Monday, July 7, 2014
The Simpsons Movie - Homer Hits the Big Screen
5 out of 5 Stars
The animated television series The Simpsons is the longest running television show. It became very popular from the time it began to air in 1989 on FOX. The characters appeared on all kinds of merchandise, games, and comic books. It was years later before I started to watch the show because I didn’t have FOX in 1989. I quickly got hooked on the show and have been watching it ever since. I have all the DVD sets that have been released and I went to see The Simpsons Movie on opening day in 2007. I just watched the movie again.
Springfield is facing a dangerous situation. Lisa convinces everyone to do something to fix the situation. Things start to get better until the day that Homer gets distracted by free donuts and does something that dooms the town. He then has to try to find a way to redeem himself and possibly save the town.
The Simpsons Movie begins showing many of the characters in a movie theater watching an Itchy & Scratchy movie. During the credits, there are a few little bits of animation, including Maggie’s first word, but there really aren’t any actual extra scenes during or after the credits. There wasn’t an animated short before the movie, unless you count the few minutes of Itchy & Scratchy.
While the plot for the movie does build on things from the series, it is self contained. There really haven’t been any continuing storylines in the series, so there wasn’t anything like that to carry into the movie. Everything is resolved by the end of the movie. Some things that happened in the movie have been referenced in the series since then once or twice. When the new season started in the fall of 2007, something is shown that connects to the ending of the movie. People who haven’t seen the series could enjoy the movie though they probably won’t know all the characters or get why certain things happen. The movie is really aimed at fans of the show.
Subplots turn up in many episodes of the series, some of which end up not being connected to the main plot of the episode in any way. The Simpsons Movie has a few subplots that do end up tying back into the main plot. For a few of the subplots, it only becomes clear late in the movie how they connect to the main plot. Things remain true to the series and what has been established in it and no one acts out of character. The things that happen are believable for the world of the series.
The movie uses the same type of humor that the series uses and I think the movie is funny. That does mean that some jokes are silly and there is some gross humor as well. This type of humor doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I think it works for the movie just like it works for the series. Anyone that has had a problem with the humor in the show will probably have a problem with it in the movie too. Some of the humor relies on things that Homer says or does, again like the show. It just wouldn’t seem right to me if Homer didn’t bumble into something and cause some sort of problem. It would have been weird if the movie changed the humor too much from what is used in the series. From what I remember, the trailers and previews didn’t show the funniest moments. There are a few pop culture references without the movie being loaded down with too many of them like has happened with other movies. Homer gets a pig at one point that he calls Spider Pig and later calls Harry Plopper, in what seem to be references to Spider-Man and Harry Potter. Homer even makes up a Spider Pig song.
The Simpsons Movie is rated PG-13, so it is able to get away with a little more than an episode of the series is. At one point, Homer makes an obscene gesture with each hand and there is a little bit of swearing. The word that rhymes with luck isn’t used. There is some animated nudity at one point that did shock me when I first saw the movie. I hadn’t expected it to go as far as it did. Parents should definitely check out the movie before letting their kids see it, even if their kids regularly watch the series. Things are a little more suggestive in a few other scenes. The movie isn’t good for all children just because it is animated.
The animation for the movie has the same basic look as the series. All the characters and locations look the same, though it is slightly different from how the series looked up to the point of the movie being released. The series is now in high definition, something that started with season twenty in 2009. The animation for the movie is done very well though it isn’t on the same level as what Pixar does.
By the time this movie came out, the series had aired for eighteen years. That gave it the time to have richly developed main characters and a large, fairly strong cast of supporting characters. There isn’t much in the way of character development in the movie, but that didn’t bother me since I was already familiar with the characters. Anyone who hasn’t watched the show may feel differently. The movie, like the series, is mainly focused on the five members of the Simpsons family, so they end up with the most to do.
While several supporting characters are around, none of them do as much which is a little disappointing even though it is understandable. There are a few scenes that include large crowds, which is the only time some of the various characters are actually seen. Some of the characters only get a line or two while others don’t have any. Several locations, like the church, Krusty Burger, and the comic book store, turn up as well. Comic Book Guy shows up in a few scenes and is actually attempting to help Marge figure something out at one point. Apu, Moe, Millhouse, Chief Wiggum, and Mr. Burns briefly stand out in short scenes. There are a few new characters, with Russ Cargill having the most to do since he is involved in the main plot. The voices of the characters are all done by the voice actors who have done them for the series for years. It would have just been strange if the voices had been different. Albert Brooks, credited as A. Brooks, does a good job with the voice of Russ. One very famous actor basically does a cameo as himself at one point.
The Simpsons Movie is available on DVD and Blu-ray. I have the DVD. The picture quality looks beautiful on my HDTV. There are a few commentaries that I haven’t taken the time to listen to yet. There are five or six short deleted scenes, including a slightly alternate ending, that really don’t add much, though they would have given a few other characters some screen time. The different trailers are included as well. Special stuff includes little extra bits, like Homer introducing American Idol and Homer, Marge, and Lisa acting as the American Idol judges while Simon Cowell auditions. None of them are very long, though they are cute. Since I don’t have the Blu-ray, I don’t know what sort of extras are included with that version.
The Simpsons Movie is a very fun, entertaining movie. I really enjoyed it and think it is true to the series. It is definitely worth checking out for fans of the series. People who don’t like the series should probably just skip this movie.
This review is part of Elvisdo’s 7th Annual Funny Pages Write Off because of Comic Book Guy, the reference to Spider-Man, and the fact that there are Simpsons comic books.
I posted a review of this movie on Epinions on July 27, 2007 - after seeing the movie in the theater - as dragonfire88. When I watched the movie again recently, I decided to write a new review.