SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER,
Despite what seems like nothing but mindless profanity, this
film (written and produced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone; directed
by Parker) actually has an important message. The story starts
when our four friends, Stan (voice of Parker), Kyle (Stone), Cartman
(Parker), and Kenny (Stone), attend the premiere of the film version
of their favorite cartoon show, Terrance And Phillip. The
film is called . . . no, I'd better not publish the title. But
it contains the usual Terrance And Phllip fare, which is
mainly scatalogical humor and profanity, and it introduces them
to a world of obscene language none of them ever had known before.
When they return to school and start using their newly discovered
vocabulary, they get in trouble with their teacher, their principal,
and especially their mothers.
Kyle's mother seeks to find the perpetrators of the foul film,
and discovers it was produced by Canadians. She launches an anti-Canada
campaign that catches on like wildfire, with the entire country
soon jumping on the bandwagon, blaming Canadians for all the ills
suffered by the United States. Before long the two nations are
at war, and Terrance and Phillip are scheduled to be executed.
Meanwhile, Kenny gets killed (as usual), and goes to hell, where
he discovers that Satan is actually an effeminate homosexual involved
in an unfulfilling affair with Saddam Hussein. While he eavesdrops
on their excruciating conversations and learns of their relationship
problems (and their desire to take over the world), the other
guys attempt to rescue their beloved Terrance and Phillip from
the electric chair.
The film is full of show-stopping musical numbers that would
rival any Disney film (except most of them are full of obscenities),
and the scenes of hell feature digitally animated backgrounds
which are in sharp contrast to the simplistic, paper cut-out animation
of the rest of the film. Some characters, notably Hussein, are
done in Terry Gilliam-style, with actual photos manipulated to
look as if they are moving, and the "Canadians" are
rendered in a completely different fashion from the "Americans,"
emphasizing the notion that they are of a different race.
Okay, now for the message: South Park has come under
fire for years for its shockingly vulgar style, and there are
many people who are prone to attack the media, or a network, or
the producers of a program, for contributing to their child's
delinquency, rather than simply educating the child about
the difference between right and wrong. Not to mention that violence
is not seen as a threat so much as sex or foul language. The film's
main theme is spoken eloquently by one character at an anti-Canada
rally: "It's okay for our programs to show graphic violence,
as long as they don't say any naughty words!"
I found this film hysterically funny and quite thought-provoking. But they do say lots and lots of naughty words. ****
Copyright 1999 by John R. McEwen and The Republican
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