June 30, 2016

The Simpsons Movie.

Review #814: The Simpsons Movie.

Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson, Abe Simpson, Groundskeeper Willie, Krusty the Clown, Mr. Teeny, Sideshow Mel, Mayor Quimby, EPA Officer, Itchy, Barney Gumble, Hans Moleman, Plopper, Burns's Lawyer, Rich Texan), Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson, Patty and Selma), Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, TV daughter), Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson), Pam Hayden (Maggie Simpson, Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Comic Book Guy, Cletus Spuckler, Carl, Bumblebee Man, Dr. Nick, Chief Wiggum, Gabbo, Officer Lou), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Rainer Wolfcastle, Reverend Lovejoy, Lenny, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman, Scratchy, Seymour Skinner, Otto Mann), Tress MacNeille (Medicine Woman, Colin, Cookie Kwan, Lindsey Neagle, Agnes Skinner, TV son, Mrs. Muntz, Elly), Albert Brooks (Russ Cargill), Marcia Wallace (Edna Krabappel), Russi Taylor (Martin Prince), and Maggie Roswell (Helen Lovejoy, Miss Hoover) Directed by David Silverman (#074 - Monsters, Inc.)

I suppose this is a hard one to review in part because The Simpsons has been a culture phenomenon before and after I was even born, with no end in sight even after 25 years, and it was only fitting that a movie was made. The discussion of the series and its impact (and apparent decline) is one that will last even longer than this review, if not the next bunch. For me, I remember watching reruns of the show on local TV when I was growing up, but I haven't really watched that many episodes in the past few years, old or new. It's nothing personal, it's just I haven't had as much time for it. But I decided to watch the movie, in part because I wanted to end the month off with a review, and what better than the Simpsons?

While The Simpsons Movie could not possibly live up to any conceivable hype, it is at least an entertaining movie that succeeds enough to work. There is enough gags and enough of the family dynamic that helps it shine, even if it may be a bit short under 90 minutes. The animation is good, showing some excellent depth, such as the mob scene, or even when showing Alaska. The characters are faithfully brought to the screen, and there is some good scenes with them, such as when they are trying to escape the mob, or when Bart helps them escape from a convenience store by "drawing". I wish the movie had been longer, but I almost wish more that it was about something else. Granted, it does try to be more than just an extended episode of the show, but there's just something about it that feels missing. Sure, the environmental plot is fine and all, but it doesn't really seem to come off as meaty enough to leave much of an impact. The villain (played by Brooks) isn't terrible, but he isn't really anything that special either. The movie didn't need a cartoon-ish over-the-top villain, but I think it needed something a bit more defined. The scenes with Bart and Flanders are well-handled, and it is at least nice to see some sort of variation of Homer that actually seems to learn some sort of lesson, in a strange quirky scene no less. On the whole, The Simpsons Movie is passable enough, with the characters we all know and love in their own movie, and it pushes itself just over the edge to work.

Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.

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