Friday, August 29, 2008
REVIEW: The Simpsons Movie
The Simpsons Movie
Director: David Silverman
Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Rated PG-13
When word got out that Fox was finally bringing The Simpsons to the big screen, it got me excited, but also alittle worried. I mean it took 18 years for Fox to finally wake up and realize that after winning multiple awards and being nominated over a billion times that The Simpsons deserve the big screen treatment. So I was worried about alot of things like was it going to be in 3D? was it going to have a good story? will the entire cast return? and if the actual film would even come out. Thankfully, all of this was answered in the film and I'm glad to say that it delivered. Grossing over $520 million worldwide on a budget of $75 million, The Simpsons Movie was easily a box office success.
While Green Day performs in Lake Springfield, they begin to talk about the environment, but receive a negative response from the people of Springfield. Garbage is thrown at the band causing them to sink to their death. After this incident, Lisa (Yeardley Smith) tries to warn other Springfield residents about pollution and nobody listens until she meets an Irish boy named Colin (Tress MacNeille). Together, the two manage to convince the town that the lake should be cleaned up. Meanwhile, Homer (Dan Castellaneta) adopts a pig and decides to depose the pig's waste in the lake, causing pollution. After President Arnold Schwarzenegger is informed about this by Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks) who is the head of the EPA, a giant dome is placed over Springfield. Homer finds himself in a lot of trouble when the town learns that he is responsible for the lake's pollution.
The story of the movie feels exactly like an episode of the show only stretched out to fit the 1 hour and 27 minutes of the film which kind of feels short. While the story is much better than the recent episodes that have been airing on TV, it doesn't come close to some of the earlier episodes of the show. To me it feels more like a regular 30 minute episode, but stretched out instead of an actual story built from scrap. The Simpsons have always been about jokes and its targeted at people looking for comedy. That same formula is present here and we get many jokes that are plain hilarious. At the same time, it makes you wonder "Didn't I hear this joke already"? The many jokes the film has have been used in various seasons of the show and are recycled in the movie. While this does make the film alittle more dull for huge fans around the world, it does make the newer audiences happy since the jokes are pretty funny. So I guess its kind of like a trade off.
The cast of The Simpsons Movie is outstanding. I'm very happy to see that the entire cast is back for the long awaited movie. Dan Castellaneta does his Homer thing and I'm so glad he does it great because literally no one can play Homer Simpson better than Dan Castellaneta. Julie Kavner is also back as Marge Simpson and sounds good, but for some scenes, her voice does sound alittle deep, but maybe that's just me. Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith return as Bart and Lisa Simpson with both sounding great with longer lines than they usually get in the TV show. Its also nice to see Albert Brooks return and sounding great as usual. I thought the cast was overall very solid and they well projected their voices.
The visual effects for the film are fantastic. Considering The Simpsons have always been about 2D sketch animation, its nice to see the film still keep that look of the TV show instead of going 3D. The movie is shown in widescreen and looks better than it did on TV. The pixels are in higher resolution with everything else looking crystal clear and razor sharp. There is absolutely no film grain and everything is silky smooth. Colors are eye popping with vibrancy. The color yellow has never looked this good. Detail is also impressive with every little thing looking wonderfully detailed. This is one good looking disc from the guys at Fox.
While the music of the film sounds good, its kind of sad to see that mastermind composer Danny Elfman not return to score this film. It really would have made this film so much better, but what we do get is from composer Hans Zimmer who composed many other hits such as Batman Begins, The Da Vinci Code and etc. While Elfman would have been great, what we get from Hans Zimmer isn't all that bad. The movie has sound in parts where they are needed and also gives the film some tension when its needed. The movie also features some good bass work. Its loud and full of rumble. This doesn't look like a movie that would need much bass, but what we get here is more than enough.
When The Simpsons movie finally came out in theaters, I was alittle scared to see it because I didn't want a huge TV series like The Simpsons getting criticized over a bad movie. This movie was definitely going to make or break The Simpsons in general and I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint for the most part. The story is better than any of the recent episodes with the entire cast still their. The music although not used enough still sounds good with the visual look of the film looking better than it ever has. The Simpsons Movie might feel like another good episode to many of the fans, but to newer audiences, its a great film. I only wish the movie itself was alittle longer.