The Ping Pong Ball Trick

Watching the South Park movie in 2024, it’s outright nostalgic for the show that was, the characters that used to be, and hollow, brash humor that used to be the selling point. South Park matured, a little anyway, and its weekly episodic nature became a guessing game as to what the creative team might find in the headlines.

Bigger, Longer & Uncut, it turns out, won the war. What airs on streaming/cable now is wholly untouched by censors, a future predicted by this movie, even if the central thesis hasn’t changed. Taking aim at conservative censorship groups, South Park lampoons ignorance, fear, and reactionary sentiments, lessons never learned. Instead, we have ratings on TV shows. That was the easier change to make anyway.

South Park lampoons ignorance, fear, and reactionary sentiments

Between Saddam Hussein jokes, a Windows ‘98 reference, and celebrity mockery, there is a touching center to South Park that’s frequently ignored. Kyle runs on stage to ask his mother a question as she ignores him, continuing a rant about dwindling social standards. That perfectly encapsulates these attitudes, even in today’s political climate. In a hospital with their dead friend behind him (his heart replaced with a potato), the angry parents burst into the room, admonishing their kids for seeing a movie rather than acknowledging the trauma.

South Park’s test is narrow-mindedness, and how oblivious people become when faced with social change. People die, people starve, people are homeless, and meanwhile, war breaks out over kids repeating words as the parents ignore their own fault. The contrast is made through hyper-absurdity, and even if South Park loves its newfound R-rated freedom a little too much, it’s no less entertaining as the social satire continues digging in.

Beyond just the language debate, South Park skewers the US’s military aggression and the entire existence of hell. In-between, chipper musical numbers hit the right notes, going so far as to earn an Oscar nomination, of all things. Even as time takes its immediate power, South Park continues to hold relevance.

Video

Aside from color density improvements, it’s difficult to see why this 4K release exists. Discernible improvements over the Blu-ray rate around… zero? Source resolution is clearly inhibited. Father Maxi’s glasses around 2:30 disappear almost entirely, in just one example. At distance, fine lines like that won’t survive. Some inconsistent ringing won’t help either, weirdly reserved for shots in the back half of the movie and often heavy.

Mastered in Dolby Vision, South Park doesn’t necessarily show it. Brightness appears sedate, black levels fine, and the in-between perfectly fine too. An odd vertical banding follows most scenes, rolling right to left. It’s subtle.

Yes, it’s possible to see the construction paper-like texture, but that was the case on Blu-ray too. It’s soft, unremarkable, and possibly untouched. The only boost comes from compression improvements. There’s nothing inherently wrong with South Park visually, but also no reason to upgrade either.

Audio

A slight separation across the front speakers shows some audio design of note. Rear speakers find minimal use.

Likely the same TrueHD from the Blu-ray too, bass never finds a consistent spark. However, Kenny’s descent into hell remains a spectacular, bold sequence, and the highlight.

Extras

The Blu-ray includes a sing-a-long and a Stone/Parker commentary. That’s it, aside from trailers.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

While dated even by South Park’s own standards, this movie adaptation is still a stellar example of satirical hypocrisy.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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