singing, you’re blown away. Not because of the initial quality, but because it’s so far from anything you expected the film to be.
From that point it doesn’t let up, from the now famous “Blame Canada” song to the absolutely brilliant subplot between Satan and Saddam, the film is South Park at its best, and of course the fact that none of the swear words are bleeped in in this go around adds to the experience.
The swear words are perhaps the greatest proof of Matt and Trey’s creative genius. In most films, the overuse of curse words is viewed as a sign of weakness. A way to spice up really lack luster dialogue. But in this film, every single use of the word “fuck,” “ass,” “bitch, “shit” and every other word in the book, is not only endearing, but o, so necessary.
And yet through all of this, the film never loses sight of the South Park mantra, it’s just the boys being boys. And that’s what puts it above and beyond just another run of the mill TV to Movie film.
The Moment We Fell in Love
There are many scenes you can point to throughout, that make the film great. But the best of these is Kenny’s death. Because unlike the show, Matt and Trey didn’t just kill him once. They kill him four different times.
They set him on fire, they have Cartman beat him with a stick that then also catches on fire, they dump salt on him and just in case all of that wasn’t enough, George Clooney replaces his heart with a baked potato and he explodes. And through every frame of the sequence all you can do is sit and back and say “no fucking way.”
And the over the top scenes never stop. All the way to the end during Cartman’s hero moment against the demons from hell, the film is a shining light of excellence.
What could have turned into a dreadful experience for fans and non-fans a like, actually ended up being a great entry into the series. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a testament to what happens when people gifted with the power of creativity go all out, and succeed.