The Simpsons Movie |
directed by David Silverman
(20th Century Fox, 2007)
It may have taken what felt like forever, but James L. Brooks and company have finally released a theatrical version of television's first family -- nearly 18 years after The Simpsons made its debut on the small screen. Though many have criticized the show for exhausting its best jokes way back in the 1990s, let it be known that the Simpsons appear to be just as lively and fresh as they were in their early years.
In the film, appropriately titled The Simpsons Movie, Springfield is banned from dumping waste into a polluted Lake Springfield. Homer, who curiously adopts a pig, disregards the ban by dumping its waste into the lake, which further pollutes it and puts Springfield under the watchful eye of the Environmental Protection Agency. Eventually, the EPA contains the entire city within a giant dome and orders for it to be destroyed -- unless Homer can figure out a way to correct his wrongdoing.
As expected, The Simpsons Movie felt very much like an extended TV episode, which Homer even jabs at while watching a movie based on the fictional cartoon Itchy & Scratchy. The sequence, which questions why anyone would pay to see the big screen version of something that can be seen for free at home, was clever indeed.
And the film itself is exactly that: clever. It's not hilarious, but not a total bore, either. I didn't laugh too hard, nor that often, really. But in the end, I felt satisfied given the 87-minute film's ample supply of intelligent humor. (Bart's chalkboard cut-in, the Fox advertisement and the ominous "to be continued" banner come to mind. And there's plenty more.)
I admit the parts set in Alaska, which goes on and on for far too long, are rather bizarre, even for The Simpsons. For reasons unknown, the family decides to outline plans to save their beloved town in one of the most out-of-the-way states in the Union. (But then again, where the heck is Springfield, anyway?) In Alaska, Homer and Marge share a rather intimate -- and funny -- moment with the help of neighboring birds, deer and other animals. But other than that little gem, anything relating with Alaska, which takes up about a quarter of the film as it is, grew a bit long in the tooth.
Would it have made more sense to release a film during The Simpsons' mid-'90s prime? Sure. Would it have made it that much better? That I don't know. Nor do I care, really. In the end, The Simpsons Movie exhibited plenty of creativity from its aging writers -- even after nearly 18 years.
8 September 2007