The Simpsons Movie
Well, 'More Simpsons' has never been a bad thing, has it?
Let's make a rather bold assumption that you know the general gist of The Simpsons, what with it being the single biggest slab of pop culture to come out of America since Star Wars. Running for over twenty years, if you count the Tracy Ullman period, exported around the globe, critically lauded, rarely less than absolutely awesome. Yeah, that's the one. Now, this is a Movie of it.
We further make the assumption that you won't be too surprised to hear that it's essentially not far off being simply a long episode of The Simpsons, albeit on a somewhat grander scale, and as such we assume you won't be surprised to hear that for a Simpsons fan at least, it's a roundly awesome film. However, I've now assumed an entire review, so I guess I'd better back up somewhat.
Of late, you could argue that The Simpsons isn't quite the satirical entertainment powerhouse that it had been for its "Golden Age", the exact timing of which varies according to personal taste, mine stretching from series three up to, oooh, eight or so. The last few series have seen a tendency to feature increasingly silly plotlines and somewhat desperate ideas, although it still remains the most consistently amusing program on telly so lets not get to het up about it. This outing reins itself in quite successfully, and could fit somewhere between series five and six quite comfortably.
Following the same skeleton as most of the finest episodes, namely Homer doing something stupid, earning his family's scorn but redeeming himself on account of his efforts and basic decency, only the scale differs in the feature outing. A thoughtless dumping of pig swill leads to Springfield being labelled an ecological disaster zone, with the only solution to prevent further cataclysms being to encase the town in an impenetrable dome. Impenetrable, that is, apart from the sink hole in Homer's back yard, which comes in handy when the lynch mob comes calling.
Escaping with the rest of the family to Alaska to build a new life, things seem to be going semi-swimmingly until they get wind of the second part of the EPA's fiendish director Ross Cargill (Albert Brooks) is revealed, that being to reduce Springfield into a smoking crater. Oh noes! Somebody ought to do something!
The only mildly disappointing thing about The Simpsons. is that it's 'merely' very funny, rather than having an audience in hysterics throughout. It's perhaps not particularly a cinematic spectacle that demands big screen attention rather than a home rental. Given the faintly ludicrous number of supporting characters that the series has spawned over the years, I can pretty much guarantee that it's not going to have enough of your particular favourite.
Aww, diddums. I'm not hugely convinced there's a lot of point saying much more about this film, as whether or not you like it will be determined by whether or not you like The Simpsons, which you simply must have taken a position on by now. It's like reviewing cheese sandwiches. You've already tried them and formed an opinion, so there's little point either preaching to the choir or talking to a brick wall. It's as good Simpsons as I've seen in a good long while, if that counts for anything.
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 4/5 TippyMarks.
Julie Kavner (Marge)
Nancy Cartwright (Bart/Maggie/Ralph/Nelson/Todd Flanders/TV Daughter/Woman on Phone)
Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
Harry Shearer (Scratchy/Mr. Burns/Rev. Lovejoy/Ned Flanders/Lenny/President Arnold Schwarzenegger/Kent Brockman/Principal Skinner/Dr. Hibbert/Smithers/Guard/Otto/Kang)
Hank Azaria (Professor Frink/Comic Book Guy/Moe/Chief Wiggum/Lou/Carl/Cletus/Bumblebee Man/Apu/Drederick Tatum/Sea Captain/Dr. Nick)
Albert Brooks (Russ Cargill)