So I went to the theater to watch The Simpsons Movie. Given the decline the show has suffered in its later seasons, my expectations weren’t very high: I wasn’t expecting writing in the level of “Lisa’s Substitute”, or humor as wild as “Cape Feare.” But you know what? It didn’t matter. This is a truly enjoyable, funny, and well-written little film. Any money you spend on it is worth every penny.
The movie begins with a direct jab at the audience, followed by a unique opening sequence, showcasing several minor characters doing “their usual stuff”, alongside Green Day’s great remix of the Danny Elfman theme. This shows that, despite its being a special production, it’s really just another day in Springfield. That may lead a lot of people to think it nothing but an episode stretched out to ninety minutes, and, technically, that’s just what it is. But it’s a good episode stretched out to ninety minutes.
The writing may feature your typical “save the world” plot, but everything is executed nicely. Each of the family members has their own ongoing plots, and they all fit each other perfectly. Only the romantic portion of Lisa’s subplot feels forced, but it does lead to one of the funniest parts in the film, so it certainly makes up for it. Nearly every gag is timed and executed perfectly, and you get at least one gag for every scene. It’s a movie where the audience will not stop laughing.
Nearly every minor character gets a moment in the spotlight, which is a hard thing to pull off with such a large cast and short running time. But some of them, like Moe, Cletus, and Professor Frink, truly steal the movie when they show up, and everyone else ranges from decent to good. Special mention has to go to the character of Russ Cargill, who is probably among my Top 10 one-time characters on the series. Every scene he’s in is absolutely brilliant, and everything he says is incredibly hilarious.
The crew also has taken advantage of the theatrical budget, with animation that improves noticeably over that featured in the television series. The character movements are so fluid you can almost feel them, and there are plenty (though not lots) of breathtaking special effects.
So yes, go see it. Even if you don’t like the show anymore, this movie is an enjoyable experience that certainly won’t disappoint.
Oh, and stay until the credits are over. The Gracie Films logo never felt more appropriate.