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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Hank Azaria
Dan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Harry Shearer.
Directors
David Silverman.
Screenwriters
Running Time
80 minutes

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The Simpsons Movie
Doh!


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Plot
After yet another Homer (Castellaneta) inspired disaster — involving his new best-friend Spider-Pig — Springfield is declared an environmental disaster area and sealed in a glass dome as an example to all America. Miraculously escaping their prison, the Simpsons head for Alaska, before Homer has an epiphany and (after the word is explained to him) decides to return and save his town.


Review
The Simpsons Movie
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Even in a mediocre episode of The Simpsons there is one great gag. Back in the classic era, the first ten seasons, say, they created jokes for the ages; comic writing with the kind of snap and sizzle of Woody Allen in the ‘60s or Neil Simon or Mel Brooks (all of whom have been satirised in yolk yellow). Beyond that, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and the other one have warmly redefined our concept of the American family. It takes genius to do dumb so well. After 18 years of such consistency surely the next move for the Day-Glo dysfunctions of Homer and co. was a movie… Surely.
 
The Simpsons Movie has been ten yeas in the making. During this tricky decade, the one factor the crew of eleven writers (their finest) had trouble settling on is how a movie version of the half-hour Springfield spins would be different. After all, why buy a ticket for something you get ad infinitum on the box? Eighty minutes after Itchy nukes Scratchy on the moon (the literal opening salvo) you realise that the problem may have defeated them. The Movie is no more than a mediocre episode stretched like taffy till it splits. And there’s not one truly great gag to speak of.  
 
How did something so light and confident become so lumbering and unsure of itself? Everyone is trying too hard and getting nowhere. Lamed, as the later episodes have been, by an overt political agenda, the film so bangs the drum for Al Gore’s eco-message it borders on polemic. Saving the planet may be vital, but not at the expense of Homer’s sublime buffoonery please. The series is at its best when satirising the intricacies of ordinary life — aim smaller, hit bigger.
 
With more time on their hands, everything seems to work against itself. There are odd pauses, mistimed punchlines — the lovely jazzy rhythms of the old episodes becoming stilted and soggy. Worse still, the characters are shadows of their old yellow selves. Homer, by necessity the brainless centre of the story, never properly reaches his true absurdist extremes. Bart is entirely lost, his storyline — weary of Homer’s shortcomings, he’s enticed to join the Flanders — neutering the arch prankster. Bart needy? Come on. Meanwhile Lisa falls in love (not explored), Marge despairs of her husband (Zzzz…) and Maggie… Actually, Maggie keeps her end of the deal. No one, excepting the title family, gets much of a look in, and the paltry attempts to notch them up are less cameos than momentary blips. In what sane universe does a Simpson movie give Mr. Burns merely two scenes?
 
There is also the stunning fact that, between eleven of surely the funniest writers in America, no one could come up with a good story. Springfield sealed in a dome is about it, but even then nothing is made of the town’s collapse into anarchy, while in not-breaking-news-at-all, Homer has to learn to appreciate his family. Again.
 
It is a depressing experience to rain on this particularly beloved parade. So massive is the series achievement, it’s like punching a best friend in the mush. In pop cultural terms Groening and team are artists, the animation equivalent of Martin Scorsese — imagine the likes of him delivering something so bereft of inspiration. You chuckle here and there, you enjoy the animation (given a bit more pep and computery dimension for the big screen), but the moment it takes off never comes. This is not the worst film of the summer, just the biggest waste.  Then, perhaps that is the problem. The Simpsons never needed to be a movie.


Verdict
The Simpsons Movie is like the mad moment in 1985 when Coca Cola decided to revamp their tried and tested beverage into New Coke. Take something everyone loves, and make it fizzier and sweeter, with a curious new tang. It utterly failed. The message is just as clear with Simpsonian antics — if it ain’t broke, don’t make a movie…


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Simpsons Movie
Empire Star Rating

RE: Empire dropped the ball on this one

Have just got round to watching it. Due to the very poor quality of the new episodes I was in no rush to see this movie. Now I've finally watched it I can some it up with one sentence.... A complete pile of wank! There is one decent joke in the whole movie. They should have given up on the simpsons after series 8 or 9. ... More

Posted by ordboy17 at 18:41, 29 September 2008 | Report This Post


Empire dropped the ball on this one

Didn't need a movie? Perhaps you failed to see the quality of the tv series was waning anf frankly this film is everythign the simpsons used to be - funny, timely, clever and just plain feel-good. There's much more to this than just decent animation and a few chuckles. Not perfect, but riotous fun. Kudos to Groening and team. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jomo999 at 14:42, 22 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Simpsons Movie

The movie wasn't as good then i thought but there was some good scenes, it wasn't good ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vish96 at 18:03, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Simpsons Movie

Rotten, from start to finish. ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 17:52, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Simpsons Movie

L: random_sam . Great adaptation if you ask me. ote] I agree ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dukez at 10:20, 30 April 2008 | Report This Post


Funny But Not Really Funny.

I was really looking forward for the Simpsons Movie, I got it on Christmas Day and was overjoyed as I am a massive fan. Problem was, I was a little disappointed at the verdict. Sure, there are some funny and tender moments like Spider Pig and the strain on Homer and Marge's relationship. Lisa's found love with Colin seemed rushed and not a lot to go for, Bart seemed like he wasn't there and when he was he was hanging around Ned?! The other people were hardly in it, I adore Groundskeeper Willie a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:48, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post


Disappointing

Fantastical plot; prefer the episodes ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by alain_prost 2 at 14:31, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post


wohoo or d'oh?!

well this film i though was in general quite good. when i saw it in the cinema almost everyone was laughing throughout and i felt it was a good tribute to the series. i can see what empire means by it being like 3 episodes stranded together but in a time when epic movie and date movie are considered "comedy classics" by some people i think the simpsons movie is a lot better than what people give it credit for. If there is a sequel though mr. burns has to be the villain. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tango fett at 20:49, 27 April 2008 | Report This Post


The Simpsons Movie.

No, no, no. What a let down, man! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 15:57, 22 April 2008 | Report This Post


No. No, No

Im lucky because i didnt need to pay to see this. if i did pay i would have shot myself as soon as the credits would come on. i had high hopes for this film but really, none of the gags are funny. This really shouldnt have been no 1 at the british box office when it was released because all the films that were released in the same week were probaly a lot more deserving ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IsabelB at 19:46, 21 April 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Simpsons Movie

I don't think the film is poor, I just think that the media said " Wow! Simpsons! It's gonna be sooo brilliant! " so we all got our hopes up. When in actual fact, it was funny, witty and delivered what it promised. ... More

Posted by CocoIndiana at 22:33, 04 April 2008 | Report This Post


What's wrong with Empire?

This is very good. Very funny, and worth every second of the several year-long wait. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 09:45, 10 March 2008 | Report This Post


What's wrong with Empire?

This is very good. Very funny, and worth every second of the several year-long wait. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 09:45, 10 March 2008 | Report This Post


not great

it has a few laughs the first time but is not a film i would watch again! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewey T at 13:20, 15 February 2008 | Report This Post


not great

it has a few laughs the first time but is not a film i would watch again! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewey T at 13:20, 15 February 2008 | Report This Post


not great

it has a few laughs the first time but is not a film i would watch again! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewey T at 13:20, 15 February 2008 | Report This Post


Not bad, not good

The Simpsons have been a classic TV show and lifted people's souls and jaws with 20 years of comedy, drama and slapstick coloured in yellow. However, the movie doesn't show a hint of it of their success. Sure it has its moments, but the comedy never lasts as the consistent jokes can get out of date after 3 previewings. You may prefer the deleted scenes than them. Verdict: Not a giant disaster, but a giant dissapointment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by user2563 at 15:31, 08 January 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

I would have to agree and say that the film is terrible, a huge dissapointment. The best characters are wasted, the main plot isnt funny, interesting or at all worth bothering with. This film took several years to complete ?  What a waste. ... More

Posted by Ooosh at 13:01, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

I'm calm, I'm calm. Need some weed... ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 11:00, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

L: DanCurley The only pathetic defence seems to be that we had expectations. Well, when I go for a steak, I expect a steak and not a can of fucking spam. And by god if you're served spam expect complaints. "Yeah but you had high expectations" what the fuck kinda argument is that? Empire shouldn't have nudged its score up a star for the DVD review, it's just as frontal lobe crushingly dull and twatty on your couch. How can you make Homer a hateably heinous prick? Did no one sit down an... More

Posted by sanchia at 09:56, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

The only pathetic defence seems to be that we had expectations. Well, when I go for a steak, I expect a steak and not a can of fucking spam. And by god if you're served spam expect complaints. "Yeah but you had high expectations" what the fuck kinda argument is that?   Empire shouldn't have nudged its score up a star for the DVD review, it's just as frontal lobe crushingly dull and twatty on your couch. How can you make Homer a hateably heinous prick? Did no one sit down and say, befor... More

Posted by DanCurley at 09:32, 30 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

Pretty average for all intense and purposes - just really an extended episode - a bit of a missed opportunity ... More

Posted by Achtung Englander at 23:43, 29 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

Having only just watched it I felt there wasn't even enough quality material to fill a standard episode never mind a film.  I can barely remeber any of it and it only finished a couple of minutes ago.  I would agree that Homer was no longer the well meaning but stupid individual of the show but rather was a selfish, arrogant individual who was truly dislikable.   Something of a failure in my eyes. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 22:58, 29 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

L: Driver 8 fully willing to criticise it, it's just that I feel the level of vitriol directed at the film is unfair.t saying that everyone who disliked the film did so for the reasons I mentioned above, it's just that I noticed those attitudes in a lot of the people I've talked to, or reviews I've read. I at least appreciate that you're (Wilbert) willing to discuss the film in a respectful way (in relation to others opinions). The ironic thing is, in relation to your last state... More

Posted by bozo at 19:39, 28 December 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Disappointing

L: Driver 8 Oh, I'm fully willing to criticise it, it's just that I feel the level of vitriol directed at the film is unfair. I'm not saying that everyone who disliked the film did so for the reasons I mentioned above, it's just that I noticed those attitudes in a lot of the people I've talked to, or reviews I've read. I at least appreciate that you're (Wilbert) willing to discuss the film in a respectful way (in relation to others opinions). The ironic thing is, in relation to yo... More

Posted by Wilbert at 15:48, 26 December 2007 | Report This Post


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