South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut review — surprisingly, you actually need it in 4K

South Park is racist, offensive, vulgar, poorly animated, immature, sordid, filthy, dangerous, awful, tactless, anti-Semitic, anti-religion, tasteless, raunchy, disgusting, and offers nothing of value to society…just to name a few ways it has been described.

And I’m here for it.

South Park started in 1997 and has been skewering every subject you can possibly imagine ever since, with over 300 show episodes, some absolutely amazing games, and a whole bunch of truly shitty ones as well. In 1999, Trey and Stone, the series creators, put together a little movie called South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut – a full-length film that I’m sure stressed the poor folks at the MPAA in completely new ways. The animations are garbage, as it should be, so there’s absolutely NO value in it being in 4K. Right? Well, no, but after 25 years we finally get the movie in that format. It’s not gonna stress out your home theater, but I’m not gonna lie…it’s super sweet.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was made on a $21 million dollar budget, snapping up $83.1 million worldwide (or roughly $110 million in adjusted dollars), making it the highest-grossing R-rated animated film (until it was dethroned in 2016 by Sausage Party) and landing it at #20 for all-time non-R movies. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a bit of a big deal.

South Park has always happily declared that they are terrible at celebrity impersonations, but in this case they got the real deal. The movie stars Parker and Stone, with Mary Kay Bergman, and Isaac Hayes all reprising their roles from the series. Joining them is George Clooney, Eric Idle, Mike Judge, Brent Spiner, Minnie Driver, Dave Foley, Nick Rhodes, and Stewart Copeland. Satan and Saddam Hussein also lent their voices, but they aren’t listed on IMDB for some reason.

The soundtrack is equally as star-studded, with tracks from the likes of Michael McDonald, Trina, Trick Daddy, Nappy Roots, Joe C., RuPaul, Violent Femmes, D.V.D.A. (with Metallica’s James Hetfield on vocals), Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush offering their dulcet tones to the film. There’s also a heaping helping of tracks from Parker and Stone, of course, as you’d expect.

The plot is simple enough – Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman pay a homeless dude to buy tickets for the new R-rated Terrance and Phillip film. The film expands their swearing lexicon greatly, kicking off the usual moral panic headed by Kyle’s mom, who it turns out is allegedly a bitch, and on several days of the week so it’s said. A whole song details the scientific method by which this is determined. Now, as war breaks out between the United States and Canada, being spearheaded by Kyle’s mom, of course, the boys must once again save the day. Oh and Satan and Saddam Hussein are involved, because of course they are – it’s South Park.

Now, it’d be very easy for Paramount to release the BluRay version, give it a 4K retouch, and then kick it loose, but surprisingly that’s not so. The movie is presented, as are nearly all 4K movies coming from Paramount these days, in HEVC / H.265 at a native 2160p resolution, supporting HDR: Dolby Vision, and HDR10. Does this movie make use of the widely-expanded color pallet offered by HDR10? Hell no! Does it still look like crappy cutouts of crinkled paper? Yep, only now you can see the crappy wrinkle texture on every character. It’s odd to say, but it…looks better?

The DVD and Blu-Ray version of the film actually had a defect that was on every version up to this one – a persistent and irritating gate wobble (a natural wobble that comes from the physical film being moved through the telecine machine), and I’m glad to say that it was finally eradicated with this move to 4K. While I appreciate that South Park is meant to look janky, it’s nice when it doesn’t actually look janky.

Like the video, nobody is out there saying “You know what’d be a great way to stress my home theater? That South Park movie!” but that doesn’t mean Paramount neglected it. The English track is presented in Dolby True HD 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), so don’t expect that Parker and Stone suddenly went out and remastered with Dolby Atmos here, but the many, many, many songs in this film do sound better than ever, for whatever that’s worth. The “going to hell” track for Kenny certainly woke up my subwoofer, but beyond that it’s just a solid front-loaded and clean transfer. The Blu-Ray of the film had some occasional audio synchronization issues as they were originally sourced from the 35mm film. Again, problem solved – the sync is perfect once again.

My only disappointment is that the bonuses are very thin on this release. The same commentary by Stone and Parker, the music video for “What would Brian Boitano Do?”, the sing-along moments from the film, and the theatrical trailers are tucked away here. Nothing new under the sun to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Also in the box is a cleaned up transfer of the 1080p Blu-Ray (thanks for not just repacking the original Blu-Ray release!) and a digital code, so you’ve got options if you’ve got a portable device running at less than 4K.

Ultimately you might ask yourself if it’s necessary to own South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut in 4K, and I get that. The gate wobble and audio sync issues being solved makes that an absolute yes, though I’d say you might be patient for a sale to nab it at $20.

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 28 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes), and an Axolotl named Dagon!



South Park Bigger Longer & Uncut

Review Guidelines

Finally resolving the audio and video hiccups from the previous releases (we blame Canada for that screw-up), this 4K release of South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut is the best the film has ever looked or sounded. Yes, it’s still vulgar little paper cutouts, but if you are into that, this is a great addition to your library.

Ron Burke

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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