Torch Online Reviews: The Simpsons Movie

It’s been a long time coming – a very long time, actually. They started as simple concept drawings on a whim but quickly became one of the world’s favorite television families. Now with eighteen seasons under its belt, numerous video games, books, and other licensing paraphernalia, and-of course-thousands of annoyed grunts (but you’d probably know that phrase better as “D’oh!”), the Simpsons have finally made their way onto the big screen. And while it may help to know your Squeaky Voiced Teen from your Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons Movie is a very long episode that stands alone and definitely does not fail to deliver.

The storyline, as usual, centers its focus on Homer (Dan Castanella) and his stupidity. Green Day helps kick things off with a concert about the environment, the source of the problems. After Lisa (Yeardley Smith) helps the city realize they need to clean things up, the city decides to ban dumping in Lake Springfield. During this time, Homer falls in love with a pig, alienating Bart (Nancy Cartwright) to a degree. And when Homer has to dump the pig droppings, he rushes to dump the garbage in Lake Springfield after being told free donuts were being handed out.

The entire lake goes to hell, prompting the city to turn against Homer, and President Schwarzenneger to put a dome around Springfield. The Simpsons then run to Alaska only to realize they must save Springfield somehow.

The story is vaguely typical (Homer does something stupid, then has to fix it), but it still manages to be refreshing in a way-mostly because of the grander scale of the film. The series has suffered a humor decline in the past few years, but creator Matt Groening managed to get nearly all current and former writers on board for this (Conan O’Brien and Sam Simon were the only ones not included, but not through bad terms). That said, the film turns back to some of the old style humor and really turns it up to even better levels.

And because it is a film, it is able to get away with much more than they ever could on television. It is not in the overdone annoying way a certain “unnamed” animated show does things. Instead, the laughs are hearty because they are so unexpected. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the show, it will provide big laughs. There are some things, however, that will be funnier to the more die-hard of fans, simply because they carry on running jokes from throughout the series.

One thing that may irk some fans is the changing of Danny Elfman’s classic theme music. Interestingly enough, Hans Zimmer (whose previous work includes Batman Begins and the Pirates of the Caribbean series) took over the composer reigns for the film (Alf Clausen provides in-show music). The theme is the same, obviously, but is more orchestrated than in the show, until Green Day takes over with their rock version. The music is very suitable for the film, especially the music played during Bart’s nude spree through Springfield.

With so much pressure riding on the back of this film, it is great to see it delivers on almost every level. The show may not be as top notch as it was eight or nine years ago, but it still has a lot of energy left in it. No doubt, the film will help keep the series running for a while longer. So if you have been a Simpsons fan for a while, see it as soon as possible. If you are a casual fan or looking for a great comedy, see it as well. This and a few other films so far prove that it does not have to be a sequel to be great.