Director: David Silverman
Voices of: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille
When I first heard about the Simpsons movie I had serious doubts about how good it could be in comparison to the TV series. The Simpsons is one of those shows that has such a good formula on the little screen but could easily fall apart on the big screen and not work nearly as well. However, with the final release of the movie (production began way back in 2001 and the script was apparently re-written over a hundred times), Matt Groening and the rest of the Simpsons crew have laid the doubts of myself, and probably many others, to rest.
That the plot has been so carefully guarded is one of the greatest achievements of those involved with the film. It has no direct relationship with the TV show which ensures two things: the movie can be watched without a deep knowledge of the show and allows the regular episodes to remain independent from the film. As is the case with the TV episodes, Homer has his continual stuff-ups and, much like the TV show, the movie centres around these. The real benefit of the movie, however, is that the increased time means much more detail can be added to the plot and this results in one of the best Simpsons stories ever.
Much of the success of the movie relies on the reversal of comedy. The TV show often relies on heavily-repeated and similar types of gags. The movie manages to reverse this comedy to bring forth a fresh brand of hilarity. For instance, there is a scene where Homer is getting set up to hurt himself and the producers pull the audience along by setting them up for the stock standard laugh that we have all come to expect from similar scenarios. Yet, at the last second, just as he is about to hurt himself, the comedy is reversed and a completely different accident happens.
The graphics are also a lot better than anything you would see on the small screen. That said, however, I am not actually convinced that they help the movie or just distract your mind from the main details of it. The end result is visually pleasing but it makes the movie just that little bit less like the TV show, which is not necessarily a good thing.
Overall, the extremely eagerly-anticipated Simpsons Movie is a very good watch and just about manages to live up to the hype. Anyone who likes a decent laugh (don’t we all?) should fork out the cash and go and see it. Of course, some of the hardcore fans (otherwise known as Simpsons geeks) are going to find many issues with it, but for the general viewer it is the best animated film that has popped up in quite a while.