South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season DVD review

Packed with extras, Ron salutes the twelfth season of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's masterful creation...

South Park

Back in November when I reviewed the South Park: The Cult Of Cartman DVD, I complained about the lack of special features on the discs. While the packaging makes Cult Of Cartman one of the best looking DVDs on my shelf, I bemoaned the lack of commentaries from Trey Parker and Matt Stone and additional goodies. Fortunately, I’ve got absolutely nothing to complain about this time. South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season is a fully-loaded rocket powered Trans Am headed straight for Nippopolis!

Nippopolis, of course, is a reference to the centerpiece of season 12, Major Boobage. The episode itself is a huge departure from the normal South Park style, as the creators go beyond the pale in morphing Kenny into a Heavy Metal-style world of giant jubblies and over-the-top gore. Like the movie itself, the episode is a fantastically visual blend of traditional cell animation and rotoscoping, with the additional feature of 3-D models and the usual 2-D South Park animation style.

The episode is featured in one of the best features on the DVD: the behind-the-scenes bonus Making Boobage, which I suggest watching after you watch Six Days To South Park. Knowing how they do a normal episode allows for comparisons between their usual style and the Herculean eight-week effort it took the entire creative team to take on such an ambitious project. One might be tempted to call it a labor of love, except that in the commentary for the episode Trey and Matt recall vividly just how lousy they think Heavy Metal is after watching it four times.

A very impressive aspect of Making Boobage is the scene-by-scene dissection and explanation of just how Kenny and Gerald’s hallucination sequences were put together. The screen is quartered, and as the animators or creators explain things, the production of the scenes are shown. The storyboard is top left, and moving clockwise, the other three feeds show the rotoscoped or 3-D elements, the finished product, and the traditionally animated elements with projected wire frames for the South Park bunch.

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From a packaging standpoint, Season 12 is very impressive. There’s a subtle raised effect on the front of the slipcover, bringing the boys and their jet-powered Trans Am out from the matte black starry background, and the massive (it flips open five times) gatefold disc holder inside is decorated with iconic images from the season. Like the season itself, some of these images are hilarious even without knowing the episode they come from.

The episodes themselves range from fairly average (Pandemic 2: The Startling, once the gimmick is revealed, loses a lot of its punch and About Last Night is fairly pedestrian) to stellar (The Ungroundable, with its emphasis on Butters and the goth kids, is outstanding). The commentaries from Matt and Trey are very funny, as always, and the behind the scenes features really put into perspective how quickly the show moves from idea to reality.

The show looks as good as you could expect cartoon cut-outs to look, and the sound is Dolby Digital stereo, so it’s clear and well-defined. South Park‘s incredible visual landscape and breathtakingly realistic animation make the show a fit for only the largest of HDTV screens. Well, okay, that’s not true, but they are actually making their spoof characters look like their real-life counterparts these days.

If you’re a South Park fan, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be, I don’t have to tell you to pick up Season 12 on DVD or (for the first time) Blu-ray. Just be careful when you head out to the mall to get it, because you might run into a nest of Hot Topic vampires.

Episodes:

3 stars
Discs:
5 stars
US correspondent Ron Hogan is ashamed to admit that he used to shop at Hot Topic. Not in an ironic way, either; he shopped there in the bad, 15-year-old fat goth/rocker way. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness and daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

Rating:

3 out of 5