After several long years of waiting and much hype and excitement, Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie have finally made it to the big screen. The Simpsons Movie doesn't go bigger and better like South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut did, but instead delivers consistent "Simpsons" humor in a big screen format, and that is exactly what the audience was craving.
In the beginning of the movie, Homer stands up in a theater, points to the audience, and asks in not an exact quote, "Why are we paying for something that we can watch on TV for free? We're all idiots... especially YOU!" Homer, for once in his life, may be right, but it doesn't matter; there's no way that I, or the $71 million other people worth of business over the opening weekend, would stay at home and not go see this movie. Some of the highlights are shown in the previews, such as Spider-Pig, a rock and a diner called A Hard Place, and Bart skating naked through town (after a long sequence where the animators hide Bart's junk, we finally are shown his little yellow pecker), but it really doesn't matter; most fans of "The Simpsons", who perhaps haven't watched the whole run of the series but have gone in and out over the years, are used to watching the best episodes over and over again. It is just amazing to sit down and watch a show you've grown up watching on the big screen. And thankfully, it's still pretty funny.
If you're expecting something edgy and grand, like Satan and Saddam Hussein sleeping together, then look elsewhere, as The Simpsons movie is less about shock and more about appealing to the tens of millions of "Simpsons" fans around the world. The movie is funny and pretty consistently so, and the humor isn't much of a step above what you'd get in the show. The movie thrives on just being random, as seen in one of my favorite scenes where Homer and Marge are slowly undressed by Disney-looking animals all to overly cheerful music, with the end result being sex. Other fine moments include a ticker appearing at the bottom of the screen where an advertisement for a Fox show appears, followed by, "Yes, we even advertise at the movies" or something along those lines.
That being said, there is a plot, and there is no hiding that the "Simpsons" staff has something to say about the environment. After Homer dumps a vat of pig crap in Lake Springfield, causing it to go toxic and mutate several creatures, the EPA convinces President Schwarzenegger to put a giant bubble around Springfield (it helps that the company that creates the giant bubbles is also owned by the head of the EPA) to keep its inhabitants from spreading their filth to the rest of the country. Homer and the Simpsons go on the run as they are blamed for everything, but, as Springfield slowly dies, it is up to our favorite family to save the day.
The plot works for the most part, even though it takes the Simpsons out of Springfield and away from some of the best characters for a long period of time. I would have loved to see a plot more centered around Mr. Burns and to have more of the characters involved more intricately, but then again, we wouldn't have gotten what will surely be considered a classic scene, where Homer whips a bunch of sled-pulling Huskies and orders them to "Run! Jump! Climb! Rest!"
The movie does have its slow parts, but that's to be expected for a movie like this. Furthermore, some of the best random gags are near the beginning. Still, The Simpsons Movie exceeds expectations, if only a little. I wasn't expecting The Simpsons Movie to be a non-stop laugh fest, as it has never been like that in any of its 226 seasons. Non-stop gags based on modern references are for shows like "Family Guy"; "The Simpsons" have always been a bit more about satirical and dry humor, and the movie is no different. It is a quality film with good animation and an entertaining story.
And Spider-Pig alone is worth the price of admission.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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