THE SIMPSONS MOVIE
C Tango Reports
It exists. To add some legitimacy to the following proceedings:
Since the FILM'S release, the collected network of hip-co-joined grandmothers that we call The Internet has been abuzz with the sound of angry nerds everywhere crying both "WOSRT EPISODE EVER!" and "STFU I LOVED IT!"
But how does this massive behemoth (I linked to that band because they sat next to me on an airplane a few weeks ago. The stewardess kept giggling at them and chatting them up.)...RESTARTING THIS SENTENCE DUE TO PARENTHETICAL SIDE-BUSTING.
The truth about The Simpson's movie: You will laugh. You will just not laugh non-stop. The problems with the movie aren't the movie's fault, but the state of The Simpsons overall. You feel like you are being told jokes about the characters, instead of their actions, dialogue, or circumstances being inherently funny, and too many moments of realization are either forced, or simply untrue to the characters.
This is because, as I've mentioned, the current State of The Simpsons is that the show itself is now an endless stream of gags, usually topical, but rarely forming into a coherent and compelling narrative arc. Even Family Guy generally has a more carefully structured plot, these days.
THE WAY THE SIMPSONS USED TO BE WHEN WE LOVED IT:
It's been swished around The Internet over and over, like the apple juice you're pretending to get drunk off of while pouring real drinks into some chubby girl so she'll have it off with you, but somewhere in the mid-90's, The Simpsons stopped having stories.
Originally, The Simpsons was a fairly standard family comedy/drama, with heavy and light moments, all laced with biting wit and social commentary, and heightened by the freedom and stylization of the animated medium. It was a platform to address issues, without LOOKING like it was addressing issues, and an all around send-up of American circumstance. Each episode was ABOUT SOMETHING, be it nuclear power, familial responsibility, pressure at school, juicing it up Bonds-style, or even the ever-applicable issue of cannibalism.
PROBLEMS WITH THE MOVIE:
The biggest problem with the movie is that The Simpsons is, and should stay, a TV show. Too much of the movie feels like gag-filled filler while the writers try to stretch their plot to the requisite feature-length. Unfortunately, these writers, while being some of the, historically, best of The Simpsons writers, are not accustomed to using these characters on such a broad canvas. In an attempt to remedy this, they've added a lot of computer graphics, explosions, and Alaskas. The sad truth, however, is that they've actually done more epic feeling stories ON THE SHOW, without all the showy camera moves. The end product feels bloated and awkward.
And then there's the characterization. As I've kind of already alluded to, in what will surely become another, powerhouse, run-on article, the characters are no longer being written from the standpoint of "what would this character do" but that of "what do we WANT this character to do". When Bart goes over to the Flanders side, it's not because Bart would actually get that fed up with Homer, but because it made a convenient, and distracting, plot point, at a time in the movie when they were still trying to find ways to justify all the things they wanted to happen later on. When Marge leaves Homer by taping over their wedding video, it's an obvious attempt to recreate the drama of earlier episodes, but it rings false.
BUT IS IT FUNNY?
Well, yes, it is. In the sequences where they are actually able to overcome the ADD they've developed in the last 10 years, the creators are able to hit a number of high notes. One of the most masterfully executed being an extended skateboarding sequence in which Bart, on a dare, rides through Springfield naked, with any number of strangely-plausible, yet still too-conveniently placed, items and characters blocking our full view of Bart's pen fifteen (write it out on your hand with a Sharpie to see what I mean, but don't write "fifteen," write the numbers. Giggle.), until a full reveal you knew in your heart of hearts that you always wanted to see. It got the biggest laugh in the theater I was in, and deservedly so. There's another hilarious moment with Cletus, later on, that stands as one of my favorite, but it'd take longer to explain than actually see.
SO SHOULD YOU SEE THE MOVIE: Does it matter what I say? The movies been out for weeks now. This review is hardly relevant. In fact, if you haven't seen it yet, you're pretty much a loser, and you probably considered that apple juice trick up there something actually worth trying out.
But do go see the movie. Despite it's flaws, it's funny ENOUGH. And expect the Spider-Pig thing to get a huge laugh, even though everyone in the audience has already seen it 60 times in the ads. Sociologists can figure that one out.