Friday, December 21

The Simpsons Movie DVD Review

Yes, I am one of the Simpsons fans that have gave up watching the new episodes and treasure the days of season 7. When newer episodes air on syndication, I watch something else. Although, I have caught up with some core new eps like Marge's sister Patty revealing she is gay and Selma adopting a chinese baby. Both factors not mentioned in this movie. Of course they can't cover everything, but the producers and director have repeated time and time again about wanting this movie to appeal to people who have never seen the show. I don't think that was a good way to go. But listening to the commentary, they tried out the movie with many test audiences and even rendered to discover people weren't all that aware of Millhouse's long standing crush on Lisa. As I was preparing for a lackluster movie to remind me how lame the show has gotten, I was surprised to find some actual effort and a delightful movie.

While the trailer makes you believe the movie is all about the pig, it is much about the pig than the Transformers Movie is about a boy and his car. Which is a good thing. I am touched with the effort the writers went through with the movie, re-writing scenes and tweaking stuff and cutting jokes. They say they wanted to do scenes with their favorite characters, they said with the test audiences, didn't get much of a response. Like the producers said, the movie open up the chance to use many characters from the past. Like in the show, to fill up crowd scenes, there is filler or 'fake' characters... not so much with this one. We get characters we all recognize in the background. In one scene, I spotted Becky, who was played by Parker Posey in a episode in the year 2000. Even in the deleted scenes, we see the mayor's nephew for example. And the Bart-Homer-Ned stuff does feel a bit egged on. Can't they take a lesson in classic Simpsons episodes on subtle emotion?

What is also interesting is that the character Russ Cargill played by Albert Brooks was supposed to have a completely different look and feel. He seemed to have a more neurotic complex. Burger King made a toy of this design above and many fans were confused to who he is. The beginning of the movie doesn't feel much like a Simspsons episode, it sort of feels like the first Rugrats movie, I may be the only one that is feeling like this. That it felt 'put on,' too much of 'introducing' and happy-go-lucky music. The producers love the background music but it sounds to me generic and not Simpson-like. I suppose if they played actual Simpsons show music, it wouldn't be right. The only instrumental that sounds awesome is the slow Spider-Pig melody. It is played during the Epiphany sequence, they say it was a fluke. They played it as a gag and it fits. Putting Lisa in charge of making people environmentally aware is a no brainer but apparently to the producers, it came way later in the game of writing. What fans mainly complain about is the Simpson family leaving town and the movie not concentrating enough on the towns people. The Producers had more ideas for the towns people but they wanted to concentrate on the story. If they do indeed do a sequel, maybe the plot should revolve on many of the characters.

Above, is a generic character that is crushed by the dome. When Yeardley Smith saw the sequence in the commentary, she wondered who he was. I was surprised they didn't comment on Dr. Nick getting impaled. Producers were surprised audiences found the destruction of Springfield depressing. Of course we did! We want fun and go lucky, no real scary despair. Some scenes do feel like classic Simpsons. The scene where Marge says goodbye to Homer after 'doing the most horrible thing he ever did' (and producers had to check through stuff in the show and indeed sentencing the entire town to death is up there) does tug at the heart strings. Her voice is just awesome in that scene. Producers say Julive Kavner had just come back from a snow storm and was emotionally wasted, so that helped with the voice. The rest, like her filming over the wedding video felt a bit like lip service but playing their wedding song 'Close to you' did really help. It sort of felt like it was supposed to happen. That it was written long ago but still feels like it should have been polished a bit.

Movie: B
DVD: C, where are the early sketches and drawings?