It's hard to imagine where cartoons on TV, let alone TV shows in general, would be without "The Simpsons". Since it's debut in 1989, Matt Groening's show about a dysfunctional family and the other characters in the town of Springfield has gone on to change television forever with its hilarious jokes and memorable characters. The show has done a lot of amazing things and the episodes that defined it in the 90s will be timeless forever due to how complex, deep, memorable, and as well as how hilarious the characters were. Unfortunately, the show has well overstayed its welcome and the show has severely declined in quality over the years leading up to today where it doesn't hold a candle to the episodes of the past. Despite the show and characters feeling like a shell of its former self, it still has produced some good things in the past few years including two shorts starring the youngest Simpson member Maggie in "The Longest Daycare" and "Playdate with Destiny", but also "The Simpsons Movie". Released in 2007, this film really reminded me of how special and fantastic this show once was because I can say without hesitation this is one of the best-animated movies based on a TV cartoon. This is a film that really works. The Simpson family consisting of Homer (Dan Castellaneta), Marge (Julie Kavner), Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and Maggie have been living their somewhat unordinary lives in the town of Springfield. One day during church, Grampa (also Castellaneta) has a prophecy that horrible things will happen in Springfield and gives vague warnings involving "a twisted tail", "a thousand eyes", "trapped forever", and "EPA". Naturally, the town ignores it but it soon comes to an end when Homer inadvertently gets a pet pig and causes mayhem at a polluted lake which attracts the attention of the Environmental Protective Agency leader Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks). Seeing how polluted Springfield is due to the lake and an incident involving a squirrel with multiple eyes, he orders the town sealed under a dome to prevent the decontamination of the Earth. Naturally, the town gets angered at the Simpsons and the family soon ends up escaping the dome and going on the run where crazy things happen with the dysfunctional family. While watching this film, it made me understood why the show was so special back in the 90s and is a shell of itself today. I think the big reason it works is the characters which I will talk about first since they were the ultimate highlight of the show, to begin with. This film proves why these characters are timeless and really have a lot of personality and humor behind them. Each one of these characters is expanded upon here in the film and they harken back to the loveable characters we knew from the 90s. Homer may not be the brightest person in the book, but here we see him realize how much his friends and family need him. He's the character that goes through the most change throughout the film for sure, but it's the other members of the family that have the real highlights. Marge is severely questioning her marriage with Homer in the film and wonders what she sees in him which really gives her a lot of depth. Lisa has some fun moments too where we see her attempt to keep the lake clean while exploring her relationship with a boy named Colin. It was a little cute. Though I really liked what they did with Bart's character here. We all know he's the troublemaker of the family, but here we see his soft side when he starts to wonder if Homer is really a good father to him as he sees more of a father figure with their next-door neighbor Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer). I loved this development with him as it establishes something with his character. He really isn't a bad child, he's the way he is because he's in a very toxic environment living with his very dysfunctional family. Also, Russ Cargill made for a fun villain and Albert Brooks turned in a hilarious performance. As far as the story goes, it's mostly strong. It does take a while for the plot to really get moving as a lot of gags mostly happen throughout the first act, but the jokes are indeed very hilarious and ultimately what makes this movie great in my eyes. It definitely keeps your attention and the jokes always top each other and sometimes come back later in the movie. I really loved the attention to detail with this writing. Also with the animation, it's very good as well and does improve upon the show in quality. While I do prefer the look and some of the designs of the characters from the 90s as they felt less polished and more natural, I didn't mind the smooth look of the characters and show in this film. I thought it worked well and I thought the use of computer animation blended nicely with the hand-drawn animation. It really did look good for what could be done for a theatrical movie based on "The Simpsons". As far as flaws go, there are two major ones I have. One is that I do wish I saw more of the side characters in this film. Each one of them was memorable and I do wish they got more than just one line or a cameo. Then again, that's what the show is for if you want to know more about their character. However, my biggest problem with the film is that it does at times feel like three episodes stitched together for a feature-length film. One of the biggest criticisms for an animated movie based on a show is that at times it can feel more like an extended episode more than a movie and unfortunately, this film comes off like three special episodes tied together to make it feature-length. While watching the film, I could imagine where it would fade to black and commercials would start and even where episodes end. I mean, there was a joke involving the "To Be Continued" cliffhanger ending which elaborates my point. Granted though, there's way too much good stuff for me to overlook that and even it was three episodes, it still would be three fantastic episodes. Overall, "The Simpsons Movie" is simply hilarious. The story while it does feel like three stitched together episodes is hilarious, the animation very good and an upgrade from the TV quality we're used to, and the characters every bit as memorable as they were when the show was in its heyday. This really is one of the best-animated movies based on a TV show and for good reason. I really highly recommend this film for anyone who loves "The Simpsons" though I do think for those not familiar with the show to watch a handful of episodes before watching the movie. If you have though, then this is a great film to watch for a laugh. There's a lot of laughs to be found here.
top of page
bottom of page