Saturday, July 28, 2007
D'ohn't believe the hype
IT'S NOT A DISAPPOINTMENT!
Yes, the film 18 years in the making (except not really 18 years in the making) has arrived, and it's quite good.
I remember the makers of the show (or one of them, anyway) saying that if they made a film, it would have to end the entire series, and bring closure to all of the characters and threads. That guy got fired or something, as this definitely isn't what they've done here. A lot of the minor characters are ignored or only given a few lines, and very few reach the conclusions that they've been trying for through the years. The reason for this, really, is that there are just too many characters. Putting them all into a film makes you realise just how big The Simpsons is. At one point, the camera shoots forward through a massive torch-bearing crowd, and you realise that you can name almost every character seen in the shot; that's a testament to the show's power.
The film is essentially a very long episode, albeit with grander ambitions and more nuanced character arcs. I might normally respond negatively to this kind of thing (like with the Family Guy "movie"), but it really worked here. It deflates a lot of the hype surrounding the film, which is a good thing, as it just reminds you why The Simpsons is so good: the brilliant writing. There are very few fancy animation tricks, and a low celebrity cameo count; the writers have been wise to stick to a formula that has given them an unequalled amount of success. It makes you glad they've waited so long to make a film; this only works because we know the characters inside out.
Above all else, this film is funny. Very funny. Like, classic Simpsons funny. There's broad social satire, OTT slapstick and a soon-to-be-classic nude skateboarding scene. Yes, some of the jokes don't quite hit, and some are stolen from previous episodes or even other films, but the humour ultimately undermines any sentimentality or plot. A sequel will very likely be on the way, hopefully with Mr. Burns as the antagonist this time. Come on. Look at him. Please?
So, the biggest TV show ever and definitely not the biggest film ever. Because, really, it would just be too long a film.
Also, giving Homer a pig was a stroke of genius. Whoever thought of that should get knighted.