South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review

The feature film debut of the long-running series South Park heads to 4K Blu-ray... for reasons unknown! Join Ben as he tells us all about it.

Published
Producer / Publisher: Paramount
3 minutes & 24 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 71%

The Bottom Line

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut is a slice of 90's nostalgia that's presented well in its 4K debut.

Pros

  • + Authentic 4K scan of the original negative
  • + A fun and engaging audio commentary

Cons

  • - No new bonus features
  • - No audio remixing

Should you buy it?

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South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review 99

While the long-running animated comedy South Park still retains much the same edgy societal observations as it always has, it's been with us for so many years that it's almost difficult to recall just now controversial and button pushing the series was when it launched back in 1997.

Riding the initial crest of success, it's no surprise that Comedy Central would prioritize a feature film adaptation less than two years later, but in classic South Park style, it was never going to be exactly what they - or the cinemagoing public - would expect. From its four foul-mouthed children (all voiced by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and its take-no-prisoners humor that recognized no sacred cows, it's almost shocking that the series has not only kept its relevance today but has even earned a modicum of respect.

Despite a war with the powerful Motion Picture Association of America and an R-rating that prevented many from its core audience from attending, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $83 million worldwide, off a $21 million budget. Instead of churning out more feature-length sequels, Parker and Stone ultimately decided to shift their focus to the development of other feature films, such as Team America: World Police but made a return to long-form feature-length episodes for the streaming service Paramount Plus from 2021.

It's aged, but South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut is a warm slice of nostalgia that's as funny as it was on its first release.

South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review 01

Video transfer

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in the Rec. 2020 color space with HDR-10 and Dolby Vision HDR and encoded with AVC H.265 compression.

In recent years, the South Park series has been re-formatted for widescreen and re-rendered in 1080p (further upscaled to 4K) from the original Alias PowerAnimator and Maya scene files. While not always completely faithful to the original show, this has successfully contemporized the CG animation for modern standards while also occasionally switching in higher resolution textures and correcting animation errors.

This is in contrast to this 4K restoration of South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut, which faithfully preserves the original animation produced by Alias PowerAnimator back in 1999, which was filmed out to a 35mm master negative. For this release, the studio has re-scanned the negative in 4K, which turns back the time to approximate how the series used to look (notwithstanding its slightly higher production standard) but also reproduces a fine layer of grain to gently remind audiences that this is indeed a film.

So how does it fare? Well, first up - fans used to the visual look of the series today might be a little surprised at the rudimentary animation, or even the technical limitations inherent, including frequent aliasing, as well as a general lack of resolution - having likely been rendered at a resolution not exceeding 1080p.

If you're starting to think that all this makes South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut not an obvious candidate for the 4K format, then you'd be right. However, compared to the technically flawed Blu-ray version issued in 2009, this new 4K transfer is a significant upgrade that corrects many deficiencies (including egregious use of digital noise reduction).

I accept there are a lot of caveats here, but the new 4K transfer is, without doubt, the best version of the film to date (and likely to ever be seen) - even if no one is going to use it to demonstrate their setups.

South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review 02

Audio transfer

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut is presented with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix, encoded at 24 bits.

You don't often hear the word 'conservative' used in relation to South Park, but this mostly conservative audio mix offers few surprises and is presented re-purposed from the previous Blu-ray release (which likely hasn't been changed from the original theatrical release). The surrounds occasionally come to life during the frequent songs, but this is a mostly frontal mix that rarely draws attention to itself.

Again, this is hardly a demo-worthy track, but it's definitely a fine enough experience that probably won't be bested anytime soon.

South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review 03

Bonus materials

The 4K release of South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut offers absolutely no newly produced features but does preserve the same extra features offered on the previous Blu-ray release.

The package highlight is a very funnyAudio Commentary with Matt Stone and Trey Parker (originally recorded in 2009), who obviously don't take themselves seriously at all and offer critical commentary on the animation, the battle with the powerful MPAA and the studio's initial (optimistic) hope for a PG-rated film.

Finally, we have a What Would Brian Boitano Do? music video, and three Theatrical Trailers, presented in 1080p.

South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut (1999) 4K Blu-ray Review 04
Photo of product for sale

The Movie

75%

Video Quality

90%

Audio Quality

75%

Extras

45%

Overall

71%

The Bottom Line

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut is a slice of 90's nostalgia that's presented well in its 4K debut.

71%

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut [4K UHD + Blu-Ray + Digital Copy]

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Ben joined the TweakTown team in 2008 and has since reviewed 100s of movies. Ben is based in Australia and has covered entertainment news and reviews since 2002. A student of film, Ben brings a wide understanding of the medium to the latest happenings in entertainment circles and the latest blockbuster theatrical reviews.

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