After about a decade’s worth of discussion, THE SIMPSONS MOVIE has finally made it to the big screen and it’s pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. It’s not merely a glorified two-part episode of the TV show, but is instead THE SIMPSONS writ large enough to warrant the big screen treatment in terms of a feature film being the best way to convey the semi-epic scope of its story.
I’m not going to discuss the plot so as not to give anything away, but I will say this: the biggest obstacle THE SIMPSONS MOVIE faced was coming up with a fresh story after some 400-plus episodes over almost twenty years, and in many ways it failed to meet that challenge. But how the fuck do you come up with something totally new after such a track record? That would require a miracle and those are in short supply these days, so the plot is cobbled together from elements that those of us who have regularly watched the television series will no doubt recognize, so it’s best to just ignore the perfunctory story and instead focus on the familiar legion of characters being allowed more freedom to do their thing without the interference of the FCC and Fox Network censors. THE SIMPSONS was never a children’s cartoon and was at one time quite controversial, a fact long forgotten once the show and its characters worked their way into pop culture immortality and Americana, so the creators have managed to cut loose on the big screen with content and theatrical-quality animation that they would never have been afforded in primetime.
The simplest way to give you the skinny on the flick is to say that if you already like THE SIMPSONS, then you’ll most likely enjoy the film, your familiarity with the characters and situations found in Springfield saving the writers the effort of having to explain two decades of backstory to the newcomer. But if you’re a newcomer you may get overwhelmed with stuff you’re expected to already know about going in, so bring an expert along to walk you through any questions you may have.
And a few points of note:
- Thanks to the movie having fewer restrictions than the TV series, the implicit becomes the explicit and we finally — FINALLY!!! — get to witness Otto doing bonghits.
- There’s a great stab at the Fox Network that actually reduced the audience to hysterics after we remembered that we weren’t sitting in front of the world’s biggest plasma screen TV.
- Homer and Marge have long been depicted as a pair very much in love despite their flaws (or more accurately Homer’s), and the physical side of their relationship has been handled with more believability than any other couple on TV. In the film we get a bedroom scene that takes a hilarious swipe at saccharine Disney cartoons and toward the end we get a beautifully animated sequence of Homer and Marge on a motorcycle, both locked in a passionate kiss that's more human and emotionally resonant than most of what passes for romance in films specifically designed to be romantic.
- Yes, we do get to see Bart’s junk, but it’s done in a way that allowed them to get away with it and not receive an R rating.