Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Springfield anymore…

chris_simp3.jpg Not sure about you, but I feel like I’ve been dodging spoilers all month. First there was Harry Potter, then The Simpsons MovieHP was easier as most people read it at once, so you just had to avoid anything online. The Simpsons has been harder. I meant to see it opening day but got sidetracked – and then of course everyone I know wanted to talk about it. Seriously, it was starting to feel like something from “The Charge of the Light Brigade”. Spoilers to right of me, spoilers to left of me, spoilers in front of me, volley’d and thunder’d…

Anyway, I finally managed to see it over the weekend. Really enjoyed it. I was a little dubious going in; I’ve been a fan of the series since it started (I’m getting old, lol) but I haven’t been watching it as much over the last few years. The stories have been more about putting The Simpsons into strange situations than having any real plot. The movie though is much more like what I remember; quirky, but more about the relationships between Homer and Marge, Homer as a father to Bart. It was nice seeing the writers get the formula right after such a long wait.

The thing which surprised me was the number of families seeing the movie. The cinema was about 3/4 full and a lot of them were fathers and sons seeing it together. I’d not really thought about it before but The Simpsons has been around long enough to transcend 3 generations; if you were 14 when it started, it’s possible that your parents liked it and now you could have a child yourself who’s grown up with the show. And everyone seemed to get something different from it; the kids found the gags funny, while the parents sympathized with Homer trying to do the right thing (and failing).

My favourite parts were Bart’s nude debut (I almost choked at Flanders’ “Thank you, Lord, for this bountiful… penis!”) and Cargill’s manipulation of President Schwarzenegger, but I really enjoyed the scenes with Bart and Homer as well. The writers walk a fine line with Homer; make him too stupid and he just seems retarded, but by exploring Homer through Bart, we see him differently – we see he’s not perfect, but he’s trying, and that’s really the heart of the story. I also thought Hans Zimmer did a good job with the music. He captured the spirit of the show very well, something I thought only Danny Elfman could do.

My only real criticism is the length; 87 minutes is okay, but they cut out material with characters like Sideshow Bob which could have made it longer. Perhaps the scenes just didn’t work, we won’t know until the DVD’s out. Other than that I thought it was great fun, one of the few films this year which hasn’t disappointed. If there’s anyone else who hasn’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth it. Just make sure you bring donuts. And yes, that’s a Simpsonized picture of me; click it if you want to do one of your own. 😉

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