neoyi: (Knight Baby)
[personal profile] neoyi
I shame myself in never knowing the actual date when I became a Simpsons fan, of when I gazed upon those yellow skinned freaks for the first time. The furthest I can say is that I’ve been around since it got it’s own TV series way back yonder in 1989 (I regretted never to having stayed for the Tracey Ullman shorts, but that’s where DVDs come in handy). I was but a curious girl just recently turned five. Who knew that just 18 something seasons later, I’d still glue my eyeballs to the screen every Sunday night waiting with baited breath on the latest Simpsons adventure, now at the tender age of 21.

I, alongside many, can vouch and say the newer seasons have lost the light that have made Simpsons special, perhaps the tedious of holding 18 seasons, cynicism, and an expectation for something greater, or that the show can no longer shock or reach the emotional depths it once held (I notice from rewatching Simpsons DVDs of the older seasons just how clever their humor was). Anything after Season 8 (perhaps 9-10 even) didn’t waver much for this ol’ Simpsons fan; yet I still find myself religiously watching ever single one of the currently 400 (and that’s not a typo) episodes aired. Is it due to nostalgic or faithful fandom? Maybe both, but it still stands, good or bad, The Simpsons hasve taken America by storm since it’s incarnation that even people living under a rock will instantly recognize the five families that make up the show (and the thousands of guest stars and secondary characters). It’s signified a cultural phenomenon that still hasn’t died (the line in my movie theater was freakishly long for example) and when it ends, it will truly be the end of an era.

Out of all the cartoons or pop cultural media I’ve ever been exposed to, nothing has ever topped The Simpsons. The cast and crew who makes the show deserves every one of my applause--especially Matt Groening who took a 15 minute rough sketch of the Simpsons family he drew on a napkin to Tracey Ullman and made history. Groening, you’re one of a kind. Now that I’ve preached the hell out of ya, I expect my money in my mail…oh, and this SPOILERIFFIC review:

After a short Itchy and Scratchy cartoon (which surprisingly isn't as violent as it's TV counterpart--especially considering the PG-13 rating of this film), the entire plot advances due to--once again--Homer’s irregular action that starts when he adopts a pig (who’s role quickly deteriorates over the course of the movie). After Lisa’s campaign to clean up Lake Springfield turns successful, Homer dumps the watery goods with a silo filled with pig crap in a hurry to get donuts from a now closed donut shop in time. Instantly the lake turns incriminatingly polluted (Good Lord, Homer, what the hell did you feed that pig?), leading head EPA man Russ Cargill to ask President Schwarzenegger (basically a darker colored hair Rainier Wolfcastle in appearance--I don’t get why they couldn’t use him instead--joke or not) to pick one of five options to utilize on Springfield (the prez picks a random number without reading, “I was elected to lead, not to read!”), eventually placing a giant dome over Springfield, dooming it’s citizens. The Springfielders eventually find out Homer was the cause and thus an unruly mob of practically EVERY. SINGLE. SIMPSONS character goes apeshit on them, forcing the family to flee to Alaska upon Homer’s suggestion (after Marge reluctantly agrees). It is only through corruption does Russ up the ante and plans to blow up the town of Springfield, forcing Marge and families to return in order to save it…with or without Homer who selfishly wishes to stay in Alaska.

The thing about this movie is that it’s an exceptionally big plot that no other future Simpsons episodes can possibly ever top. A dome over Springfield, then later annihilation is already something to wet your whistle, but the writers luckily remembered to make the characters 3-Dimensional by giving the Simpson family their own subplots. While Homer (and Marge) generally manipulate around the main plot, Bart struggles with Homer’s inept ability to be a father and eventually falls into Ned Flander's hands (whom, by the way have become more tolerable then the strict bible thumper recent seasons have portrayed him to be--seeing him advise Bart to spend his last minute with his father was especially touching) while Lisa (whom didn’t patronize with her forceful views and even reformed back to her earlier seasons personality I missed SO much--her punching Bart made me cry out a “YEAH! ”) develops a crush on a new boy named Colin, the only subplot that isn’t handled as well due to the lack of time we really see of it, feeling forced (Bart’s flows a lot better). And of course, I give kudos that certain elements of the film manage to work itself into the plot (the motorcycle, the sinkhole, the wedding video, etc).

Naturally, we see plenty of other Simpsons characters mucking up the screen with their own antics--everything from Burns releasing the hounds, Comic Book Guy declaring his geeky lifestyle in triumph in the face of Armageddon, Martin prince FINALLY beating up Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney (and how!), Milhouse terrible woos towards Lisa, and then some--each character brimming with their own personality, however big or little they show on screen (but no Sideshow Bob? Blasphemy!), though outside of their personalities, they don’t really do much with the movie then interact with whatever the plot is up to during that plot. The new characters Russ Cargill is a delight, absolutely one of the funniest characters of the show, with his fast-paced humor and throwback to the satirization of the US Government, but the Inuit Alaskan lady, despite moving Homer’s character was a pointless addition.

If you’re also one of those people who expect writings in the veins of the earlier seasons, keep driving, you are not getting them here. When you see it, I’d wager it’s still like the latter and unless you so thoroughly hate it enough to poke yourself with a steel rod, you’ll love the gags which are frequent and plenty. The movie doesn’t go less then five minutes without a new gag. Some made me laugh more then others, but the point is I laughed: Ironic wordings, Homer's poorly spelled “Sop” sign, the FOX advertising, Green Day’s hilarious rendition of the Simpsons theme song and their demise at the beginning, the opening and ending credits (stay till the end, by the way, the Gracie Logo even creeps in there), the frequent signs on the backgrounds, Bart’s wang, Homer giving the fingers (yes, I’m serious), Homer's jak at us--the theater audience at the beginning, and SO much more that I can’t even name here without wasting even more space then is needed. The point is, it’s funny.

So funny that there aren’t that many heartfelt moments, but when the time comes to showcase it, they do it well and nothing says it better then Marge Simpson. Typically, the movie does another marital issue between the Simpson couple, but of the many episodes that had Marge nearly breaking up with Homer, nothing--NOTHING made me cringe (the good kind) and felt a lump in my throat then this. Marge’s tear jerking video to Homer was absolutely perfect. Her confessing her feelings so greatly that she would willingly tape over their wedding tape to speak to her heart made it even better through Julie Kavner’s voice which takes a completely different feel during that scene, but I heard she herself was choking up when she said this…and that makes it even better. I literally got goosebumps when “{They Long to be) Close to You” started playing as Homer and Marge dance during their wedding day. For all the gags you’ll see, this one still had me clutching my heart, it’s beautiful and probably the best convincing martial issue Homer and Marge has ever showed.

And obviously, I couldn’t go anywhere without explaining the animation which is absolutely gorgeous. They’re so ridiculously smooth and so well lined, with beautiful shadows and lightings, and certain scenes where the backgrounds are breathtaking, not to mention that one scene with the unruly mob is a gem it itself (though you can obviously see the computer effects went into it). Even the 2.5D-ish animations are done beautifully and mostly fits with the entire movie in whole. It’s the best Simpsons animation we’ll be getting in the longest time and I give kudos to each of the animators and overworked Koreans overseas for putting forth the effort.

I’m not gonna even bother emphasizing the voice actors because we all know how well done it is. It still amazes me that technically we only get six actors who literally play thousands of characters and they again manage to shine here. Music wise, it’s dramatic when it needs to be dramatic, sad when it needs to be sad, and doesn’t feel out of place in the Simpson world, but it’s nothing I harpooned over. This might be one of those times I might have to repeat view.

So cynical Simpsons fans, I urge you to drop whatever it is you’re doing and march your way to the theaters and give it a go. It’s better then one expected. It’s not perfect, but it’s wonderful viewing. It’s the best Simpsons to come in a long time and I doubt any of the latter Simpsons episodes can top it (which I admit, will be a sore disappointment).
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