Thursday, 30 June 2011

100 days, 100 films; Day 14 - The Simpsons Movie

#87 - The Simpsons Movie

Okay, well obviously I’m not a snob who has particular taste judging from this being on my list but really, how could I leave it out? The Simpsons has been one of the longest running shows ever – I wasn’t even alive when it first started airing (my brother was but he’s withering before our eyes now). The movie was a long time coming and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The plot follows the Simpsons as Grandpa has a weird vision of something terrible happening while Lisa urges the people of Springfield to stop polluting in the lake. That’s all very well until Homer needs to dump a silo of pig...excrement and the lake is the closest thing. President Schwarzenegger then makes a decision that traps the entire city of Springfield inside a huge glass dome. Once the people find out Homer is responsible, him and the rest of the family are run out of town...but quickly rush back to save everyone when it turns out EPA are going to detonate the entire city.

Really, once you put the Simpsons in a movie, your job is done and the whole thing pretty much just writes itself. This is one of those things where if you don’t get it, then you won’t enjoy it. It’s not a big blockbuster epic or an Oscar-bait drama with either a hot woman getting ugly or a manly man playing a gay guy, it’s the Simpsons in their big adventure. This provides a lot more gags and excitement than your standard 22-minute Simpsons episode and almost everyone from the show makes an appearance; even characters that disappeared from the show years ago. Hell, even Itchy & Scratchy have a cameo.

The animation is pretty different from the show and plays out a lot like a CGI cartoon, and was the codifier for the new method of animation that the show’s using now. It works in the movie but it doesn’t add much to the show. I can’t remember if it was released in 3-D but it certainly feels like a 3-D movie. They even manage to squeeze in one of those trippy Disney-like acid sequences when Homer is having an epiphany, helped by an Inuit lady with massive knockers. Some of the cooler animated sequences are the angry mob storming the house as well as the climactic motorcycle ride around the dome surface.

Really the film offers everything you’d want from a Simpsons movie with a ton of great gags. They also give a little shout out to Disney with the animals from Snow White helping Marge and Homer undress – and get completely terrified when they stick around to watch what happens next. Then there’s Bart’s naked skateboarding trip to Krusty Burger, recreating the typical skateboard chase we see in the show’s opening. And who could forget President Schwarzenegger? His alter ego, Ranier Wolfcastle doesn’t appear but he wasn’t too sorely missed. And even Green Day make a cameo but the poor things get offed in the first few minutes as they drown in Lake Springfield, giving us a nice bit of “Nearer My God To Thee” from Titanic. Tom Hanks makes a cameo as well – and it’s actually him, believe it or not.

The film also manages to squeeze in some of those nice little aw-worthy moments that The Simpsons are known for. We even get a tear jerker where Marge leaves Homer a video tape leaving him and then reveals she taped over their wedding video. And we see a few nice scenes between Bart and Ned Flanders where Bart realises what it would be like if he had a good father. Then Lisa even gets herself a boyfriend, and it’s not Millhouse.

My favourite scene has got to be when all of the town finds out Homer is responsible for polluting the lake and forms an angry mob to storm the house, complete with pitchforks and torches. Maggie shows just how much of a badass she is by fending off Mr Teeney with a broken bottle, and getting the family to jump through a sink hole to safety. And Marge has to clean a dirty dish in the sink while her house is on fire.

If there’s anything to criticise about the film, it’s almost too short. In some places it does feel like a couple of episodes unabridged and, as a hardcore Simpsons fan, I felt I could have watched it go on for a whole half hour longer. But what we got was pretty good and that was the Simpsons having a fun adventure, following the typical format of big TV shows turning into movies where the heroes have to save something. 

So, there’s not much else to write about the film. If you’re a Simpsons fan and if you’re not, you’re probably a hermit too, then you’ll enjoy it. It offers great gags and your favourite character is sure to make an appearance. It’s a fun adventure and doesn’t try to be anything else. Until next time, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

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