The Simpsons Movie
With more than 400 half-hour
episodes made over nineteen seasons widely available, you can't help but
wonder what the point is in making a movie of The Simpsons.
Sure, the TV series is one of the pop-cultural touchstones of the
generation, the most subtly subversive comedy of its era.
However, in order to make a
Simpsons Movie worth the time, they have to give the audience
something that they can't get from the regular series -- and I'm sorry, a
few seconds of Bart going full monty isn't going to do it. In fact, at
the beginning of the film Homer mocks the audience for paying for something
they could see at home for free. I know it was meant to be post-modern
and ironic -- but it's not wrong.
If The Simpsons Movie
were a special three-part episode on TV, it wouldn't be one of the
classics. In fact, it would be one or two pretty good episodes which
went on way too long. I can think of dozens of episodes of the show that
are funnier than the movie -- and I'm only a casual follower of the show.
The Simpsons were
always about character and jokes over plot, and you have to give them
credit, they did not sell out the show's narrative thrust for the
The problem is, that lack
of storyline which is fine in tiny chunks gets more and more noticeable in
an extended feature timeframe.
The excuse for a plot has
the town of Springfield becoming the most polluted town in the US when Homer
dumps a silo full of pig droppings in the lake. The government -- as
represented by an unscrupulous EPA agent voiced by Albert Brooks -- places a
huge bubble over the town, trapping them all in. So there is a slight
political slant to the humor, but it's really mostly kind of toothless, the
parody is on the level of the chortling at the idea of President Schwarzennegger.
The Simpsons are usually much sharper than that.
As the air and supplies
dwindle in the bubble, the town turns on Homer and the Simpsons. If
you've seen more than a few episodes, you'll have a good idea what they will
do. Bart will sass, Homer will be his normal boorish self, Marge will
be mostly selflessly patient and Lisa will try unsuccessfully to balance her
beliefs and a cute boy.
In the meantime, most of
the vivid supporting characters which make Springfield such a vibrant place
are shuffled off to the side. There are some slight surprises -- Ned
Flanders is actually something of a heroic character in this film rather
then the source of ridicule he normally is. With the rest, each and
every one of them gets quick little cameos, but none of them have the time
or material to really make much of an impression. It seems they are
mostly just coming in and rerunning scenes from any number of episodes.
Is the movie worth seeing?
Sure, it's The Simpsons. It's a given a lot of it will be extremely
However, it's not so special that you need to run out to the theater.
You may as well wait a few months and stumble across it on TV, where it will
inevitably be rerun over and over, ad infinitum, for many years to come.
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: August 7, 2007.