The Simpsons Movie (8/11/12)

The Simpsons MovieMovie One Hundred Eighty Seven

The Simpsons Movie takes the long-running television series to the big screen for the first time.

The opening scene has the band Green Day performing on Lake Springfield when the pollution eats away at their floating stage. During a memorial church service, Grandpa Simpson has a vision of the town’s demise. Homer Simpson gets a pet pig and dumps a silo full of its feces into the lake, causing the EPA, led by a crazed man named Cargill, to put a dome over the entire town of Springfield. When the town finds out that Homer is to blame for this mess, the Simpson family escapes the dome and travels to Alaska. Back at home, the residents of Springfield begin to destroy the dome and Homer has a vision that he must save the town before Cargill destroys it.

After nearly 20 years on the air (now up to their 24th season), The Simpsons has been the animated comedy show to topple and it has had stiff competition over the years. I have been a fan of the show since the beginning and, for me, comedic television doesn’t get much better than the 4th and 5th seasons of The Simpsons. The show had been in decline for years before The Simpsons Movie came out and I was cautiously optimistic at the time of its release that it would revive The Simpsons and bring them back into my life. Luckily, The Simpsons Movie is largely a success in restoring The Simpsons brand.

My usual complaint with TV shows billed as full-length movies is that they are usually just a three part episode of the show with no commercial breaks. The Simpsons Movie feels like one single thought instead of one thought chopped into three ~22 minute segments, like it was truly written as a movie first. The runtime is under 90 minutes and the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome but the pacing isn’t frantic either. As with all comedies, the humor is subjective, but if you’ve ever seen an episode of The Simpsons, you know what you’re in for here. The laughs keep coming even if you aren’t a die-hard fan of the show.

The production values for The Simpsons Movie are pretty amazing, the animation itself in particular. It’s weird to think that just a few years ago all animation was actually done cel by cel by hand, but now it’s all accomplished digitally. The Simpson family and Springfield has never looked better, and the blu-ray is actually spectacularly done.

While The Simpsons Movie didn’t herald in a complete resurgence of The Simpsons I remember, it did bring the franchise back above water. When the show’s run finally comes to a close it will be strange, but in addition to the mountain of DVDs I have of the series, I will still have The Simpsons Movie too.

I give it 4 Spider-Pigs out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


39 responses to “The Simpsons Movie (8/11/12)

  1. I’m such a huge fan of the Simpsons. Always have been since it started. I’ve watched almost all the episodes except some of the most recent stuff. Season 3-8 have some of the funniest moments ever in my opinion. The movie was good, not great, but definitely felt more like the Simpsons of old rather than of the past 5 years.

        • Oh shit.
          I could literally spend hours contemplating this.
          If I limit myself ONLY to s4 and s5…in order of appearance

          Marge Vs. the Monorail
          I Love Lisa
          Homer Goes to College
          Homer Loves Flanders

          • If I limit to season 4 + 5 mine are:
            Boy Scoutz in the Hood- ‘You’ve earned the rank of Pussy Willow!’
            Homer goes to College – ‘You must find the Jade monkey before the next full moon’
            $pringfield – ‘The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother. I call him Gamblor’
            Last Exit to Springfield – ‘it was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times!’
            A Streetcar named Marge – ‘Play loved by ALL!’

  2. where’s the love button on this thing? I too have been watching since the very, very beginning. I don’t remember when I stopped but I miss them. This movie was fantastic for me.

  3. The Simpsons is my favorite TV show of all time, and nothing will ever change that. I liked The Simpsons Movie, which is the strongest thing the show has produced in years. I wouldn’t say it represents the best of the show (South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut is probably the only movie that actually matches the source material), but it is still very funny. Nice review.

  4. I’ll have to agree that the movie does move at a slower pace than the show, but the slower pace lends well to a feature length film. The movie isn’t better than the best episodes, but it was beautifully done and certainly a proud addition to the Simspons franchise. I’m really glad they made it.

    • Not as good as the best of the series, but definitely the best material from the past 5+ seasons (at the time of its release). I’m glad they made it too and if I’m not mistaken, they have one more film in their contracts…

  5. Loved that you mention it didn’t feel like separate episodes strung together, but one long continuous thought. I completely agree.

    As a lifelong fan of The Simpsons, this met every expectation I had of the long awaited film. I thought it was brilliant. Needless to say I considered it the best animated film of the year. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t even nominated at the Oscars. Oh but Surf’s Up was. (!) One of the biggest omissions ever IMO.

  6. As a casual fan of the show, I did enjoy the movie. But my friends who were more into the show were disappointed by it. They say it could’ve been so much more penetrating, but the gags here really worked for me.

    What season is it when the drawings looked REALLY weird/kinda freaky? Season 1?

    • The show, around the time of the film’s release, was really middling in quality and the movie was taut and you could tell they really brought their best out for it. It definitely passed my expectations.
      In season 1 the animation is incredibly crude. Before that, The Simpsons were part of Tracy Ullman’s sketch comedy show and the drawings were REALLY crude and the characters did look pretty different.

  7. I just watched “The Simpsons Movie” again the other night. The writers and animators really went all out with it, making it an event rather than, as you said, several episodes strung together. The intent wasn’t to mix the movie in with episodes in syndication, but rather to have this as a stand-alone piece of entertainment–and it succeeds.

  8. Now if they would actually release more than one season on DVD/Blu-Ray per year. At this rate, it’ll be 2030 before all the seasons are released. And yes, I do own all 15 currently released seasons. Huge fan of the Simpsons.

  9. I dunno… I enjoyed the movie somewhat, but quite frankly the only thing I remember from it is the Spider Pig song. While it didn’t feel like 3 episodes stitched together, it did also feel like an extended episode, as opposed to a proper movie.

      • I can’t remember who wrote the Simpsons movie. Sometimes, you gotta take a step back and maybe get someone who hasn’t worked extensively on the TV shows to write the movie, or at least come up with the basic structure for the film so that it would better distinguish itself from the familiar beats of the TV show.

        • Excellent point – I think the writers of the show were the writers for the movie. It would have been amazing if they brought Conan O’Brien or Brad Bird back on the team for the movie, even. A fresh face that used to work on the show is still a fresh face.

  10. Solid review, Andy. Like you, I kind of grew tired of the Simpsons after a while, but The Simpsons Movie was a throwback to the peak of the series. It was an awful lot of fun to watch, and like you said, it feels like a movie rather than a three-part episode.

    Though I am still a bit annoyed that the premiere wasn’t held in Springfield, Oregon. Seriously, what the hell, Fox?

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  13. i saw this movie on a flight from philadelphia to paris. it was about 2 in the morning, i couldn’t sleep, and i was laughing like a fool and keeping people awake. i cared very little. the opening skateboard scene killed me, but it set the bar too high for the rest of the movie. still, it was very good, and i’m still suspicious that stephen king ripped off the premise for one of his books.

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