MOTW: "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" Makes a Musical Impact

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
January 10th, 2014

Love it or hate it, "South Park" is one of the most recognizable cartoon series in the world. The cut-out characters Kyle, Eric, Kenny, and Stan have become symbolic of a generation and its sarcastic humor and apathetic social commentary. "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is a feature-length musical featuring the animated cast of the "South Park" television series. The plot of the film begins with the usual crew watching an edgy Canadian documentary starring Terrance and Phillip. When their parents discover what the kids have been watching, chaos ensues as the small town bands together and demands vengeance against the forces that produced the film. Their outrage leads to an all-out war against Canada, culminating in the Third World War. Cartman, Stan, and Kyle are forced to find a way to calm their parents down and save the stars of their favorite movie before the angry mob gets to them. On top of it all, the end of the world itself is at stake when Satan gets involved.

"South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is undoubtedly one of the zaniest additions to the series. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known for pushing the limits of comedy and testing the censors, and this film is no exception. Another thing that "South Park" is famous for is integrating a lesson into its over-the-top and often offensive comedy. The whole purpose of the series, from the cast of profanity-using school kids to the pointed social commentary, is to make audiences uncomfortable. This film manages to promote the idea that ostracizing others just because of a cultural difference is wrong while pointing out the flaws of censorship mentality.

Nailing down one specific plotline for "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is difficult simply because the film covers so much. From the initial drama over the gang watching a mature movie to the much broader chaos that erupts, there are many tangentially related storylines that develop. This fast-paced film will satisfy even the shortest attention span, yet the humor manages to strike a perfect balance between crude and intelligent. In fact, this movie may just be the wittiest presentation of the "South Park" franchise to date.

Fans of the "South Park" television series will undoubtedly enjoy seeing their favorite characters on the big screen, but "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" also holds considerable appeal for the uninitiated. The jokes still push plenty of envelopes, but the humor is tamed down enough to appeal to a broader audience than the television show. In spite of this, all the great flavor of the "South Park" franchise is preserved, preventing the movie from falling the way of so many television shows adapted for the big screen.

The biggest impact of "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is that it was one of the most successful animated films to work with a musical format. The song and dance numbers pull the whole cast together for uproarious and catchy tunes that left audiences humming long after they left theaters. "South Park" may not be what most people think of when they imagine musicals, with their elaborate chorus lines and flashy costumes, but this film manages to execute the format perfectly. Rather than feeling as if it is a mockery of the genre, the movie is actually a perfect musical adaptation of the "South Park" television show.

No mention of "South Park" would be complete without mentioning the stellar voice actors who bring the iconic characters to life. Trey Parker is the co-creator and voice of a vast majority of the "South Park" characters, and he happens to be at the top of his game in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." Matt Stone and Mary Bergman also return as their regular characters plus a few new additions to the "South Park" family, keeping things fresh and interesting.

No matter what the censors say, "South Park" has been pushing limits and breaking new records for animated comedy audiences for more than a decade. "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is not only a worthy addition to the television franchise but a great way for those unfamiliar with the show to get a taste of its characters and the over-the-top humor. The musical element of the film brings a truly unique element to the characters so many viewers have come to love. Although it may be one of the most unorthodox musicals to hit theaters in recent years, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is without a doubt one of the most memorable as well.