South Park: Imaginationland – DVD Review

South Park Imaginationland
Available at Amazon.com
I’ve always been a fan of South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have managed to improve and expand the scope and depth of their show over the years and season after season have always had at least one episode that pushed serious boundaries and went places one never thought possible. Well in season 11 they did once again. Over three episodes they presented the epic saga that is Imaginationland. Originally intended to be a feature film, now all three episodes are presented as originally intended: completely unedited and uninterrupted by credits.

As I said, South Park has always continued to impress and amaze me. Still, Imaginationland is one of the most ridiculous, impressive, messed up, disturbing pop culture ridden, inspired, unbelievable 60 minutes I’ve ever seen. This is the first time you’ll get to hear the South Park kids drop the F-bomb since the first film.

When the mayor whisks off Stan, Kyle and Butters to Imaginationland they are just in time to witness a terrorist attack. Stan and Kyle are rescued by a dragon and sent back to reality however Butters is left behind. Then the terrorists use Rockety Rocket to blow up the wall between the good imaginations and the bad imaginations. A huge war breaks out between good and evil and Butters, with Snarf and the Lollipop King head off to the Sunshine Castle to meet the Council Of Nine: Aslan, Gandalf, Glinda the Godo Witch, Luke Skywalker, Morpheus, Popeye, Wonderwoman, Jesus and Zeus.

Meanwhile, back in reality, the government intercepts a tape of the terrorists making Butters read a letter while a Care Bear is shot and beheaded in the background. Realizing that our imagination is in danger they set about setting things right in their own way which includes a Stargate-type gate and throwing Kurt Russell through it. Unfortunately he runs into the evil critters from the “Woodland Critter Christmas” episode take care of him right quick.

In a secondary story, Cartman wins a bet with Kyle and, well, wants him to do something I really can’t talk about here. In fact much of what happens in this movie is so messed up and inappropriate that I am shocked any of this made it onto television. Then again, this is the uncut version so I’m sure much of this didn’t.

As with any good South Park episode, Imaginationland is about more than just pop references, lowbrow humor and shock value. These three joined together episodes question the importance of our imagination and the relevance it plays in our real lives as well as asking whether religion is real or not.

This is an epic story that is definitely worthy of being three episodes and being released as a single movie. Also, because much of it takes place in Imaginationland it’s is over flowing with recognizable characters that perfectly lends itself to DVD so you can pause it and look at all the characters in the background and figure out who they all are. To even begin trying to list them would take way too long, you’ll just have to rent it or buy it to see for yourself.

While the packaging lists it as being full screen. the film is presented in a widescreen format. Sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. This looks like any other episode. A lot of production value went into creating all of the Imagainationland characters which is a lot of fun but don’t expect anything other than a South Park episode.

Commentary by Trey Parker and Matt Stone: Matt and Trey are notorious for only doing mini commentaries, however for this momentous occasions the creators decided to bless us with a nearly full commentary that is very entertaining to listen to. They offer lots of insight into how the whole thing came to be and point out stuff that didn’t appear in the aired episodes and even mention things they still left out. Also, whenever they mention things that aren’t allowed the South Park end theme plays instead. This only happens a couple times though. They make it just about to the beginning of the third part when they run out of things to talk about and sign off. I think more commentaries should take a clue from these guys. When you run out of stuff to say, just stop talking.

Storyboards: (4 min.) You get two scenes in storyboard form. These are pretty interesting if you’re into this sort of thing.

Bonus Epidoes: While at first the addition of Season 8 episode Woodland Critter Christmas and Season 10 episode Manbearpig seems odd and frustrating (I wanted more Season 11 episodes!), since the characters introduced in these episodes appear in the movie I guess it makes sense. Besides they’re pretty good episodes.

If you don’t like South Park I seriously doubt this will change your mind. It is utterly offensive, over the top and very, very, well, South Park. It’s hard for me to say if this is a must own or not if you are a fan. While it does make a nice movie, these are just three episodes. There’s no doubt they’ll be included on the Season 11 collection, but the question question remains on whether they will they appear uncut – as they do here – or will they be as they originally aired?

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Paramount Home Video and Comedy Central present South Park: Imaginationland. Directed by Trey Parker. Featuring the voices of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Running time: 65 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD: March 11, 2008. Available at Amazon.com