The Red Right Hand
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THE SIMPSONS MOVIE
See Our Family And Feel Better About Yours

Director
David Silverman
Starring
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith

For the early part of the 90's I was without Sky/Cable; it wasn't until 1998 that I eventually got into The Simpsons, Like most, I adored the older episodes and enjoyed a fairly large portion of the new offerings. This movie has been in the works for over a decade and was long considered a distant pipe dream that would never come to fruition. Eighteen years after the first airing and all I can say is that it's entertaining but not enough.

The plot is incredibly simple: Global Warming! Ooooh! Watch out! Global Warming is coming! Springfield reportedly houses one of the most polluted lakes in the United States and through campaigning, action is taken to ensure no further waste dumping. Homer's stupidity and oddly-placed affection for a newly adopted pig leads him to dump a silo of 'Pig Crap' into the lake. As the water turns completely toxic, a bill is passed to contain Springfield within a gigantic dome. Word gets out that Homer was to blame and the famous family conveniently escape the dome. Unable to return, they start a new life in Alaska. During an announcement on television, Marge learns that Springfield is to be destroyed, making way for a new Grand Canyon and sets out to save her native town, leaving Homer behind. That's about it. The storyline exists to further Homer's idiocy and ensure almost every character returns for a brief cameo but the comedy itself is very hard to locate within the plot.

The animation is above and beyond anything The Simpsons has previously experienced but felt like a long episode with Futurama's CGI-funding. The opening sequence poses a question that is never really answered; having watched a filmic version of the fictional Itchy & Scratchy Show, Homer stands up and protests, "Why should I pay to watch something I can get for free on TV?" In 2005, following the cancellation of Family Guy, a movie was brought out that was rather entertaining. Unfortunately, it just felt like three episodes pinned together and was released straight-to-DVD. On the other hand, in 1999, during the height of its popularity, South Park was made into a cinematic release that actually felt like a feature cartoon film, as opposed to a long episode of the TV show. As far as films that follow on to TV series go, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was one of the finest. Despite IMDB.com claiming this film has entered the top 50 of their illustrious Top 250 Films of All Time list, the amount of Simpsons-crazed kids who instantly voted 10/10 because of their love for the series, instead of the film itself must be considered. This film, as funny as it was, has no place with the likes of The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption and Schindler's List; the series, as a whole, may come close but to say that this is one of the greatest films ever made is so terribly misguided.

With all this damning, you may be wondering why I scored this film as high as 7/10; the reason being that despite the flaws, I enjoyed it. Bart wasn't very true to character and felt too needy, Lisa's love-story was nowhere near explored or fleshed-out and Marge questioning her marriage to Homer is something that seems to happen every week. Having said that, every scene blessed with Dan Castellaneta as Homer is a joy to watch. The majority of the advertising harnessed for this release has focused primarily on Homer and having seen the film, I can now understand why. The lifespan of The Simpsons, in TV or movie form depends solely on how much longer Homer can make us laugh. Once that well run dry, so will the fans' love for the series. Groening, you have been warned.

Release Date:
27th July 2007

The Scene To Look Out For:
Shortly after the horrific (and bloodless) death of a random character crushed under the weight of the monstrously large glass bowl, Homer keels his head back and screams, "D'oh...me" If you didn't pick up that aural joke, it's the way in which the catchphrase "D'oh" phonetically morphs into "Dome." I'll be honest, I don't really have a favourite scene; it's like picking a favourite episode, all you're really doing is mentioning the scene with the most successful jokes.

Notable Characters:
Homer. To choose anyone else would be pointless, the only reason the characters seem to work well with one another is because they are interacting with or have been affected by Homer. Dan Castellaneta is the key-stone and patron saint of The Simpsons.

Highlighted Quote:
"I'm Tom Hanks. Should you see me in public, please, leave me be"

In A Few Words:
"An entertaining piece that is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny in places but feels a little empty and may leave audiences saying, 'Is that it?'"

Total Score:
7/10


Matthew Stogdon