South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 American adult animated musical comedy film based on the animated sitcom South Park. Directed by series creator Trey Parker, the film stars the regular television cast of Parker, series co-creator Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman and Isaac Hayes, with George Clooney, Eric Idle and Mike Judge in supporting roles. The screenplay by Parker, Stone, and Pam Brady follows Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny as they sneak into an R-rated film starring the Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip, after which they begin swearing. When their mothers urge the United States to declare war on Canada for allegedly corrupting their children, Stan, Kyle and Cartman take it upon themselves to save Terrance and Phillip from being executed, while Kenny tries to prevent a prophecy involving Satan and Saddam Hussein's intent to conquer the world.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTrey Parker
Written by
  • Trey Parker
  • Matt Stone
  • Pam Brady
Based on
South Park
by
  • Trey Parker
  • Matt Stone
Produced by
Starring
Edited byJohn Venzon
Music byMarc Shaiman
Songs:
Trey Parker
Marc Shaiman
Matt Stone
Production
companies
Distributed by
  • Paramount Pictures (North America)
  • Warner Bros. (International)
Release date
Running time
81 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$21 million[2][lower-alpha 1]
Box office$83.1 million[2]

Primarily centered on themes of censorship and bad parenting, the film also parodies and satirizes the animated films of the Disney Renaissance, musicals such as Les Misérables, and controversies surrounding the series itself. The film also heavily satirizes the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); Parker and Stone engaged in continuous disputes with the MPAA throughout the production process and the film received an R rating two weeks prior to its release. Numerous plot ideas were conceived before Parker and Stone's pitch was chosen. The film features twelve original songs by Parker and Marc Shaiman, with additional lyrics by Stone. The film was produced by Comedy Central Films, Scott Rudin Productions and Braniff Productions.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is Comedy Central’s first animated feature film and the only such film to be released theatrically. The film premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theater on June 23, 1999 and was released theatrically in the United States and Canada the following week by Paramount Pictures, with Warner Bros. Pictures handling international distribution. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its soundtrack, humor and themes. Produced on a $21 million budget, it went on to gross $83.1 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing R-rated animated film until 2016. At the 72nd Academy Awards, the song "Blame Canada" was nominated for Best Original Song, but lost to "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan. It also received three Annie Award nominations, including one for Best Animated Feature.

Plot

One morning in South Park, Colorado, Stan Marsh; Kyle Broflovski; Kyle's adopted brother Ike; Eric Cartman; and Kenny McCormick visit the movie theater to see Terrance and Phillip's new film, Asses of Fire. When they are denied tickets to the R-rated film, the boys pay a homeless man to act as their legal guardian. After watching the film, the boys begin swearing repeatedly. Their friends are impressed and also decide to see the film, except for Wendy Testaburger, who becomes acquainted with transfer student Gregory, to Stan's jealousy.

When the children's parents find out about their swearing, they are forbidden from seeing Asses of Fire again, but do so anyway. As a bet with Cartman, Kenny sets his fart on fire, imitating a scene from the film; he accidentally immolates himself and is rushed to the hospital, where he dies from a botched heart transplant. For various misdeeds, Kenny is sent to Hell, where he encounters Satan and his abusive partner Saddam Hussein. On Earth, Kyle's mother, Sheila, forms the Mothers Against Canada (M.A.C.) movement with other parents. Terrance and Phillip are arrested as war criminals; when the United States refuses to release them, Canada retaliates by bombing the Baldwin brothers. The United States declares war on Canada and arranges to have Terrance and Phillip executed at a USO show. After Cartman insults Sheila, he is implanted with a V-chip, which administers an electric shock whenever he swears.

Satan prophesies that the war is a sign of the apocalypse and when Terrance and Phillip die, he will invade and conquer Earth. After failing to persuade Satan to abandon Saddam, Kenny's ghost visits Cartman to warn him. Unable to reason with their mothers, Stan, Kyle, and Cartman form a resistance group with their classmates to retrieve Terrance and Phillip. At Gregory's behest, they recruit the French-accented, misotheistic Cristophe, nicknamed "the Mole" for his experience in covert operations. After they infiltrate the show, Stan and Kyle are tasked with stalling the execution, while Cartman attempts to deactivate the alarm as the Mole prepares to secure Terrance and Phillip. However, Kenny's ghost again appears before Cartman, who is frightened into forgetting his task. The Mole is discovered and fatally mauled by guard dogs.

The remaining boys try to warn their mothers about Satan's prophecy, but are laughed at as the execution commences. The execution is interrupted when Canada launches a surprise attack, and a massive battle ensues between the two armies. Cartman deactivates the electrical switch, allowing Terrance and Phillip to escape; the shock from the switch causes his V-chip to malfunction. Stan chases after them, but is knocked out in an explosion. Members of M.A.C., horrified at what they incited, decide to abandon their cause, with only Sheila remaining committed.

Stan regains consciousness in front of a sentient clitoris, who tells him to be self-confident to gain Wendy's affection. Stan leads the others to Terrance and Phillip, whom the United States Army have cornered. The children form a human shield as Kyle tries to reason with Sheila, faulting her for blaming others for his mistakes. The soldiers begin to back down, but Sheila refuses and shoots Terrance and Phillip dead, fulfilling Satan's prophecy. Saddam usurps Satan and demands that everyone bow to him. When Saddam insults Cartman, the latter's retort causes bolts of energy to release from his hands. Realizing his power, Cartman engages in profanity-laden tirades to attack Saddam, who demands that Satan rescue him. An enraged Satan snaps and throws Saddam back into Hell, where he is impaled on a stalagmite.

Grateful for Kenny's support, Satan grants him one wish. Kenny wishes for everything to return to how it was before the war began, and parts with his friends before returning to Hell. South Park is restored as the casualties, including Terrance and Phillip, are undone. As Americans and Canadians make peace, Sheila reconciles with Kyle, as does Wendy with Stan. For his self-sacrifice, Kenny is allowed entry into Heaven.

Cast

George Clooney voices
Dr. Gouache.
Brent Spiner provides the voice of Conan O'Brien.
Eric Idle of Monty Python fame provides the voice of Dr. Vosknocker.
Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, voiced Kenny McCormick unhooded in the film.
  • Trey Parker as Stan Marsh / Eric Cartman / Gregory / Satan / Mr. Garrison / Mr. Hat / Phillip Niles Argyle / Randy Marsh / Clyde Donovan / Tom – News Reporter / Midget in a Bikini / Bill Clinton / Canadian Ambassador / Bombardiers / Mr. Mackey / Army General / Ned Gerblansky / Christophe – Ze Mole (or The Mole) / Big Gay Al (singing voice) / Adolf Hitler / additional voices
  • Matt Stone as Kyle Broflovski / Kenny McCormick / Saddam Hussein[4] (credited to "Himself") / Terrance Henry Stoot / Big Gay Al / Ticket Taker / Stuart McCormick / Jimbo Kearn / Gerald Broflovski / Butters Stotch / American Ambassador / additional voices
  • Mary Kay Bergman as Liane Cartman / Sheila Broflovski / Sharon Marsh / Carol McCormick / Wendy Testaburger / Clitoris / additional voices
  • Isaac Hayes as Chef Jerome McElroy
  • Jesse Howell, Anthony Cross-Thomas and Franchesca Clifford as Ike Broflovski (Franchesca Clifford was credited as "Francesca Clifford")
  • Bruce Howell as Man in Theatre
  • Deb Adair as Woman in Theatre
  • Jennifer Howell as Bebe Stevens
  • George Clooney as Dr. Gouache ("Dr. Doctor" on screen)
  • Brent Spiner as Conan O'Brien
  • Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields
  • Dave Foley as the Baldwin brothers
  • Eric Idle as Dr. Vosknocker
  • Nick Rhodes as Canadian Fighter Pilot
  • Toddy E. Walters as Winona Ryder
  • Stewart Copeland as American Soldier #1
  • Stanley G. Sawicki as American Soldier #2
  • Mike Judge as Kenny McCormick (unmuffled)
  • Howard McGillin as Gregory (singing voice) (uncredited)

Production

Development

South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone co-wrote Bigger, Longer & Uncut, while Parker became the director of the film.

Developmental stages began for the film midway through the series' first season production in January 1998.[5] Co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed a deal with Comedy Central in April 1998 that contracted the duo to producing South Park episodes until 1999, gave them a slice of the lucrative spinoff merchandising the show generated within its first year, as well as an unspecified seven-figure cash bonus to bring the show to the big screen, in theaters.[6] A large part of Parker and Stone's conditions attached to any potential movie project was that it must at least be R-rated, to keep in touch with the series' humor and its roots, the short The Spirit of Christmas. Parker stated that their desire was to approach the film from a much more creative perspective and do something other than a simple movie-length version of a regular episode.[5] Despite alleged pressure from Paramount Pictures officials to keep the movie toned down, the two won the battle for a more mature rating.

"They really wanted to be able to go beyond the South Park television show," said Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox to TV Guide at the time. "They really fought hard for and won the right to make an R-rated movie."[7] Paramount executives went as far to prepare graphs displaying how much more money a PG-13-rated South Park feature would perhaps accumulate.[8] The William Morris Agency, which represented Parker and Stone, pushed for movie production to begin as soon as possible, while public interest was still high, instead of several years into its run, as was done with Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996).[9]

Casting

The cast of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is mostly carried over faithfully from the television series. Co-creator Trey Parker voices the characters of Eric Cartman and Stan Marsh, and Satan, Clyde Donovan, Mr. Garrison, Phillip Niles Argyle, Randy Marsh, Mr. Mackey, Ned Gerblansky, the singing voice of Big Gay Al, the speaking voice of Gregory, The Mole, Adolf Hitler and President Bill Clinton, as well as multiple other background characters. Matt Stone portrays Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormick, as well as Saddam Hussein (even though during the end credits it says that he was voiced by himself as a joke), Terrance Henry Stoot, Big Gay Al, Jimbo Kearn, Butters Stotch, Stuart McCormick, Gerald Broflovski, Bill Gates and additional voices. Mary Kay Bergman voices Wendy Testaburger, the core mothers of the film (Sheila Broflovski, Sharon Marsh, Liane Cartman and Carol McCormick), Shelley Marsh and the clitoris. Isaac Hayes reprised his role from the series as Chef, and voice clips of staff children Jesse Howell, Anthony Cross-Thomas and Franchesca Clifford make up Ike Broflovski. Guest voices for the film included George Clooney as Dr. Gouache, Brent Spiner as Conan O'Brien, Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields and Eric Idle as Dr. Vosnocker, and Dave Foley provides the combined voices of Alec, Billy, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin.[8]

Michael McDonald voices himself (in the track "Eyes of a Child") and Satan's high notes in "Up There", and Howard McGillin provides Gregory's singing voice in "La Résistance (Medley)". Stewart Copeland, former drummer for The Police, guests as an American soldier. Mike Judge, creator and voices of Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, provides Kenny's voice in his sole speaking appearance at the end of the film.[8] Although initially denied by Paramount, Metallica lead singer James Hetfield provides vocals for the track "Hell Isn't Good", which was confirmed by Parker in the 2009 Blu-ray commentary.[10]

Writing

The season one episode "Death" heavily influenced the film's screenplay. The plot and theme of both scripts revolves heavily around the parents of South Park protesting about Terrance and Phillip due to the perceived negative influence it has over their children. Parker said, "After about the first year of South Park, Paramount already wanted to make a South Park movie, and we sort of thought this episode would make the best model just because we liked the sort of pointing at ourselves kind of thing."[11] During the time, the team was also busy writing the second and third seasons of the series, the former of which Parker and Stone later described as "disastrous". As such, they figured the phenomenon would be over soon, and they decided to write a personal, fully committed musical.[12]

Animation

The animation in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was created in 3D using Alias|Wavefront (now the Alias Systems Corporation) PowerAnimator software, running on Silicon Graphics O2 and Octane workstations. Characters and individual scene elements were designed with both texture mapping and shading that, when rendered, resemble 2D paper cut-out stop-motion animation.[13] The artists at South Park Studios (at the time, called South Park Productions) used a multiprocessor SGI Origin 2000 and 31 multiprocessor Origin 200 servers (with 1.14 terabytes of storage) for both rendering and asset management. Backgrounds, characters and other items could be saved separately or as fully composited scenes, with speedy access later.[13] "By creating flat characters and backgrounds in a 3D environment, we are able to add textures and lighting effects that give the film a cut-out construction paper stop-motion style which would have taken many more months if done traditionally," said Gina Shay, line producer of the film.[13] The animation team, beginning with season five, began using Maya instead of PowerAnimator.[14] The studio now runs a 120-processor render farm that can produce 30 or more shots an hour.[15] As the show's visual quality has substantially improved in recent seasons, the animation of South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut is a prime example of the show's old, cruder, even more primitive animation style.[16] In the audio commentary on the 2009 Blu-ray reissue of the film, Stone and Parker take ample time to criticize how "bad and time consuming" the animation was during the era.[10] IGN described the animation as "fall[ing] somewhere within the middle ground—not quite cardboard cutouts, but not quite fully computerized either."[17] Nate Boss, in a review of the Blu-ray reissue for High-Def Digest, commented, "There is no comparing the two, as the movie has a classic (for South Park, at least) animated feel, so full of the cut-outs we have grown to love, while the newer seasons sport a more computer processed feel."[18] The film, unlike the television series (at the time), was animated in widescreen (1.66:1).[12] "Although the 'primitive' animation of South Park is supposedly a joke, it's really a secret weapon," said Stephanie Zacharek of Salon. "The simplicity of Parker and Stone's technique is what makes it so effective."[19]

Post-production

The team working on the film commuted between the project and the series, pushing both to scheduling extremes (changes to Bigger, Longer & Uncut were made as late as two weeks before its release) and fighting constantly with Paramount.[20] "They wanted a Disney kind of trailer. We said no. They put together a totally un-South Park MTV video for the song 'What Would Brian Boitano Do?'. We had to go make our own version."[20] Paramount's first trailer for the film advertised it, according to Parker, as "the laughiest movie of the summer", and promoted it in a way that South Park "was completely against". Parker and Stone told the studio of their dissatisfaction with the trailer, and upon the creation of a second trailer with minimal changes, the two broke the videocassette in half and sent it back in its original envelope. "It was war," said Stone in 2000. "They were saying, 'Are you telling us how to do our job?' And I was going, 'Yes, because you're fucking stupid and you don't know what you're doing.'"[21] In another instance, Paramount took the songs from the film and created a music video to be aired on MTV. In accordance with broadcast standards, the studio cut various "R-rated" parts out and edited it into what Parker described as a "horrible little medley with all humor absent". The studio sent the original tape to Parker and Stone over a weekend with plans to send it to MTV on Monday to prepare it for airtime beginning Wednesday. Instead, Stone put the tape in the trunk of his car and drove home to which Paramount threatened to sue Parker and Stone in response.[21] Parker also noted that the title of the film is an innuendo, and "they (the MPAA) just didn't get it".[22]

Music

The musical score and songs featured in the film were composed and written by Parker and Marc Shaiman. The musical features 14 songs, each evoking a familiar Broadway style.[23] The soundtrack also parodies many familiar Disney conventions, with several songs spoofing Disney musicals such as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.[24] The tracks "Mountain Town" brought comparisons to Oklahoma! and the opening to Beauty and the Beast ("Belle"), and the "La Résistance" medley drew forth favorable Les Misérables comparisons.[25] "I'm Super" recalls Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest" and South Pacific's "Honey Bun", and "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" echoes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; "Up There", "I Can Change" and the "Mountain Town (Reprise)" recalls The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World", "Poor Unfortunate Souls" and "Part of Your World (Finale)"; and "Uncle Fucka" is reminiscent of Oklahoma! (especially the ending).[26] Additionally, the song "Hell Isn't Good", which accompanies Kenny's descent to Hell, was sung by James Hetfield, who went uncredited for his performance.[10]

The score received critical acclaim, with Entertainment Weekly calling it "a cast album that gleefully sends up all the Hollywood musical conventions we're being deprived of."[24] The soundtrack was released June 15, 1999 by Atlantic Records. "Blame Canada" was frequently highlighted as one of the best from the soundtrack and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. "I was like, 'We're going to get nominated for an Academy Award for this.' I really was," Parker said. "I even told him [Shaiman]."[27] The song takes place in the film when the United States blames Canada for corrupting its youth. "We're making fun of people who pick ridiculous targets to blame anything about what's going on in their lives, so Canada was just the perfect, ridiculous, innocuous choice for a target," said Shaiman.[27] In 2011, Time called the music of the film the "finest, sassiest full-movie musical score since the disbanding of the Freed unit at MGM."[26]

Release

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was rated R for "pervasive vulgar language and crude sexual humor, and for some violent images" by the MPAA; some theaters stationed their ushers in front of their entrances in order to prevent underage South Park fans from sneaking into screenings of the film.

Paramount won a jump ball with Warner Bros. Pictures (parent companies Viacom and HBO's Time Warner respectively, jointly owned Comedy Central at the time) to release the film in the United States, with Warner Bros. getting the international rights.

The film was rated R for "pervasive vulgar language and crude sexual humor, and for some violent images" by the Motion Picture Association of America; this rating did not come as a surprise to most media outlets, as many had predicted long before that the film would most likely be for ages 17 and over.[9] However, there was much more discussion within the MPAA than initially reported in the media. The board's objections to the film were described in highly specific terms by Paramount executives in private memos circulating at Paramount. For months the ratings board insisted on the more prohibitive NC-17.[28] South Park was screened by the MPAA six times—five times, the board returned the movie to Paramount with an NC-17.[20] The last submission the filmmakers received was an NC-17, two weeks before release. A marketing agent from Paramount called the two and explained that the studio "needed" an R. In response, Stone called producer Scott Rudin and "freaked out." Rudin then called a Paramount executive and, in Stone's words, "freaked out on them." The next day the film was changed to an R rating without reason, with the original film intact.[21] "The ratings board only cared about the dirty words; they're so confused and arbitrary," said Parker to The New York Times shortly before the release of the film. "They didn't blink twice because of violence."[28] During production of the trailer for the film, the raters objected to certain words but had no problem with a scene in which cartoon bullets are killing soldiers. "They had a problem with words, not bullets," he said.[28] The MPAA gave Paramount specific notes for the film; in contrast, Parker and Stone's NC-17-rated comedy Orgazmo, released in 1998 by Rogue Pictures, was not given any specifications on how to make the movie acceptable for an R rating.[21] The duo attributed the R rating to the fact that Paramount and Warner Bros. are both members of the MPAA; the distributor dismissed these claims.[29] In the United Kingdom, the film was given a 15 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification for "frequent coarse language and crude sexual references" with no cuts made.[1] In Australia, it was rated MA15+ (Mature accompanied for those under 15) by the Australian Classification Board without cuts. In Canada, the full cut of the film received 18A and 14A certificates in most provinces, while being receiving a 13+ certificate in Quebec.

As predicted through the actions of the boys in the film, there were numerous news reports of underage South Park fans engaging in unsuccessful attempts to gain entrance to the film at theaters.[29] There were also reports of adolescents purchasing tickets for Warner's own Wild Wild West, but instead sitting in to see South Park.[30] This came as a result of a movie-industry crackdown that would make it tougher for children to sneak into R-rated films, as proposed by President Bill Clinton at the time in response to the moral panic generated by the Columbine High School massacre, which occurred two months before the film's release.[31] South Park was cited, along with American Pie, as an explicit film released in the summer of 1999 tempting teens to sneak into theaters.[32] When the film was released in the United Kingdom in August 1999, there were similar reports of the film drawing an underage crowd.[33]

Amidst the aftermath of Columbine in relation to the film's release, Parker was questioned whether he felt "youth culture [was] under fire", to which he commented: "[I]t's amazingly strange, because that climate is what the movie is all about, and we wrote it more than a year ago. So when [Columbine] happened, we were like, 'Wow.' What we wrote about in this movie came true in terms of people's attitudes. The movie is also about war, and then that happened, too."[34] Hayes, voice of Chef in the film, responded to conservatives urging prudishness as a cure for society's ills: "If we give in to that and allow [entertainment] to become a scapegoat, you might wind up living in who-knows-what kind of state.... If you believe in [your artistic vision] and you've got a moral conviction, take it to 'em!"[35] The rating of the film later brought comparisons to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, which was released in theaters in a digitally altered and censored version just two weeks after South Park.[36] Kubrick's original cut was given an NC-17 rating, but Warner Bros. then blocked out characters in an orgy scene so that the film would be rated R. In response to these debates and controversy, Stone called the MPAA a "bumbling, irresponsible organization".[37]

Promotion

The licensing arm of Paramount took the step of significantly expanding retail distribution beyond specialty stores (Hot Topic, Spencer's) to big chains (Target, J.C. Penney), which involved carefully stripping T-shirts of racy slogans from the television show.[38] Licensing industry observers credited Comedy Central with carving out a profitable niche in an industry dominated by powerful partnerships that link fast-food chains and Hollywood movie studios, which was particularly tough for South Park, as no fast-food chains wanted to ally themselves with the show's racy content.[39] Eventually, J.C. Penney ended the tie-ins with the show in April 1999 as a result of customer complaints.[40] On July 7, 1999, Parker and Stone appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien to promote the film's release. During the interview, Parker and Stone showed a clip of the film in which a caricature of O'Brien, played by Brent Spiner, hands over Terrance and Phillip to the US government and jumps to his death from the set of Late Night. Upon seeing the clip, a bemused O'Brien responded that his interns saw the film and thought it was "really funny", but were annoyed that the Late Night set was portrayed as on the top floor of the GE Building, when it was really on the sixth floor.[41] The film also suffered negative publicity before release. It was initially reported that on the day of the Columbine High School massacre, a friend of the killers (Chris Morris) was seen wearing a black T-shirt depicting characters from South Park.[42] Both Parker and Stone come from Colorado, and Stone went to Heritage High School, not far from Columbine High. He proceeded to take three days off from work following the shootings. "Nothing seemed funny after that," he said.[28] South Park was, at the time, generally waning in popularity: ratings dropped nearly 40 percent with the premiere of the series' third season and, according to Entertainment Weekly, "it [wasn't] the pop-culture behemoth it was last year [1998]."[20] In response to the decline, Parker commented, "Suddenly we suck and we're not cool anymore. The funny thing is, last year we were saying the same things and we were hip, fresh, and cute. Now they're telling us we're pushing 30, we're failures, and we're sellouts."[20]

Home media

The film was released on DVD in the US on November 23, 1999, with a VHS release initially for rental services only, such as Blockbuster.[43] A traditional retail VHS release followed on May 16, 2000.[44] The DVD contained three theatrical trailers for special features, which many criticized as being typical of "bare-bones" DVD releases.[45] There is also a NTSC laserdisc version that was released on January 18, 2000; copies are extremely rare due to its release being very late in the format's life.[46] The film was re-released on Blu-ray on June 30, 2009 in celebration of its decade-long anniversary. In addition to the trailers included on the original DVD, this release featured an audio commentary from Trey Parker and Matt Stone as well as a special "What Would Brian Boitano Do" music video. The film's 1080p AVC encode (at 1.78:1) was taken from the original film source as well with random audio sync issues, despite the fact the film was animated entirely digitally.[47] IGN's Scott Lowe explained, "Although clearly aged, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut looks great and is free of the washed out, compressed imperfections of previous standard definition releases of the film."[18] However, Michael Zupan of DVDTalk notes that an automatic digital scratch removal process may have inadvertently removed some intentional lines from the picture, notably during Cartman's first scene with the V-chip.[48] The disc contained a full-length audio commentary from Parker and Stone, as well as other crew members though most of them had no recollection of making the film due to heavy scheduling.[12][48] As of 2019, Warner Bros. has still not given the international versions of the film a Blu-ray release. The US Blu-ray can still be played in any country since it is not region locked.

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 80% approval rating based on reviews from 95 critics, and an average rating of 7.10/10. The website's consensus states: "Its jokes are profoundly bold and rude but incredibly funny at the same time."[49] On Metacritic it has a score of 73 out of 100 based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[50] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B-" on scale of A to F.[51]

Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "outrageously profane" and "wildly funny", writing that "While censorship is the filmmakers' main target […] [Parker and Stone's] favorite monster is the Motion Picture Association of America, self-appointed guardians of the nation's chastity. It's all in good dirty fun and in service of their pro-tolerance theme."[52] Stephen Holden of The New York Times heavily praised the film, regarding the film's "self-justifying moral" as "about mass entertainment, censorship and freedom of speech." He also praised Cartman's subjection to the V-chip, which he called "the movie's sharpest satirical twist, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange".[53] Entertainment Weekly graded the film an A− and praised the film's message in a post-Columbine society, as well as Parker and Shaiman's musical numbers, which "brilliantly parody / honor the conventions of Broadway show tunes and, especially, the Disney-formula ditties that began with Alan Menken and Howard Ashman."[54] The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan neutrally regarded the offensive nature of the film, commenting "Yes, the lampooning is more broad than incisive, but under the bludgeoning of this blunt instrument very few sacred cows are left standing."[55] In a review that was later quoted on the film's original home video cover, Richard Corliss from Time warned viewers "You may laugh yourself sick – as sick as this ruthlessly funny movie is."[56] Corliss would later name the film his fifth favorite animated film of all time.[57][58]

The film also had detractors, without noting the conservative family groups offended by the film's humor.[59][60] Jack Matthews of the Daily News suggested the film's running time made Parker and Stone "run out of ideas".[61] Roger Ebert stated that the "vicious social satire" of the film both "offended" and "amazed" him. Ebert rated the film 2+12 of 4 stars, calling it "the year's most slashing political commentary", but also said, "It is too long and runs out of steam, but it serves as a signpost for our troubled times. Just for the information it contains about the way we live now, thoughtful and concerned people should see it. After all, everyone else will."[62]

Box office

On a budget of $21 million, the film opened at number three behind Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Disney's Tarzan, with a gross of $14,783,983 over the four-day Independence Day weekend from 2,128 theaters for an average of $6,947 per theater ($11,090,000 and an average of $5,211 over three days) and a total of $19,637,409 since its Wednesday launch. It ended up with a gross of $52,037,603 in the United States and Canada, with the 3-day opening making up 22% of the final domestic gross. It made an additional $31.1 million internationally for a total of $83,137,603 worldwide.

It was the highest-grossing R-rated animated film since Akira in 1988, until it was surpassed by Seth Rogen's Sausage Party in 2016, with grossed $140 million worldwide,[2] and again later by Ufotable's Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train in 2020, grossed more than $500 million worldwide.[63][64]

Accolades

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Blame Canada". When Parker and Stone attended the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony the two wore dresses as a joke. It was later revealed on 6 Days to Air in 2011 that the two were high on LSD during the pre-show and the ceremony.[65] When the time came to perform the track live at the ceremony, as is customary for the Academy Awards, it ran into trouble with ABC's standards and practices department: censors demanded they write TV-friendly lyrics.[66] "It would be ironic to have to change the words in a movie about censorship," remarked Shaiman.[66] Censors were particularly unhappy with the use of the word "fuck" and allusions to the Ku Klux Klan. When Parker and Shaiman declined these requests, Robin Williams, a friend of Shaiman's, sang the song with black tape over his mouth and turning his back when curse words were to be sung.[67] The song ended up losing to "You'll Be in My Heart", a Tarzan song by Phil Collins. In response, Parker and Stone ridiculed him in two consecutive episodes of the series' fourth season ("Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" and "Timmy 2000").[68] In the DVD commentary for "Timmy 2000", Parker remarks "we were fully expecting to lose, just not to Phil Collins".[69]

List of awards and nominations
Award / Film Festival Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result
Academy Awards March 26, 2000 Best Original Song
for "Blame Canada"
Nominated
Annie Awards November 6, 1999 Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Mary Kay Bergman
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
American Film Foundation March 2, 2000 E Pluribus Unum Award for Feature Film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Chicago Film Critics Association March 13, 2000 Best Original Score
  • Trey Parker
  • Marc Shaiman
Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards January 10, 2000 Best Animated Film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association January 19, 2000 Best Music
  • Trey Parker
  • Marc Shaiman
Won
MTV Movie Awards June 3, 2000 Best Musical Sequence Terrance and Phillip – "Uncle Fucka"
Motion Picture Sound Editors March 25, 2000 Best Sound Editing - Music - Animation
  • Dan DiPrima
  • Tim Boyle
  • Dennis S. Sands
  • Brian Bulman
Best Sound Editing - Animated Feature South Park: Bigger. Longer & Uncut Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Awards January 9, 2000 Best Animated Film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Won
OFTA Film Awards 2000 Best Music, Original Score Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman
Best Animated Picture Trey Parker Nominated
Best Music, Adapted Song "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch"
Online Film Critics Society Awards January 2, 2000 Best Original Score Marc Shaiman Won
Golden Satellite Awards January 16, 2000 Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Nominated
Best Original Song "Quiet Mountain Town"
Village Voice Film Poll 2000 Best Film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut 10th place

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
    • "Blame Canada" – Nominated[70]
  • 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – Nominated[71]
  • 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10:
    • Nominated Animation Film[72]

Lists and records

  • The film has been nominated by the American Film Institute for their list of the Greatest American Musicals.[73]
  • In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted the film at No. 13 in the greatest comedy films of all time.
  • In 2001, Terry Gilliam selected it as one of the ten best animated films of all time.[74]
  • In 2006, South Park finished fifth on the United Kingdom Channel 4's "50 Greatest Comedy Films" vote.[75]
  • Readers of Empire Magazine, in a 2006 poll, voted it No. 166 in the greatest films of all time.
  • In 2008, the film was included in Entertainment Weekly list of the "25 Movie Sequels We'd Line Up to See"[76] and "The Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years".[77]
  • The film is No. 5 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies.
  • IGN named it the sixth greatest animated film of all time in their Top 25 list.[78]
  • In 2011, Time called South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut the sixth greatest animated feature of all-time.[26]
  • In 2021, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was listed as one of the best animated films of all time by Complex.[79]

Legacy

Following its release, MPAA president Jack Valenti stated that he regretted not giving the film an NC-17 rating.[36] In response to the film's controversy, the MPAA expanded its system with detailed descriptions adjacent to its ratings from 2000.[80] The film's use of profanity earned it a 2001 Guinness World Record for "Most Swearing in an Animated Film" (399 profanities, including 146 uses of fuck;[81] 128 offensive gestures; and 221 acts of violence — in effect, averaging one every six seconds).

In the song "Uncle Fucka", fuck is said 31 times. The pop punk band Blink-182 would often end songs on their The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show Tour with lines from "Uncle Fucka" throughout 2000. The lines can be heard on the band's live album, The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!).[82]

While the actual Saddam Hussein was on trial for genocide charges in 2006, Stone joked that the U.S. military was showing Hussein the film repeatedly as a form of torture.[83] Parker and Stone were given a signed photo of Hussein by American soldiers.[84]

Possible sequel

In 2007, during development of the Imaginationland episode trilogy, Parker and Stone talked early on about the possibility of producing it as a feature-length South Park sequel movie, but desisted because they felt that the concept didn't justify a feature film and they had to still produce more episodes at the same time.[85] Parker and Stone said in a 2008 interview that a theatrically released sequel would most likely be what concludes the series.[86]

In 2011, when the official South Park website FAQ was asked whether a sequel would be made, it was responded with "the first South Park movie was so potent, we're all still recovering from the blow. Unfortunately, at the current moment, there are no plans for a second South Park movie. But you never know what the future may bring, crazier things have happened..."[87]

In 2013, Warner Bros. relinquished to Paramount its rights to co-finance a potential future South Park movie, as well as a future Friday the 13th sequel, during their negotiations to co-finance the Christopher Nolan science fiction film Interstellar. Previous efforts to create a second South Park film were complicated by both studios retaining certain rights to the property.[88]

See also

  • Canada–United States relations
  • List of musical films
  • List of adult animated films
  • List of films that most frequently use the word "fuck"

References

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