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Film Review: The Simpsons Movie
In 2007, David Silverman released The Simpsons Movie, based off the long-running television series The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening. Starring Dan Castellaneta, Julie Knaver, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNellie, Albert Brooks, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt, Joe Mantegna, and Tom Hanks, the film grossed $527 million at the box office. Breaking the record for the third highest grossing opening weekend for an animated film, it had the highest grossing opening weekend for a non-CG animated film as well as for a film based on a television series. The film also won the awards for Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards, Best Animation at the ITV National Movie Awards and Best Movie at the UK Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards.
Homer’s an idiot (what else is new). However, it finally comes back to bite him when he becomes responsible for nearly destroying the town of Springfield, which has been imprisoned in a glass dome after the pollution in its lake garners national attention.
A long awaited film that was stuck in development hell since 1992, The Simpsons Movie took that time to become a well-made and fun movie.
As with the show it takes its name from, the film dishes out a lot of humor, from the cameo by Tom Hanks, where he states the government has no credibility and needs to borrow his, to Homer’s weak attempts to actually act like a caring father being derailed simply because he sees a pig wearing a hat. Actually, some humor came even before the film was released with trailers that pulled funny bait and switches. One pretended it was a trailer for Superman Returns, which was revealed to be Homer wearing a Superman shirt and another pretended to be Spiderman before Spider-Pig was shown. But within the film, the humor is constant and there’s plenty of it stemming from the idiocy of Springfield’s residents. Take Chief Wiggum, who may be an even bigger moron than Homer in the fact that he’s using his revolver to stack donuts and is unfazed when he almost shoots himself or believes a mobster’s claim that the rug is full of yard trimmings, even when feet are sticking out. Yet, Homer’s stupidity still needs a mention for humor as the entire plot is kicked off because of the aforementioned pig. He also passes up a jetpack for using superglue to climb up the dome. There’s also the many potshots it dishes out in true nature of the series as well, taking digs at Disney, Grand Theft Auto, oil drilling companies and even the audience as Homer breaks the fourth wall by calling them idiots for paying to watch something they could see at home.
And since the show has been running for so long, there were some really good callbacks to its many episodes throughout the movie, such as the crashed ambulance still near Springfield Gorge or Moe calling Marge, Midge, which he’s done numerous times. . In another scene, Bart says that Homer’s butt can shield everyone from the nuclear explosion, referencing the fact that it did save them from toxic gas in one episode. There’s also the beginning of the film where Homer calls the churchgoers pious morons for believing in a phony God, which calls back to how he accidentally proved that God didn’t exist in another episode when trying to work on a flat tax proposal. Further, his epiphany even begins like every episode of the show does: with a couch gag.
But the most interesting thing about the film is its deconstruction of what makes The Simpsons the television series that it is. While in the show, Homer’s idiotic and selfish behavior doesn’t have lasting effects and the status quo remains the same as the show carries on from episode to episode. Here, on the other hand, it actually causes problems for his family for the first time. Due to Homer’s lack of care and neglecting of his son, Bart begins to despise him in an even greater way than he already did and seeks a father figure in Ned Flanders. What’s more is that Marge eventually leaves him, making it so that he needs the epiphany to realize that he needs to change his ways.
There’s also a bit of a deconstruction when it comes to Springfield’s pollution problem. In the series, it’s played for laughs and we get the funny three-eyed fish. Here though, the country sees how dangerous it is and locks them away from the outside world, later deciding to destroy it in order to prevent the town from harming the planet.
It all makes for a great case to give the film five stars. Plus a recommendation.
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