29 July 2007 | Superunknovvn
There was a time when "The Simpsons" stood for the funniest, most original comedy on the planet. Somewhere around season 8 the show passed its prime, though, and since then it varies from good to okay and sometimes even insipid. I was hoping that for the movie the writers would really push themselves and come up with some really clever and new ideas one more time, but for all the years of developing that supposedly went into this, the movie seems like nothing more than an extended TV episode of latter day "Simpsons".
I have to admit that I'm not really convinced of the concept of putting an animated TV series on the big screen in the first place. Even the "South Park" movie that tried to incorporate theatrical elements such as the musical numbers didn't really justify the need for a cinematic adventure. Most animated comedy shows have a very fast paced humor with quick editing. This works for an episode of 25-30 minutes, but in a movie with 90 minutes running time it would become too exhausting for the audience. Therefore the whole thing has to be slowed down, which in return takes away a lot of the show's comedic appeal. It's a lose-lose situation as they say.
As a consequence "The Simpsons Movie" is unusually slow at times. At the same time the storyline is not really stretched to cinematic proportions. Epic as it may be, similar topics have already been dealt with in the TV show (and better). It's been said before and it's true: nothing here tries to push any boundaries and except for the length of the whole thing (and maybe some annoying people in the theater who watch the movie with you) you would never realize that this is a "Simpsons"-motion picture.
Other flaws include the fact that some inhabitants of Springfield have only very brief cameos (Mr. Burns!) and that some ideas have been used in a fairly similar way before. As entertaining as the movie still may be, it is also pretty predictable at times. This kind of "underachieving", as some critic called it, may have its own charm, but in the end one would have hoped for this to be a bit more special. The movie is by no means a catastrophe, but by "Simpsons"-standards it's just not good enough.
"The Simpsons" have become a brand. People know what to expect and therefore applaud even a relatively average movie like this one. To rely on that is a bit lazy, however, and one wishes that producers put an end to Homer's adventures as long as we can still remember him and the other beloved inhabitants of Springfield as characters that completely revolutionized comedy at one point and not as money making merchandising props.