By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox.
The Simpsons Movie
The past 18 years of my life have all lead up to this. I have been a devoted Simpsons fan since the beginning. I have stuck with it through golden ages and what I consider a new renaissance. No matter what, I will never give up. At this point, I just need to visit with them every week. If it ever goes off the air, I will have serious withdrawal issues.
Movie Review: The Simpsons Movie
The Simpsons Movie validates my devotion to the greatest piece of entertainment in history. The very studio logo shows that the Simpsons writers get what it means to be on the big screen. It only takes a few minutes for them to totally ridicule the very medium of film, and they find ways to do it throughout the opus.
The story is classic Simpsons on an epic scale. The first act is just loosely relevant enough to set up the main plot. It takes a long way to get there and that ride is the biggest treat. Since the whole movie is longer, it's like a complete TV episode's worth of act one!
They give each character a subplot but what Homer does drives the action. It holds up with the best Golden Age Simpsons episodes like "The Strange Journey of Our Homer" and "Bart Sells His Soul," with some elements of those classic stories.
The humor remains mildly inappropriate but knowingly observant. It always just pushes two or three levels past where most comedies would end. There are plenty of religious digs, shots at Fox, Homer-style life lessons and all the staples I love with just a tad bit more clarity on some of the usually suggested vagaries. On sheer length alone, it has triple the laughs of the best Simpsons episodes.
Surrounding that, the dialogue is a little bit longer and more in depth in some scenes. Marge's sincere moment conveys more emotional pain than even "Strange Journey" did. Homer's true desperation comes out given a tad more nuance to the vocal performance. That's the magic of The Simpsons. You still care what happens to them no matter how outrageous it is.
The Simpsons Movie is full of background gags ensuring that you will have to see it again and again to catch every little joke. Every favorite character gets a moment to shine. Ralph says his childlike non sequiturs, Comic Book Guy explains it all and the Crazy Cat Lady is just outrageous. Disco Stu even pops up in crowd shots, though he doesn't get a line. Maybe in the sequel.
It is glorious to see Springfield in widescreen Cinemascope. There are some beautiful 2D shots through crowds of people and streets of background. There is some pretty awesome cartoon action too. It is unreal, surreal and totally imaginative.
My biggest dilemma is the comparison to South Park. That may still be the ultimate animated movie because it was such a leap beyond what the show had done by then. It was multi-leveled and socially important. Well, The Simpsons were already that, so it's not such a big leap. <B>The Simpsons Movie</b> brings the awesomeness of the series to the big screen, but it was already there.
This must be how Star Wars fans wanted to feel with the prequels, but Simpsons fans actually get their masterpiece. It's a Simpsons fan's dream.