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Monday 30 July 2007

Movie Review of The Simpsons Movie

by Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person

Directed by David Silverman

Written by Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Joel Cohen, John Frink, Al Jean, Tim Long, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Michael Price, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti

Starring the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria

Both: If you like The Simpsons you'll like this movie. If you don't like The Simpsons, 1.) What the hell is wrong with you, and 2.) Why are you reading this review?

Lawrence Person: For all intents and purposes, this is a 90-minute Simpsons episode, specifically of the "Homer does something amazingly stupid and must do something even more amazing to atone for it" variety, crossed with a big (but surprisingly tolerable) dollop of Lisa's environmental nagging. Moreover, it's The Simpsons hitting on all cylinders circa seasons 4-9, rather than the more hit-or-miss nature of the recent years.

Howard Waldrop: Let's get the plot summary out of the way. Abraham has a shit-fit vision in church, and it all comes true, just like in a novel by Garcia Marquez. Lake Springfield is too polluted: Homer dumps his pig-crap silo in it and it reaches critical mass. The EPA puts a dome over Springfield. The Simpsons almost get lynched, take it on the lam and end up as fugitives in Alaska. Homer has to go back and save Springfield — which is going to be nuked to create a New Grand Canyon and clear up all the problems. Enough of that.

LP: There's little point in discussing the relative strengths and weaknesses of the movie, as they're the same as the TV show. So here are a few highlights:

  • A brilliant series of visual gags for covering up Bart's genitalia (and, once, not) during his naked skateboarding scene.
  • Professor Frink declaring right after they've lowered the impenetrable dome that he's invited a drill capable of boring through anything. "It's right over there, just outside the dome."
  • More than one elbow-to-the-ribs of Disney.
  • Maggie breaking off the end of her baby bottle to fight Krusty's monkey,
  • The bottom-screen crawl for a Fox TV show ("Yeah, we even do it during movies.")
  • A call out to a much-neglected superhero.
  • Green Day opens up by playing Danny Elfman's theme music. For what little I've been exposed to their oeuvre, it's probably the best song they've ever done.
  • Right after they die in the polluted lake, Reverend Lovejoy's eulogizes "yet another" rock band who died in Springfield because, of course, it's happened before.

Given The Simpsons universe, complaining that you can't ride a motorcycle up the inside of a dome or wondering why no one in Springfield thought to dig under it is nit-picking. My only real complaint is that Kang and Kodos didn't put in an appearance.

Howard Waldrop: Things you will learn from The Simpsons Movie:

  • There is a bar in Alaska named Eski-MOE'S
  • Eee-pah is the sound Green Lantern made when Sinestro threw him in a vat of acid, according to Comic Book Guy.
  • Bart's chalkboard quote: "I WILL NOT ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD THIS MOVIE"
  • The Sea Captain's house is actually a barge backed onto a canal.
  • There's naked skateboarding. Bart wishes he could be Flanders' kid. Lisa falls in love. Marge actually says "Throw the goddamn bomb." Nelson gives his ha-hah laugh so long he gets hoarse and turns blue in the face. The EPA uses the Osprey, the plane nobody wants. Schwarzenegger is President. You know, the kind of glue that holds every episode together.

There are homages in here to A Night to Remember, Eat the Peach, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You have to pay lots of attention every minute or you'll miss out.

Both: How is it that we just can't get away from The Carpenters' "Close to You"? This is the third movie we've reviewed it's been used in.

LP: There are closing credit cookies you'll want to stay for. When you hear "Four years of film school for this?", you'll know that's the last one and you can leave.

© 2007 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.