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Paramount Studios presents
South Park: The Passion of the Jew (2002/2003/2004)

Kyle: People don't hate the Jews!
Cartman: Really? $300 million domestic box office, Kyle. The top-grossing of all time, Kyle. Those numbers don't lie. If you're not scared of The Passion, go see it for yourself."

- Kyle (Matt Stone), Cartman (Trey Parker)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: August 30, 2004

Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Other Stars: Mona Marshall, Eliza Schneider, Adrien Beard, Isaac Hayes
Director: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language and situations)
Run Time: 01h:06m:18s
Release Date: August 31, 2004
UPC: 097368889941
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-A-B D-

DVD Review

When it comes to ringing social and political commentary saturated in brutally frank humor, it is an animated series full of foul-mouthed kids and a piece of talking holiday feces that currently holds the honors. Trey Parker and Matt Stone's long-running Comedy Central series South Park—it of the intentionally clunky cut-out animation style that on first glance belies the brass-knuckled sucker punch of the show's writing—has never been known to veer away from any subject matter, no matter how blatantly offensive it might be.

That is one of the series' strengths—its complete and utter disregard of sacred cows and cultural niceties—and as a result has earned Parker and Stone the admiration and adoration of not just beer-swilling high-schoolers, but of fans of any age that appreciate the insane boundary-pushing levels to which they will mercilessly bitch-slap viewers for a laugh. For this three ep disc, pulling one loosely themed episode each from seasons 6, 7 and 8, the subject is religion, and the intensity of Parker and Stone's comedy is as sharp as ever.

The Passion of the Jew (22m:09s)
Season 8/Episode 804
Original Air Date: 03/31/04

The most recent of the three—and the titular ep of this release—takes on the fever of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, and the whole thing is boosted to another degree of strangeness by having this disc released the same day as Gibson's film. How's that for a marketing one-two?

In part due to Cartman's urging, confused young Jew Kyle Broslofski finds himself attending a screening of The Passion and is filled with a new dose of self-loathing, while Stan and Kenny head off to find Mel Gibson in order to get a refund. Gibson is portrayed as a wild-eyed, braying masochistic loon, and he even reverts back briefly to being Mad Max for a noisy chase sequence that ends up right in the middle of Cartman's Hitler-ian rally. One of the best lines in this one comes from Stan, who utters: "That wasn't a movie, it was a snuff film"

Christian Rock Hard (22m:04s)
Season 7/Episode 709
Original Air Date: 10/29/03

It's all about the money when Cartman milks the religious faithful of their hard-earned cash. Moop—the garage band consisting of Stan, Cartman, Kenny and Kyle—hits artistic differences, causing a split. When a wager is made about selling a platinum record, Cartman recruits Butters and Token to join his newly formed Christian rock band Faith + 1, and the trio uses the Lord's name in vain to great financial success after an appearance at ChristFest.

Parker and Stone lob out some nice Napster-influenced jabs at the likes of Lars Ulrich and Britney, and as they did with South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, show their knack for writing fully-formed songs that are actually funny.

Red Hot Catholic Love (22m:05s)
Season 6/Episode 608
Original Air Date: 07/03/02

Here's where the envelope gets pushed even further, in what has often been referred to as the "crap out your mouth" episode. The topic here is the relationship between Catholic priests and young boys, and when a cruise for the two groups is proposed, half the town turns atheist in protest. It's up to Priest Maxi to travel to the Vatican, temporarily turn into Pitfall Harry, and expose the eight-legged deity that rules them all.

Grown men with desires to molest boys is not your typical subject matter for an animated series, but Parker and Stone lather on their vicious attacks at a fast and furious clip. When Cartman, Kyle and Kenny speculate what a priest might want to do to them, it prompts an experiment to reverse the whole process of eating, which in the South Park universe means sticking food in your rear and defecating through your mouth. The scene where Cartman first experiments with this, surrounded by his non-believing friends, is just classic.

If you're easily offended, you've probably already leapt from the South Park bandwagon a long time ago. You would do well to stay away from this one, too. This new collection of episodes from the past three seasons shows that the in no way has the series softened its approach one iota, and it is still as funny as it has ever been.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The three eps on this disc are presented in their original 1.33:1 fullframe format, and as with prior season sets, the look of South Park comes over extremely well on DVD. The transfer itself is devoid of any apparent blemishes, and colors look bright, with plenty of well-defined detail throughout.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in 2.0 Dolby Surround, and while for the most part it seems to come across as plain and spartan, there is a subtle fullness to the presentation that belies the show's trademark simplistic animation style. Occasional rear channel activity was an unexpected and pleasant surprise No hiss, crackle or other annoyances to be found.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring South Park: The Complete 4th Season, Roast of Denis Leary Uncensored, Crank Yankers: Season One Uncensored
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras, aside from a few Comedy Central trailers. I suppose you could consider Red Hot Catholic Love and Christian Rock Hard to technically be the supplements, but given the relatively short length of the episodes it seems more fitting to take in all three as part of the greater whole.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

The South Park faithful already know this stuff is damn funny, and in all likelihood have already downloaded these eps a long time ago.

For the periphery crowd, this is a budget-priced primer of three loosely themed installments of what is undoubtedly one of the most biting and satirically hard-hitting programs on the air today. No one and nothing are safe from Parker and Stone's scathing humor, and if you're easily offended you'll probably want to look the other way.

Highly recommended.


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