from Pantperthog to Knockando

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Simpsons movie

The big-screen debut of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, starts with Homer objecting to pay good money to see a film version of a cartoon (Itchy and Scratchy in their case). Homer ‘stands up’ in front of you, turns to face the paying public and calls them suckers. It’s an attempt at irony which falls flat because after watching this you begin to suspect Matt Groening and his compatriots really do consider their fans to be suckers.

The main problem with the movie is that it feels like an overly long TV episode, admittedly with a few bits that might be considered ‘too hot for TV’ (Bart’s naked skateboard ride for example). But this isn’t one of the TV shows from the earlier (good) years of The Simpsons. Yes the jokes are funny, but they’re spread thinly. Most of the minor characters just pop up to say their catchphrases and that’s it. The best laugh is right at the end when Mr Burns tells Smithers that he doesn’t approve of suicide, but he might cheer up watching Smithers attempt it.

Overall, the film's themes have been done before by the Simpsons writers, and done to death at that. The script revolves around toxic waste and pollution, a storyline featured in at least one episode per season. Government intervention is lampooned, but the only new satirical angle is the monitoring of private conversations under the new anti-terrorism laws – a reference which is comical, but parochial. Nobody laughed in our cinema when the scene played out, although it might have killed in America.

And many of the sub-plots were left unresolved. Bart develops a pseudo-parental relationship with Ned Flanders, which you’d expect to end in humiliating rejection for Ned and all his barmy Christian ways. But that never comes. And perhaps that’s what missing from the whole film. The original Simpsons got away with being cruel and made you wince at its satire sometimes. This movie is soft in comparison, and suffers as a result.

Jongudmund’s rating: Not bad, but if you miss it your life won’t be any poorer. 6/10.

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At 14/8/07 16:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i didn't think it was too bad!
but i agree with yr comments on the whole.
i was surprised that Ned got off so lightly... perhaps the script writers have all been saved recently!

At 14/8/07 16:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, that last comment was from me, annie!


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