The Simpsons Movie

I have to admit that I stopped watching the Simpsons after about three or four years. I’m not sure that I can articulate why other than to say that while it wasn’t getting worse; it wasn’t getting any better either. I felt they had thoroughly explored the premise. Well, I guess I was wrong. Or maybe the producers of the show have been adept and passionate enough to keep the show fresh and interesting for eighteen years despite running over the same ground. I don’t know; I haven’t been watching.

There’s been talk of a Simpsons movie for about five years. Just news, mind you–not much speculation. Everyone assumed it would be good. Consequently there was very little fanboy hand wringing.

The producers of the show have proven once again that they know what they’re doing. The Simpsons Movie is the funniest movie of the summer and one of the most exciting.

The set up is the same as the majority of the television episodes: Homer (Dan Castellaneta) screws up and causes Springfield to be encased in a giant glass dome. The residents turn on him and the family has to flee. They go to Alaska but then return when they discover that the government is going to destroy their hometown. Homer doesn’t want to go so Marge (Julie Kavner) takes the kids and leaves. Homer changes his mind after an Inuit shaman takes him into her sweat lodge and sends him on a vision quest. Even the Spirits get irritated with Homer’s stubborn denseness but eventually they teach him that it’s not all about himself. He goes home, saves his family, his town and the day. No doubt his new found knowledge of selflessness will be forgotten by the first episode of next season.

The Simpsons have always spiced up their dysfunctional family sitcom with smart satire and clever use of the animated medium. In the Simpsons Movie they’ve amped up all those things and used the epic proportions of the big screen to their advantage. The plot is more broad and sweeping than a half hour episode. And yet it fits well into the show’s formula. The producers walk this line expertly.

I doubt that I’ll ever watch the show again, but I’m glad I saw the movie.

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