Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Simpsons Movie
2007, in theaters
You should know
Chris, Brian and I went to visit Paul for the weekend. A pleasant time was had by all.
We’re all moderate fans; while most of us have seen few if any episodes from the past few seasons, we’re not about to shout from the rooftops that they’re pure garbage, either – after all, we haven’t seen them, have we?
Can he swing
From a web?
No, he can’t
He’s a pig
…Sorry. It’s just so catchy and absurd, as Simpsons songs tend to be (“Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? / Their floors are sticky-mart.” Ahem).
The movie does not ignore its roots. The oft-quoted joke at the beginning about the Itchy and Scratchy movie just leads up to an expanded version of the opening theme, and later on an advertising bar scrolls across the bottom of the screen, poking fun at the Fox network. There are also some moments that are there just to take advantage of the PG-13 rating – Marge curses, Bart is exposed, Otto does drugs, and Homer flips someone off (although since the Simpsons only have four fingers on each hand, I wonder if they could get away with that on TV…).
Oh, the plot? As in any decent Simpsons episode, the plot meanders – for instance, in "Two Bad Neighbors", I love the flea market scene, but despise the Dennis the Menace spoof. In the movie, a Green Day concert leads to a community movement to clean up Lake Springfield, while Homer gets a pet pig and Bart spends quality time with Flanders. How does this all lead to the family moving to Alaska? It all makes a twisted sort of sense when you watch the movie straight through.
Also, because the film utilized many of the show’s top writers, including Matt Groening himself, the humor manages to appeal to a wide audience.
Not everyone laughed at every joke – for example, some people prefer subtle literary references, others prefer vomit jokes, a few like both, and plenty like neither. But every joke got laughed at by a decent portion of the audience.
All in all, the movie took aspects of some of the better (though not best) episodes of the show and, rather than stretching them, layered them to make the story more epic. Though Homer asks, “Why pay for something you can see on TV for free?” the film would not work as well if cut up into 22-minute “to be continued” chunks, and would probably lose some humor to FCC-mandated censorship.
I wouldn’t blame you if, especially at this point, you wanted to wait for the DVD release. Still, don’t wait until it hits broadcast TV, or even basic cable – it will lose something.
Also, don’t skip it with the notion that episode quality has decreased over the last few years. The writers have made sure that the film will appeal to Simpsons fans – and that seems to include just about everyone.
Also, make sure you stay through to the very, very end of the credits.
The rest of the Internet
The IMDb page.
The Wikipedia entry.
Good reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.
Good -- but not spectacular -- reaction from Roger Ebert.
David Silverman at Rolling Stone was "entertained but frustrated."
An observant viewer notes a recurring ambulance at The Easter Egg Archive.
Daniel Fienberg at Check the Fien Print shares my color scheme and my love of Spider-Pig, but was mildly disappointed overall.
Joseph Smith at the Sydney Anglican Network considers the Christian messages in the movie.
Jeff at MovieHawk was pleased with the film.