The Simpsons Movie is everything a fan of the 18-year-old animated Fox television series could ask for.
But then, Homer Simpson opens the movie by calling everyone in the audience giant suckers for paying to see what they get for free on TV. Looks like the world is full of giant suckers. Maybe some will download the movie or buy a pirated version just to feel better about being suckers. Even calculating theft into the equation – along with the possibility that more than a few non-fans might want to catch the Simpsons on the big screen – The Simpsons Movie should earn plenty of d oh.
In going for box office gold, the Simpsons trusted and loyal crew – the multitude of writers, producers and director David Silverman are series veterans – have labored long and hard to make a movie that hearkens back to the vintage years of the series. It s caustic, irreverent, constantly amusing and a tiny bit rude. Not a lot, though. This isn t the Beavis and Butt-Head or South Park movie. It s almost – dare I say it – charming.
For a while, nothing much happens, so you might think you are watching a TV segment blown up large. Grandpa makes a prophecy while speaking in tongues in church, but no one can understand what he said. Then Homer gets it into his mind to acquire a pet pig. Cue the pig jokes, some of which have already appeared in trailers.
Meanwhile, a cute subplot finds Lisa, the family conscience, campaigning to clean up the hugely polluted Springfield Lake. Against all odds, she succeeds, and the lake is declared off-limits to all dumpers. Even the local mafia agrees not to dump bodies there.
But Homer hasn t paid any attention. So when it comes time to get rid of the pet pig s poop, you know where he is going to pitch it. The result is the worst pollution in the U. This causes Environmental Protection Agency head Russ Cargill (nicely voiced by Albert Brooks) to convince President Schwarzenegger – you have a problem with an Austrian accent? – to put a giant unbreakable glass dome over the entire town.
Boy, are the town folks mad at the Simpsons now. A mob chases the family from its home. Using a sinkhole discovered by baby Maggie, the family escapes the dome and moves to Alaska. Cue the Alaska jokes, which are among the weaker ones in the movie, before everyone goes back to Springfield. Now Homer actually can save the town, which Cargill means to blow up.
Laughs come in all sizes – large, medium, small and failed, the latter happening only seldom. While little has been gained in bringing the Simpsons to the screen, other than a bigger canvas requiring a much larger army of animators, it s still fun to enjoy the crew in this new setting.
All the regular voice actors – which include Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer performing multiple roles, as well as Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith – are in fine form. The animation is still stiff TV animation but why mess with a familiar look? By the way, Tom Hanks puts in a good-natured cartoon appearance, and this pretty much sums up the Simpsons first foray into movies. Reuters