The Simpsons Movie Review
When you've been waiting 20 years for one movie to come out, it's easy to set your expectations too high. So I was cautious entering the Simpsons Movie not to be too critical. The result is a funny and enjoyable feature length Simpsons episode. That said, the question is under which generation of Simpsons does this fall? Is this Simpsons circa 1990, or circa 2000? Well, I'd place it roughly at year ten of the series, around 2001, when Simpsons began to slowly wane and that newcomer Family Guy started to show up. As it stands, the movie is occasionally hilarious, yet of course never quite living up to it's earlier golden years. We end up laughing really hard, but that laughter only grazes what we experienced when Homer went back to college, or when Bart got an abusive girlfriend, or Ralph had a crush on Lisa. Maybe that's due to the fact that a couple of those brilliant writers are missing, or sadly passed away.
But let's not focus on the past, lets look at why parts of this movie work and others don't work. For one, it is simply too sprawling for it's own good. What seems like a great narrative device to entrap the city of Springfield and see them interact, is passed off as another excuse for the Simpsons to isolate themselves in nature. Instead of getting to see all of our favorite supporting characters go crazy as prisoners in their city, we watch Homer make his way across a barren wasteland in the last state the series hasn't covered yet. I suppose that's a minor grip in the narrative. However, what I would say made this film falter is that the whole movie slumps into a, yes that's right, SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT message that not only appears hackneyed and blatant, but is not even poked fun at by the supporting characters. I could maybe live with that if they had focused a bit more on the family, but even they are passed off with the political messages. Right there the Simpsons Movie fails to capture the very essence of the series. If the show ever did have a message it would either be based on family troubles, the individuals of the family, or even focus on the lack of a message itself. As Homer Simpson himself once said, "I don't get it. Is this supposed to be a happy ending or a sad ending?" To Which Marge replied, "It's an ending. That's that." Overall though, this ending is a satisfying one.
When it comes down to it, I would have much rather seen Homer Simpson's movie about "A killer robot driving instructor who travels back in time for some reason." I heard Ron Howard was attached to direct. But I guess you can't have everything.
The movie has some beautiful animation along with some painstaking attention to detail. In fact the animation excels here in making the Simpson Universe come alive, and it works tremendously. The acting is as always top-notch, especially with Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner. And when it comes down to it, it's funny. It really is. And if you're still not sure, just wait for Homer to get more comfortable with Spider Pig. That alone is worth paying for a ticket.