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The Simpsons Movie: Satisfying Enough

First and foremost, The Simpsons Movie is very funny. In many ways, it's a perfectly satisfying Simpsons adventure with plenty of gags to keep the laughs rolling on. Thus, as a major summer comedy, this movie is a success.

However, as a longtime fan of the TV show, I suppose I'd expected certain things that the movie did not ultimately deliver. Much of the enjoyment of this movie hinges upon surprise, so I won't reveal plot details or specific jokes here — though the great number of you who voted Lisa as your favorite Simpson will be very pleased: She has some of the greatest moments in the whole thing, in my opinion. The movie felt like a longer episode with a little more obscenity, but still basically an episode. To check out my thoughts on the good and the bad, as divided into "woo hoo!" and "d'oh!"

"Woo hoo!"
The cinematic aspect (bigger, grander, higher quality), for people who have been watching the show on their little TVs for 18 years, is genuinely thrilling. It seems obvious but it truly is the Simpsons, that beloved TV family, like you've never seen them before. Being in a packed theater is another thrill — though perhaps jarring at first. I'm used to chuckling alone or with a few people in the safety of my own living room. To be a part of a large crowd roaring with laughter is bizarre — and a lot of fun.

The filmmakers definitely took advantage of the fact that this is a PG-13 movie that people are paying to see. Or in other words, they can finally say and do things (profanity, nudity, stronger political satire) that you just know they've been chomping at the bit to do for many years. There's something exciting about seeing them break free a little, swearing and giving the middle finger (er, the middle of the characters' four fingers, anyway). You get the sense that this was a real relief for them, and so it is for the audience, too.

If nothing else, this is a super extended episode of "The Simpsons," so simply put, the more "Simpsons," the better.

For a show that so often veers into several random storylines, it actually feels like Groening and Friends played it safe with this movie, concentrating mostly on one big adventure for the Simpsons family. They had this whole entire movie to play with... but somehow it doesn't feel very playful.

Most of all, however, I wanted much more of Springfield and the Springfield residents I've grown to know so well over the years. I wanted more of the people — and places! — I love so much. Groundskeeper Willie gets basically no screen time, for example, and even Mr. Burns only has one short scene. In addition, there are no scenes inside the power plant at all, and even the Kwiki-Mart is nowhere to be found!

After all those promotional stunts (the Springfields of America competing for the chance to hold the premiere, the 7-11s turned into Kwiki-Marts, etc.), I definitely expected more specific Springfield jokes overall. Fans get into those stunts because we love Springfield and we want to be a part of that world. So it's strange that the movie actually takes us out of that world. And rather than seeing more of the characters we know and love, I think we actually see less of them.

In conclusion...
After waiting for 18 years to see this movie, it's probably going to be built up way too much as a matter of course. The fact remains that this was a wildly ambitious undertaking, and the result is a super fun movie-going experience.

Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Join The Conversation
mominator mominator 10 years
I can't stand the simpsons. I do not watch the cartoon and will not waste money on the movie either.
licia licia 10 years
I went to see it this past Saturday - I loved it of course but I felt like the commercial advertisements showed too much.. I felt like I had already watched all of the funny parts. It was fun (although kind of annoying) when everyone in the theater started singing the spider pig song along with Homer.
mrflibble mrflibble 10 years
But what happened to the pig?
mrflibble mrflibble 10 years
Just loved it!!
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
verily, I totally see your point about them going on an adventure — and I'm glad they did. I guess I just personally wanted to see more of my favorite characters as well — like Mr. Burns, for example, who I love. But it's all so subjective. If they'd focused more on Springfield they'd have satisfied me and frustrated other viewers who wanted to see a bigger adventure. :) It's hard to please everyone, I suppose. And I'm so jealous that you got to see this movie in the theater while drinking Duff beer and eating donuts!
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 10 years
I'm definetly going to see this- will be fun watchin it in a theatre!
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i'll watch this on video i think. like a lot of people i used to love this show but haven't really watched it much in the last 8 years maybe.
sofi sofi 10 years
still want to see it-soon! My hubby and I love to watch the show together and have seasons 1-9 on DVD. The jokes should be brilliant. If they didn't get to everyone in this film, they'll do it next time!
verily verily 10 years
I just got back from watching it. I enjoyed it immensely. It met my expectations (but maybe not the hype) and was filled with plenty of laughs. After 18 years, I don't think it needed to tour Springfield as BuzzSugar opines. Has Homer really spent more than 5 minutes in the power plant lately? The people who will watch this movie don't need an introduction to all the locals for the feelgood nostalgia factor. If they stayed in Springfield and milled around, it wouldn't have the epic movie feel to it. The Simpsons needed to get out and have a grand adventure (not that they haven't done this in normal episodes before...). I am fortunate to live in a city with a local theater chain that specializes in serving food and beer along with the movie. I'm full of Duff beer, ribwich, and donuts at the moment. :)
ailene ailene 10 years
I don't know if I want to see the movie just to find out THAT... lol! Thanks for the suggestion though... :)
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
You'll find out if you see the movie, ailene! :)
ailene ailene 10 years
Just curious, BuzzSugar... on a four-fingered toon, which finger IS the middle finger? :S
bre123 bre123 10 years
I'm SOOO going to see this movie. I've been looking forward to seeing it since forever.
ALSW ALSW 10 years
Still definitely want to see it. Maybe not this weekend, but soon!
pinkflats pinkflats 10 years
Great review Buzz, but I don't know if I can handle watching cartoons in theater. Unless of course if it's Spirited Away, Howl's Flying Castle OR any Studio Ghibli films I'm all for it. With that said I think I'll just wait for the DVD and catch some episodes on Sundays.
goofynewf goofynewf 10 years
Can't wait to see it.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Nice review (as always), Buzz! Looking forward to seeing this one!
alexrb alexrb 10 years
yes! thank u sooooooo much!!
gossipluver13 gossipluver13 10 years
i wanna see that movie soooo bad!
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
alexrb — In the movie the song that's playing is the Carpenters' "Close to You," ("Why do birds suddenly appear/ Every time you are near?") I believe. Is that what you were looking for?
alexrb alexrb 10 years
I need to know the wedding tape "song" of homer and marge, help me please
Home Home 10 years
I love that you divided this into "whoo-hoo" and "doh!" Anyway, this sounds kind of like what I expected, which means I still very much want to see it.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
I'll buy the DVD. There's gotta be good extras planned for it.
Mainly-Obsessed Mainly-Obsessed 10 years
The Simpsons have had a very long run. Even if this movie is not critically acclaimed, no one can say they haven't left their mark on the entertainment world. So bollocks to those who say they won't see it!
alexrb alexrb 10 years
Does anybody knows the title of the simpson's wedding song?
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