After 400 episodes and 18 seasons of television, creator Matt Groening’s popular show gets the big screen treatment in the amusing film, “The Simpson’s Movie.” The film takes a while to get going, but scores big laughs once it warms up.
Since its television debut, The Simpsons have always been about the ability for the animators to poke fun of themselves and society in the process. Beginning with a hilarious opening scene that finds Homer asking the audience the magic question, “Why pay for something we can get for free?”
Groening creates a tale of the possible annihilation of his beloved Springfield while comically exploring a plethora of themes as diverse as global warning, water pollution and intrusive government surveillance in the process. With a lot of story and characters, Groening wastes no time getting the comedic party started.
The story opens with the fashionably late Simpson family arriving for Sunday worship. Moments later, Grandpa Simpson inexplicably suffers a seizure. Uttering some cryptic warnings about impending doom, Marge senses that something terrible is about to happen. Boy is she right when the badly polluted river gives an unwelcome surprise with catastrophic consequences for the town of Springfield. To prevent the spread of pollution, one of the President’s advisors comes up with a daring plan to place a bubble over the entire town, closing in Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie in the process. Magically, our favorite family finds a way out and must fight the authorities and themselves to band together to save the town.
Groening pulls out all stops with a story featuring a pet pig, a nude animated character and a young romance. With a whirlwind of action, he makes sure to keep the action focused on the Simpson family, who wreak enough havoc for ten films.
Several years ago, another popular animated series, South Park, made its big-screen debut with the profane and over-the-top funny film, “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.” While not quite as humorous as that film, “The Simpsons Movie” will easily appeal to fans of the television show, while providing a enough laughs for the newly initiated. With many sections devoid of action, the film’s comedy comes in small, focused bursts.
The much-maligned Homer, who has always been self-centered in the series, really shows his true colors in the story, going from the film’s goat to its savior. His family may not be the perfect family, but it sure is the perfect one for him.
Their dysfunctional tale is enjoyable, but for my money, it would have been better served in its current home: Sunday night on FOX.