on 8 May 2011
If you're reading this then, you're either a massive fan of South Park, considering buying the "movie version" of Imaginationland or you're just trying to buy a cheap South Park DVD for someone as a present - Either way. This is a good purchase, but it is not essential. If you've seen the episodes individually, then you'll know what to expect - Fantastic humour and excellent quality. The "movie version" apparently contains some minor edits (which is what they're calling uncut) and, like I said, it is all uncensored. This "movie version" isn't much different from buying Season 11 and pressing the "play all" button on the disc (the trilogy is on) - The only differences I can is the feature length film has no opening South Park credits and the ending credits are longer than usual - That's all I can tell, to be honest. Despite the fact the back of the slipcase says its full frame - It's not. It's 16:9 Anamorphic which is even better. The sound is mixed into 5.1 and sounds ok but actually sounds better in the 2.0 Stereo mix (on Season 11) because the voices are louder and don't sound as further away as they do on here. The trilogy itself is hilarious, and is a good little buy if you're into the odd South Park episode and not fussed about getting the collection.
Extras wise, there is an exclusive DVD commentary and two bonus episodes "ManBearPig" (Season 10) and "Woodland Christmas Critters" (Season 8). It runs for about 68 minutes and is a fantastic trilogy. If you already have Season 11 - there isn't really much point in buying this except for the commentary and the anamorphic transfer, 5.1 sound. The Season 11 dvd boxset is uncensored (as is Seasons 12 & 13) so this DVD isn't as essential as it's made out to be.
So, all in all - a good South Park DVD. Extremely funny (as always) and a nice little package. But beware - if you're buying Season 11 or you already have it, there isn't much point in buying this. I can't stress that enough. Enjoy!
on 12 December 2012
Done in 2007, this DVD combines the three Imaginationland episodes to form a motion picture called "South Park Imaginationland", whose length and animation quality is even more impressive to what "South Park : Bigger, Longer and Uncut" did in 1999. In ImaginationLand, the South Park kids ironically find themselves at the center of a war between the forces of good and evil that live in our imagination, though the kid that stands out of the lot is Butters, who becomes the "Key" in the battle that awaits. Then again, Cartman and Kyle's conflict really creates in parallel a tension as I was wondering whether or not Kyle would do what Cartman wrote in his contract. Would Kyle do it, would he not, it was just funny!
As the story happens in our imagination, the movie offers cameos from characters coming from our pop culture, such as Predator, Alien, Freddy, Astro Boy, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Gandalf, Care Bear, Obelix, Popeye, Gandalf, and even Aslan. Personally, I was amazed at the number of characters Trey Parker and Matt Stone were allowed to show, though some must not have had the chance of saying dialogues due to Copyright reasons. Anyway, the movie also offers the return of the Critter Christmas, very popular characters in the South Park series whose appearance in the episode "Woodland Critter Christmas" astonished the fans.
Speaking of those characters, it is nice to see that the creators put, as bonus features, some episodes with characters that were involved in the movie's plot line, but whose presence could be confusing to viewers who maybe did not saw the episodes related to them. As such, we have both Woodland Critter Christmas and Manbearpig episodes. Not only that, the creators offer their commentary and some storyboards for scenes that they used for ImaginationLand.
For the commentary, it is important to know that right at the start, Trey Parker and Matt Stone explain that the makers of the DVD censor their commentaries, either because what they said is illegal/offensive or because Paramount and Comedy Central could get sued. So as they say at the start of the commentary, a music track from the show covers all the censored comments. Personally, it would have been nice to have had a little memo identifying at which minute of the movie the commentary would be censored. But then again it is funny to hear the creators provoke their TV channel and Paramount with their comments about Tom Cruise and Scientology that get censored ironically in an uncensored cut of the movie, which is hypocritical for Comedy Central and Paramount.
Technically, the animation quality is excellent and the 3D visual effects are very good for the short time span the creators had to do their episodes since they produce all their episodes in just a week, though they can have ideas formed weeks or months earlier, or just days before the episodes are to be shot. Still, I wonder if we will ever get the same movie, but in Blu-Ray.
In the end, this movie is another reason that proves South Park deserves its success, but also shows how Comedy Central and Paramount put obstacles in the work of some of their most popular shows.
At its best, South Park is a poorly animated show that's packed with the sharpest hilarities around, inspired scripts and impeccable presentation. At its worst, South Park is a poorly animated show that revels in cheap vulgarities, shocking profanities and crass-minded filth.
But however you look at it, it's a show that thrives on controversy and the extreme, and it's one of those things (like The Simpsons) that you have to admire and respect, for its memorable cast of characters, flashes of inspired genius and the sheer longevity of the series, which has helped cement its legacy.
I must confess, though...it's been a LONG time since I've watched any South Park. At the peak of its popularity and brilliance, I was hooked on it. Then after the first few seasons and the movie, I felt the quality diminish and slowly drifted away from it.
But none of that has stopped me from revisiting the show with a dive into Imaginationland, a trilogy of episodes from Season 11 that bagged creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker the 2008 Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program for One Hour or More". The concept is one of the most original and creative I've ever seen in fiction. It essentially gathers all the most prominent characters in the history of cartoons, comics, cinema, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, superstition, mythology and religion and puts them together in the most spectacular setting imaginable (sorry...). Surely this would seem an impossible task, yet Stone and Parker succeed spectacularly, showing that they truly earned their Emmy.
Like any episode of South Park, Imaginationland starts off with the most ridiculous idea, then rolls with it to create something BEYOND insane. Here, Cartman bets Kyle that if he can prove leprechauns actually exist...Kyle must suck Cartman's balls! And Cartman WINS the bet! But something infinitely more important happens. Stan, Kyle and Butters find themselves on a trip to Imaginationland, where all the most prominent imaginary characters live! Then terrorists attack and the most EVIL imaginary characters run wild, threatening everything as we know!
And THIS is the Director's Cut, collecting all three episodes together into one film. Fans who've watched the original episodes WILL spot the differences here. There's some greater cases of violence and stronger language to be found, along with some minor alterations, key plot changes and more cameos of famous icons. All in all, this is a fine Cut that will generate new interest for fans.
Because this is South Park, you can expect it to be (at times) shamelessly vulgar, highly explicit and thriving on adult content. I won't go into detail, but needless to say, it is guaranteed to offend many (true to South Park's nature), and some of the instances and gags are definitely treading the thinnest of thin ice!
HOWEVER, most of the time Imaginationland represents the epitome of the show's quality. I don't recall seeing South Park THIS epic since the Bigger, Longer & Uncut movie back in 1999. There are a great number of gags, scenes, sequences and sub-plots that are brilliant, inspired, emotional(!) and absolutely hilarious. The whole concept of Imaginationland is pulled off excellently, and everyone who watches this will be SO delighted to see cameo/major appearances from Aslan the Lion, Morpheus, Popeye the Sailor Man, Aliens, Predator, Darth Maul, Stormtroopers, Darth Maul, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Optimus Prime, Cheetara, Captain Planet, Smurfs, Harry Potter, Danger Mouse etc...that they'll be rewinding and pausing the DVD CONSTANTLY to spot and identify all the imaginary characters present! I GUARANTEE it!
With Stan, Kyle, Butters and Cartman playing huge roles, the main plot of Imaginationland being so strong (and supported by an equally strong sub-plot of Cartman and Kyle's bet), the return of Al Gore, the Christmas Critters and ManBearPig and a highly satisfactory climax, it's no surprise really why this was award-winning. Imaginationland is simply an essential chapter of the South Park series that NO FAN can afford to miss.
Extras-wise, there's two bonus episodes "Woodland Critter Christmas" and "ManBearPig". Their inclusion makes perfect sense, as they both have strong plots which are revisited in Imaginationland, and for those who may have missed out, these episodes (aside from being stand-outs) help fill in any blanks.
The storyboards are great features...and the commentary featuring creators Matt Stone & Trey Parker is pretty much ruined. Whenever they say something that sounds too offensive and could land Paramount in hot water, the South Park theme plays, drowning them out. This IS so irritating when it happens (SEVERAL TIMES!), and both Stone and Parker are to blame. When they settle down to discuss planning, preperation and story aspects of the trilogy, it's great. But they can't help themselves going off on one on Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes and Scientology for five minutes straight! It's not only childish and idiotic, but it also does their loyal fans and listeners a great disservice. The fact that they don't even commentate through the WHOLE film (they give up after forty minutes) defines their inability to sit through their own show, and as a result completely tarnishes the experience.
While I can't forgive the pitiful excuse for a commentary, I'm prepared to put up with it for the rest of the extras and the main feature itself. South Park: Imaginationland ranks among the creators' finest work, and can be called a masterpiece. For fans, it's a no-brainer.