The Simpson's Movie: A Review...or, My Eyes, The Goggles Do Nothing!

Review: The Simpsons Movie

Good Lord, this movie sucks!

I had high hopes for The Simpson's Movie, and, indeed, it begins on a high note, with a great Itchy & Scratchy sequence that ends with Scratchy eating hundreds of nuclear warheads.  Hah hah!  Then the camera pans back to reveal we're watching a movie, and Homer stands up and berates the audience for paying money to see a show they're getting on tv for free.  Hah hah...more funny.

Homer wasn't kidding.  The jokes were good for about, oh...20 minutes.  Then everything went south and became unbearably dull.  20 minutes, or, really, one decent tv episode.  The rest of the picture is such a slave to Hollywood formula that I was looking behind my couch for a paperback copy of "Screenwriting 101."  Yuck.

Do I really have to write more?  I don't feel like it.  You've had more than enough time to see this movie if you're so inclined.  I'm really the last one to the party.  I think the problem here is the same as the tv show - The Simpson's has run out of gas.  After 20 years on the air, every conceivable joke, story, and scenario has been played out at least half a dozen times.  It's just a gag show now, and it's been that way for at least a decade.

Ugh, what a letdown of a picture.  I could imagine a wacky comedy like one of Mel Brooks' classics - Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs - or any number of classic screwball farces.  No such luck.  What's here is just a standard-issue formula picture that has been used on about a billion summer blockbusters.

About the only good thing to come out of this movie is the animation, which is much fuller than tv.  The production team definitely put a priority on animating the Simpsons as they never could on the small screen.  For the most part, it works.  They didn't turn The Simpson's into an overdrawn Disney cartoon, but augment whenever necessary.  It's a very nice looking movie, if still a bit bland, but that's because of the art design of The Simpson's, and it's far too late to do anything about that now.

Yuck...what a lousy movie.  The second half barely had any good jokes, aside from one punch line here or there.  I just didn't care.  Why should I care about some serious plot, especially when these "plots" have been played out a dozen times on the tv.  Why am I supposed to care?  Homer is impulsive and dumb?  He's an inattentive father and husband?  Springfield is going to be destroyed?  What, again?

Other bad choices: why is Bart suddenly drinking hard alcohol in the middle of the picture?  When did he start doing that?  And why did he suddenly stop five minutes later?  What's the deal with that?  And why the need to show "adult" content that couldn't get past the censors?  Homer shouldn't flip the bird, and Marge shouldn't swear.  It doesn't fit their characters.  The part where Bart is buck naked is well-known, but the writers forgot that what makes those kind of scenes funny (remember Austin Powers?) is NOT showing the nudity.  That's the whole gag.  Flash the audience and you ruin the joke.

This movie ruins a lot of jokes.  Most everything else is just one simple throwaway line after another, all subservient to that damned stupid plot.  Spider Pig was funny, yes.  Hearing the Spider Pig song the third time...not funny.

Seriously, people.  Lose the Screenwriter's Handbook, please?  I was always skeptical of the idea of a Simpson's Movie, but I still wanted to discover a good movie.  This is a major disappointment.


Chris said...

It's always interesting to me how we all as individuals with our personalities and life experiences and so on can have such varied reactions to things.

I really, really enjoyed this movie. I laughed consistently throughout the film and there was a lot of goofy momentum to the story which definitely kept me interested and, finally, when the lights went up and I left the theater, I was more than satisfied by what I had seen.

Now I haven't lived in the US for over 10 years now, and in all that time I haven't watched a new episode of The Simpsons. I have continually purchased the DVD sets but haven't reached a point where I've seen episodes that were shown after I left the country. I've heard a lot of people say how tired The Simpsons has gotten, but I can't say either way. This film for me was the first new Simpsons I had seen in 9 years, and I felt it was as funny and as fresh as ever.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

If you liked the Simpson's Movie, that's great. I'm more frustrated than anything. I always take it personally if I end up not liking a movie, and always feel energized when the movie is good (especially if it's a surprise).

So if you laughed yourself silly, that's great. Humor is always subjective, anyway. Nobody can tell you what's funny. That's probably why dramas are more highly regarded than comedies in awards and critics.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I know how you feel about this film Daniel. I bothered paying whatever amount it was 2 years ago to see it myself, and I'm still shaking my head over it.

I often say many times that I feel "The Simpsons" is a writer's cartoon than a animator's one. This is due to the way the series structure has been quite quite a long time, though in the very beginning of the series, you had some interesting and funky drawing going on that used to lean more towards the animator's side of the show since they were just starting out and working out how things work in the show. I think the best seasons were the first 2 or 3 in my opinion as they harbor some rather interesting views and concept that were either kept in the show or abandoned (like Bart's "twister-mouth" bit during some of his dialogue that was a throwback to the Tracey Ullman days when The Simpsons started as shorts). There were a lot of fancy and weird angles including fast-takes that kept the show very fresh in our minds for many days until the next episode game out.

By the mid 90's and into the end of the decade you start to notice how rigid the show got and how many of these creative spurts disappeared as writers and producers took over how things worked and other matters that put a clamp on any real fun the animators had.

This movie is no exception. You can say the animation is quite exceptionally good here since they knew they had to splurge a little more for a feature film, but at times I can't help but think the best I noticed out of that is the 'cel-shaded' look of the characters or shadows in the backgrounds you wouldn't normally see in the series proper. That's all I really see outside the 1's being done for a lot of fast movement.

That nudity bit is one of those where I couldn't figure out if I should let it slide or not. I have the impression the studio guys figured after so long, why not tease our expectations? If we had expected it to be like that as in the TV show, we'd be fine, but I can remember feeling like something was coming 'up' out of that sequence! Of course they then had to go and stick in that bit at the end with Ned's line as if we didn't expect that either (I tell you Family Guy's ruining good humor).

So if you laughed yourself silly, that's great. Humor is always subjective, anyway. Nobody can tell you what's funny. That's probably why dramas are more highly regarded than comedies in awards and critics.

Probably. I know when I left the theater in the end, I wasn't happy! :-)

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