Is Inside All of Us: The Simpsons Movie
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Tom Hanks
Breanne Boland August 8, 2007 Issue
It’s pretty well
known that the golden age of The Simpsons passed several years
ago. The quotes people throw out, the terms and ideas that have
made it into public language, they all come from the earlier years
of the show. I wondered why they decided to make a movie now,
when the current state of the show suggests that the script would
be blown away by even the most frequently viewed rerun.
It turns out that it’s
because they actually got it together and made a movie worth watching.
Episodes of the show in recent times have been exercises in randomness,
with beginnings and endings scarcely connected and lines that
sound clever, have the basic elements of clever, but which don’t
quite work. The film isn’t innocent of this kind of comedic
transgression, but overall, it’s as good as some of the
making fun of the audience for plunking down $10 for what’s
normally free, the film version really does expand for its new
medium, with bigger, more complicated animated sequences and the
occasional bit of well-placed ribald humor. It’s still appropriate
for the same audience the show has, but it earns its PG-13, generally
in hilarious ways.
In its freewheeling
87 minutes, the film covers environmentalism, politics, father-son
love, and marital dysfunction. Lake Springfield is so polluted
it’s beginning to dissolve things, like barges and rock
bands, so the town bands together to clean it up. They’re
successful until Homer dumps his pet pig’s poo silo into
the water. The resulting toxic muck is so dangerous the government
puts an impenetrable plastic bubble over Springfield. When the
reason for their isolation is traced to Homer, Springfield’s
residents chase the Simpsons out. Taking refuge in the beautiful
foreign country of Alaska, they begin to create a new life. However,
once they learn of a plan to wipe Springfield off the map for
good, they return to try to save the people who chased them out
When a TV show makes
such a big transition in medium, especially a show as well established
as this one, it could go wrong in a number of ways. Familiar patterns
and characterizations can seem off-key, or the extended length
can make what’s normally funny and brisk seem tortured and
stretched. Instead, this film feels fresh and makes even the existing
episodes seem better — you walk out thinking, “And
I can watch that every day!” The script walks a fine line
between story and irreverence, calling attention to the fact it’s
a movie without being excessively precious or self-referential.
Perhaps it’s shouldn’t be surprising, as this movie
has been in the works for more than a decade, but it’s still
remarkable how effortless it all feels. Like its TV counterpart,
it’s funnier than most of what’s around it. Let’s
hope that Maggie’s announcement over the end credits comes
Bottom line: Best.
Stardust - A fantastical story based on Neil Gaiman’s novel.
A boy sets off into the magical wilderness to find a fallen star
to win the heart of the girl he loves. Little does he know that
the star is actually a woman with a distinctly different agenda.
Rush Hour 3 - “Do
you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
More fun with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
Superbad - Two geeky high school boys resolve to have the best
night ever before they graduate. From the makers of Knocked Up,
here unrestrained by sensitive subject matter, so expect it to
be even grosser and even more awesome.
The Invasion - A preview
of a Nicole Kidman-Daniel Craig pairing before The Golden Compass
comes out this winter. This loose reinterpretation of Invasion
of the Body Snatchers has Kidman discovering that her son may
be what’s needed to stop the alien invasion.
from Breanne Boland
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