Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie; animated comedy, USA, 2007; D: David Silverman, S: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, Albert Brooks, Joe Mantegna, Tom Hanks

Since Lake Springfield is extremely polluted, Lisa manages to convince the town to keep it clean. At the same time, Bart finds out Ned Flanders is a much better father than his real dad, Homer, who adopted a pig. In order to get rid of a pile of pig crap, Homer dumps it into the lake and causes a environmental catastrophe. President Schwarzenegger decides to place the whole town of Springfield under a giant glass dome to prevent the spreading of the pollution. The Simpsons escape and settle in Alaska, but return back when they find out the government wants to blow up their town. They save it and regain the sympathy of the citizens.

18 years after the debut of the show on TV, the "impossible" happened - "The Simpsons Movie" hit the big screens. Apparently, the authors said they were saving the best gags from the show for the film, but judging by the finished result, they should have saved some 18 years more: the film has 6-7 really good jokes, and a 100 more that backfire. Unfortunately, it doesn't manage to capture that magic from the good old, golden seasons of the old "Simpsons". As the movie starts, and the classic "Simpsons" tune starts playing on the big screen, one inevitably raises his hopes up because it seems this is going to be something special, yet the high expectations quickly slam into a dead end. The story has some good jokes, some bad jokes, but it's truly good in the first 30 minutes. Among the subversive jokes is the one where a Fox commercial suddenly pops up on the lower part of the screen, stating: "Now we can advertise even on film", the "Spider-Pig" gag is so absurd it's funny and, as bizarre as it seems, the sequence where Bart is skateboarding naked through town where a bunch of objects cover his intimate part only to reach a point where his penis is actually shown directly for 2 seconds, is truly daring (though, if you've seen such Japanese animated shows like "Dragonball", that doesn't come up that revolutionary as it seems).

Sadly, when the tangle where Springfield is placed under a giant glass dome starts, the whole thing becomes ridiculous. "Simpsons" were never a kids cartoon, but animation for grown ups handling real life issues everyone can identify with, and the glass dome plot is pure rubbish that's as false as some "Looney Tunes" episode. It would have definitely been better if the story in the film was revolving around real issues from life. Also, how can there be a Simpsons film without a single classic scene where Bart is in his classroom or Homer drinking at Moe's bar? That really seems fake and out of character, as if they forgot the real essence of the show. Even latter or on a few good gags show up (an angry mob passes right by the Simpsons home, and Homer says loudly: "Look, those idiots don't even know where we live!"), but as time passes dumb gags replace the intelligent ones more and more, until they turn the film into a dumb "Scary Movie" comedy with forced and violent "humor". Many fans were eager to see the film and already made up their minds that it was "perfect" even before they saw it, but generally it's only a very solid film. Unfortunately, if one were to take one great episode from the good old "Simpsons", like lets say "Marge vs. the Monorail", and compare it to the film, one would conclude is 20 minutes are funnier, more clever and more stylish than 5 "Simpsons Movies", whose humor is rather forced at times.


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