Directed by: David Silverman
Premise: A feature length adaptation of the animated television series. Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta) creates a natural disaster in Lake Springfield and the EPA responds by dropping a huge dome over the town, isolating it from the rest of the world. The people of Springfield turn on the Simpson family and it is up to Homer to take responsibility for his actions and save the city.
What Works: The Simpsons Movie is an exceptional comedy. As an animated film adapted from a television show, the picture realizes one of its inherent dilemmas: it is required by necessity to take The Simpsons to a bigger level but it also has to keep the story and the characters recognizably close to the look, style, and humor of the television series. The filmmakers have successfully walked this line and delivered a film that is recognizable as The Simpsons but has more impressive animation than the television show and includes a story and comedic elements that fit the feature length presentation. The Simpsons Movie pushes boundaries that the television program never could, including satire of racial and religious issues, spoofs on other animated films, and sexual innuendo that is still PG-13 but beyond the limits of network television. The result is a film that is literally funny from beginning to end. The film bombards the viewer with joke after joke, either in Homer’s idiotic reasoning, a background gag, or a self conscious bit of satire, and often times these elements work in tandem to create scenes that are very rich with fun. One of the more admirable qualities about The Simpsons television show, especially when it started in the late 1980s, is its ability to be subversive. In the years following, the subversive and boundary pushing qualities of the show were diminished by familiarity and by more outrageous competition from shows like South Park and Family Guy. The Simpsons Movie is able to return to that initial daring and the film reminds audiences why this show has been as successful as it has.
What Doesn’t: The film does not use many of the supporting characters of the Simpsons universe and instead crams nearly every possible character into the background of the film or includes them in a brief walk-on. While it is nice to see to see that the film stays with the Simpson family and uses them to create a solid storyline, enthusiasts of the show might be disappointed that the rich universe of the show has largely been ignored.
Bottom Line: After years of rumors, The Simpsons Movie finally delivers the goods both for hardcore fans of the series and for passive viewers, capitalizing on the best elements of the television show. Unlike many feature adaptations of television programs, this film is more than a longer version of the weekly episodes and it takes The Simpsons to a new level.
Episode: #150 (July 29, 2007)