Jul 27th 2007 By: Ian DeLaurentis
Do you remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer won't let Bart go see the Itchy & Scratchy movie? And in the end it's like the year 2032 and Bart is a member of the Supreme Court and he finally goes to see the movie with Homer? I felt a little bit like that when The Simpsons Movie started. I was thinking about how long I've waited to see this movie and now I'm old and while not a judge, certainly more respectable than when the show started.
I remember that episode because I've seen every single episode of The Simpsons ever made...and most of them I've seen numerous times. There are a lot of you out there who can make similar claims, and before you ask my favorite episodes are the one where Homer goes to work for Hank Scorpio and the one where the family goes to Itchy & Scratchy Land (where nothing can possib-lie go wrong). Every year the show has been on the air, people have been saying that it's not as good as the previous seasons. Even I'll admit that a couple years ago there were some real crap episodes - but - there have still been some quality ones as well if you've been paying attention. So before I get to the movie lets just say loud and clear that The Simpsons is an American pop culture institution, that it's one of the greatest TV shows ever, that the characters are some of the best ever and that for the most part it just rules.
But what about the movie? Did we really need a Simpsons movie at this point? Probably not, but I was hopeful that the change of medium would allow the creators to do interesting things that they couldn't do on TV. I hate to report that The Simpsons Movie is pretty much just one long, kinda boring episode. Nothing really happens over the course of the film that stands even close to the best moments of the show, or even the just good moments from the show. In fact, I had the nagging feeling I'd seen all of this before. Homer and Marge having marriage trouble? Seen it. Lisa crusading for the environment? Seen it. Bart taking to the ways of the Flanders' family? Seen it. Homer on a spiritual quest? Seen it done better in the episode with the chili pepper eating contest. Even the Itchy & Scratchy movie I mentioned at the top was sorta redone. There are so many nods to previous episodes, that I honestly wonder if they were there intentionally or if there are just sooooooo many plots to the show that it's become impossible to do anything original. Either way, what we end up with just isn't that fresh or exciting.
Another gripe I have with The Simpsons Movie is the lack of supporting cast. Yes, there are a TON of old characters running around. But they are only seen briefly and a lot of them don't say anything. Why would you squander the chance to use on of the greatest fictional supporting casts ever created? For that matter, why squander the opportunity to do something bigger, longer and uncut with the movie version of a beloved TV show?
At the end of the day, The Simpsons Movie doesn't suck. But it doesn't rule either. I tried to keep my hopes low, but there just wasn't much there. And I'm not looking at this like a superfan. I just wanted to be entertained and I was only amused. Coulda, woulda, shoulda...you'll see what I mean.