The Simpsons Movie

Dir: David Silverman
Star: [voice] Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith

While The Simpsons is one of those shows I somewhat liked, a big-screen adaptation is one of those entirely pointless endeavours. Not, necessarily, a bad thing by itself; there is still enough of the sharp wit that the series, at its best, delivers. However, the need to see Homer on the big screen ["Larger! Balder! Yellower!"] escapes me entirely, and appears to have escaped the writers too, with the freedom from network restraints celebrated by a flash of Bart's cartoon genitals, and precious little else. The plot sees Springfield sealed inside a dome, to save the rest of the country from its toxic behaviour - Homer and a silo of pig crap are involved there - though President Schwartzenegger, with help from his EPA consultant, decides nuking the town is more permanent. It's up to Homer to save the day, and prove himself to Marge and the rest of the family.

There are moments of comedic genius here, and also moments when the 'anything can happen' world of animation is allowed to run free. For example, when Lisa is about to to knock on the door of a house to promoto her environmental beliefs, and the entire house pulls back, rolls up and sails off. Or a spirited parody of Disney films, with bluebirds and Bambi. On the whole, however, this is not as imaginative as I'd hoped, and in many ways is not much more than a sitcom with aspirations. It's a good deal less savage than I'd hoped; one strength of the show lay in its subversion, thought the message at its heart was good ol' family valies. Here, the subversion is secondary, and nothing rings truer than the opening sequence, where Homer is watching the Itchy + Scratchy movie in a theater, then berates the audience for paying to see the same things they could watch for free on television. Having watched their film on cable, the joke's somewhat on Homer.

[July 2008]

Homer of the Brave
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