Review: The Simpsons Movie (2007) ***

Image courtesy of Heather M. who now has her name in lights 
I can’t believe we’re paying to see something we could see on TV for free!

That’s a good point Homer has near the begining of the first feature length Simpsons movie. Is there any reason for this movie to exist when it’s still on TV with new episodes every week and in reruns every night? I still don’t really have answer to that question, but it turns out that the longest episode in Simpsons history has resulted in my shortest movie review ever.

What’s it about? Homer’s short-sightedness has disasterous consequences…again.

So, is it funny? Yes. Absolutely. I laughed quite a bit.

Unlike so many other TV adaptations, is this one true to the spirit of the show? Yes. For the most part. The PG-13 rating (see below) felt a little strange to me, but mostly this is just like an extended episode of the show.

Is my favorite character in it? Not if your favorite character is Gil the salesman or any of the characters voiced by the late, great Phil Hartman. Otherwise it seems like they crammed most of them in. Sometimes it felt like they tried a little too hard. The main characters all get a good workout, but most of the other characters pretty much come off as cameos designed to keep as many fans of the show as happy as possible.

What do I get from the big screen version I can’t get on TV? Here’s where the PG-13 rating comes in. You get to see Bart’s penis, Otto taking a bong toke and Marge saying “goddamn”. Other than that, it’s pretty much just like the show with better animation quality (but we’re not talking Pixar here). Also, watching the show with a large group of people is an experience I haven’t had since college when the show was required viewing and people would converge from all over campus to watch.

Is there a drawback to the extended length? There’s an economy and a focus to a 30 minute episode of the show that I really like and it sort of seems to be lacking here. It’s nice to spend more time with the main characters and to have a more fully developed plot, but there’s not the same urgency you get with the TV show.

Are there guest voices? Yes, one or two, but I’m not going to spoil them. The surprise and wondering if it’s really the person you think it is is half the fun…right?

I hear they go to Seattle. Does anyone sing the Monorail Song?  Sadly, no. That would’ve been awesome.

Should I go see it? If you like the show, yes. Go see it right now. I think you’ll like it. If you’ve never seen the show or don’t like the show, then you probably needn’t bother.

Is there going to be a concluding paragraph to this review? No. When I run out of things to say I’m just going to post the technical details like always and then move on.

The Simpsons Movie. USA 2007. Directed by David Silverman. Written by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean and many many others. Music by Hans Zimmer. Featuring the voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden and guests. 1 hour 26 minutes. MPAA rating: PG-13 for irreverent humor throughout. 3 stars (out of 5).

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