Growing up, South Park was the cartoon to watch that your parents were warned about. Crudely animated, sadistically violent and yet somehow always making a relevant point, those late 1990s moments when the show was around were magical.
Seeing Kenny die in every single episode and other scatological humour eventually became the norm though, and South Park became less shocking as time went on. And then the full length animated movie arrived. And without the censorship of TV, it was a whole new ball game entirely.
When four boys in South Park Stan Marsh, Kyle and his stepbrother Ike Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick sees an R-rated movie featuring Canadians “Terrance & Phillip: Asses of Fire”, they are pronounced “corrupted”, and Kyle’s mom Sheila with the rest of the parents pressure the United States to wage war against Canada for World War 3! It’s all up to Stan, Kyle and Cartman to save Terrence and Phillip before Satan and his lover Saddam Hussein from Hell rules the world and it’ll be the end of the whole world.
When you start watching the South Park movie, it seems like business as usual. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone open up with an innocent musical, that has mere hints of the shock to come. And then you get five minutes in, when the boys sit down to watch Canadian fartists Terrance and Phillip at their cinema.
It’s the standard jokes. Terrance and Phillip engage in some conversation, fart and laugh about it. And then they let loose a litany of swearing that would make a sailor blush. You’ve got to understand, that up until that point, you’d have to be living in a slum on the outskirts of town to hear such language. Lets face facts: Before Game of Thrones, Deadwood and other adult shows came along, TV played it safe.
Swearing was only used in extreme situations, but to get slapped in the face with pig molestation and incest when a movie just started? Hell, that was a shocker. I still snuck in to go watch the South Park movie, and I had just entered high school at the time.
And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. The movie was just pure shocktertainment (copyright that), from seeing Satan getting intimate with Saddam Hussein, the Baldwins being bombed to an all out war between America and Canada that was ridiculously violent.
But above all that, it’s the music that just wins the day for this movie. From Saddam singing about how he can change, to Mr Mackie trying to turn children off of bad language to the Academy award-nominated Blame Canada anthem, it’s just such a varied piece of audio that is present throughout the movie. Heck, What would Brian Boitano do was once my ringtone, while Metallica’s James Hetfield’s contribution to Hell isn’t good is pure metal.
But here’s the best bit: The cameos. There’s a ton of them in there, but you’d never recognize them. Star Trek’s Data, Brent Spiner as talk show host Conan O’Brien, George Clooney returning as Dr Gouache and Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge as Kenny. It’s little touches like that, that I friggin’ love.
The South Park movie probably has less of an impact today than it did in 1999. But if you have yet to see it, chances are, it’ll dropkick you in the genitals with some brilliant shock humour, and a touching love story at the end of the day.
Or it’ll probably make your mouth fouler than a chicken farm.
Last Updated: April 3, 2013