Paramount Home Video presents
Christmas Time in South Park (2007)
"I didn't want to say anything Kyle, but I think maybe this is what your family gets for being Jewish at Christmas time."- Cartman (Trey Parker)
Stars: Matt Stone, Trey Parker
Director: Matt Stone, Trey Parker
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic cartoon violence, language, adult themes)
Run Time: 02h:36m:00s
Release Date: 2007-11-13
DVD ReviewHas it really been a decade since we celebrated our first Christmas in South Park? Since Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo, first smeared a festive "Merry Christmas" on Kyle's bathroom mirror? Unlike so many controversial classics that lose their bite over time, that episode, Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo from 1997 is still induces winces. That's the sick beauty of South Park: when creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker aren't mercilessly tweaking the culture, they're ripping through the boundaries of good taste. This being the show, after all, that celebrates the holidays with a singing turd. Christmas Time in South Park is a single-disc collection of all seven (to date) of the show's holiday episodes, up until the most recent in 2004.
After a ground-breaking first season, South Park had a couple of relatively low-key years before settling into the rhythm that still carries the show along. As a result, Season Two's Merry Christmas Charlie Manson! doesn't have a whole lot going for it beyond the joke in the title. The following season brought Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics, an assortment of holiday songs including Christmas Time in Hell, and capped by a duet between Jesus and Santa singing some of their favorite songs... about themselves. A Very Crappy Christmas finds the beloved Mr. Hankey occupied with his martini-soaked bride and little nuggets, endangering the season. The kids make a video greeting card to remind everyone what it's all really about: presents. Red Sleigh Down has Cartman trying to atone for a year's worth of naughtiness with only two days until Christmas. What better way to score big than to bring Christmas to Iraq on the brink of war? The citizens of Baghdad are, unsurprisingly, less than enthusiastic when Santa's sleigh appears in the sky. In case it all sounds way too serious, the boys also take a winter ride on the poo-choo train. It's Christmas in Canada from 2003 has the gang following the only road to visit the new Prime Minister of Canada. This one points to the advantages of South Park's quick production turnaround, parodying the capture of Saddam Hussein just three days after it happened. Last, but hardly least, is the nastiest of all, and perhaps not coincidentally my own favorite. 2004's Woodland Critter Christmas really has to be seen to be believed. It starts out as a solid send-up of the cheap, generic holiday specials of our youth. That's before the animal sacrifice. And the blood orgy. And the antichrist. You'll never look at cute little forest animals quite the same way again.
In terms of overall quality, this set is a bit of a mixed bag, as is probably to be expected of a themed collection. There are a couple of genuine South Park classics, a couple of pretty good ones, and one or two "Ehs". There's also nothing new on here, aside from cute storybook animated menus and a clever "Little Golden Book"-esque package. Still, if the spirit of the season overtakes you, this could be an enjoyable way to spend the holidays.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Uhm...it's South Park. The newer episodes look a bit sharper than the very earliest, but I'm pretty sure that these are faithful transfers of some decidedly low-def source material.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The episodes are presented with their original Dolby 2.0 tracks. The audio is generally clear and distinct, though hardly anything fancy.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: Not a thing, unless you count some Comedy Central commercials that automatically play when the disc loads, and have to be chapter-skipped through before you can get to the menu. Annoying.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsIf you already own the South Park season sets that include these seven holiday-themed episodes, there's absolutely no reason to grab this collection. There's nothing new. That having been said, nobody does Christmas like South Park. If singing turds and satan-worshipping critters mean the holidays to you more than Rankin-Bass and Charlie Brown, you could do a lot worse than to get all of South Park's holiday episodes in one place.
Ross Johnson 2007-11-27