South Park: Imaginationland (DVD)

South Park: Imaginationland DVDWhat we have here are three excellent episodes from the exceptionally excellent 11th season of South Park that have been stitched together into a special hour-long, director's cut  DVD release. Yes, it's a bit of a cheat, but who cares when it's this good – and totally uncensored?

Cartman, as always, is to the forefront of the story. He's convinced he's seen a leprechaun, so he leads the lads on a hunt to trap it. And he has a bet going as well: if can prove that leprechauns exist, Kyle must suck his balls. To everyone's amazement, a leprechaun does turn up, to warn of an impending terrorist attack. It turns out that Imaginationland – where all fictional characters come from - is under threat. The boys cross over and no sooner have they arrived than Muslim terrorists launch an attack, killing hundreds of imaginary creatures in an attempt to take over America's imaginations. Yes, the subtext is that obvious – all the terrorist attacks of the past few years have sent all our collective imaginations running wild. As teh Star Wars-style intro crawl to the third episode say: "In our Imagination, the terrorist attack has caused all the nasty things to take over and threaten the existence of the happy things. If the nasty things succeed, the world could forever become really lame and unimaginative."

The terrorists destroy the barrier between the good side and the evil side of Imaginationlannd, leading to a bitter war involving every imaginary character you can think of – from Superman, Jesus, Gandalf the Grey, Micky Mouse, Robin Hood, Luke Skywalker, Aslan the Lion, Astro Boy, Bullwinkle J Moose, Harry Potter, Strawberry Shortcake, Wonder Woman, Popeye, Zeus, James Bond and Morpheus (from The Matrix) on the side of goodness, to Cylons (the 70s originals, of course), Frankenstein's monster, Freddy Kruger, Pinhead (from Hellraiser), the Alien, the Predator, Stormtroopers, Jason Vorhees and ManBearPig. Oh, and those evil woodland critters from the Season 8 Christmas episode – they're the most evil of the lot of them. The battle is bigger and better than the one from Bigger, Longer and Uncut ... and, it turns out, Butters is the boy whose job it is to save humanity from their overactive imaginations.

South Park, now in its 13th season, is one of those shows that just gets better and better, and this director's cut of Imaginationland is no exception. It's as gory as all getout, and as foulmouthed as you'd want ... and it's hard to find anything else on television that's even half as clever or well written. And hey, you have to love a show that has Kurt Russell being raped by evil woodland creatures. Imaginationland comes highly recommended, and is worth picking up even if you already have the Season 11 box set (or, alternatively, you can just stream it for free from the official South Park website). One question, though – this DVD was released in the US in March 2008, so why has it taken more than a year to reach the UK?

EXTRAS *** There are two bonus episodes, the ones where we first meet the evil woodland creatures and ManBearPig – called, coincidentally, Woodland Critter Christmas and ManBearPig. There's also two sets of storyboards – called Fuck Me, It's a Leprechaun, and What Is This Place? And there's an audio commentary from Matt and Trey – whihc, as you'd expect, neither of them takes too seriously.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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