There’s a new genre in town – the made for movies television show.
I had a chance to go watch the Simpsons Movie yesterday, and I have to tell you, I wasn’t impressed. Instead of going into a long review of the movie, I’ve got my thoughts after the jump.
There is a great moment at the very beginning of the movie where the family Simpson is watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon in the movies. Suddenly Homer stands up and says “Boring! I can’t believe we paid good money for something we can watch at home for free! Everyone in this theater is suckers!” Then pointing at everyone in the Aztec theater, he says, “You, you, you, you,” before finally turning toward the camera and addressing the real audience, “And especially you!”
It’s too bad that was at the very front of the movie, because it pretty much summed up my feelings toward the flick. Sure there were some laugh out loud moments, but overall the film was no better than what we have been seeing on television these last seven years.
Oh sure, we get to see Bart’s doodle. The scene was clever in that for the first 30 seconds of the sequence Bart’s doodle is being obscured by various pieces of scenery before a hole in the shrubs let’s us see the full Monty, but really that joke has been done to death so many times it really wasn’t funny. And the payoff of seeing Bart’s wang did have most of the audience laughing, but that may have been one of the highlights.
Yes, we do get to see Homer giving everyone in Springfield the middle finger as he makes his escape from the domed city. Seeing a cartoon character you’ve watched for the last 18 years flip the bird is a bit of a laugh, but nothing we haven’t seen other cartoon characters do on cable television.
Marge says “goddamn”. I have to admit this took me by surprise, as I was expecting someone else drop the f-bomb first. The language in the film was kept at the PG-13 rating, which may cause audience members to be disappointed.
The “plot” is pretty typical for a modern Simpsons TV show – Homer does something that has the whole town mad at him, the family flees, Bart is disappointed in his father, Lisa tries to save the environment, and by the end of the episode, Homer makes good with everyone. Go on, tell me the movie is anything more than that. And that is what has me yawning so much over this movie. The creators didn’t go above and beyond what they do in the television show. If we look back at the South Park movie, the creators took the foul-mouthed kids and pushed them over the edge, turning a 30 minute television show into an Academy Award winning musical. I would be surprised if this movie is even up for a nomination.
Even with all the faults in the movie, there are a few bright shining moments. Albert Brooks still plays the best villain the television show has ever seen. And while I would have loved him to have reprised his role as Scorpio, having him play Cargill – which by the way is the big in joke in the movie as the company Cargill is one of the world’s worst polluters of our environment, was still very good.
At the end of the day, I would have been more comfortable sitting in my home theater watching the Simpsons Movie on my HD projector system, instead of paying a fee (thank jeebus it was matinee price) to come away disappointed. I didn’t hate the movie, but I didn’t stand up and embrace it as the best thing ever to come out of Springfield (that would be the seasons Conan O’Brian worked on the show). This was an average film, a better than average made for TV movie, and a slight step up from what we are already seeing on Fox Sunday nights. The laughs are there, and there are a few really good moments, but the chuckle and not so great moments bring the film down. I think the movie is too little, too late, earning the Simpsons Movie 2.5 out of 5 Stars.