"Woo-hoo!" The Simpsons Movie at 10
It goes without saying that The Simpsons is a cultural touchstone. What began as a crudely animated spin-off of The Tracey Ullman Show in 1989, has since become the longest running sitcom of all time currently comprising of 28 seasons, with at least two more to go. What’s surprising about The Simpsons phenomenon is that it took 18 years before everyone’s favorite yellow family made the leap to the big screen. “Six Seasons and a Movie” this decidedly was not. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Simpsons Movie, Staff Writer Alex Miller and I have joined forces, so grab a Duff and watch out for that dome because The Simpsons Movie just turned ten.
- Matt Curione
For those of us who literally grew up watching The Simpsons every Thursday (for the old school fans) and Sunday nights the idea of a Simpsons movie coming to fruition was something to fantasize over. By the time the actual movie was announced it seemed like a daring turn having so much time between the start of the series and the announcement of the feature back in 2007. We’ve seen our favorite family go through countless ups-and-downs over the years and with the movie it was a nervous experience. What if our beloved show tripped and fell making the leap from our living rooms to the multiplex?
Trepidations aside, The Simpsons Movie came out with a slightly expanded size, scope, and story. The headline Springfield citizens had their time in the spotlight and we met some new faces, but the writer and creators Matt Groening, Al Jean, and James L. Brooks concentrated on the family. Thanks to an environmentally inspired story putting everyone and everything in peril The Simpsons Movie presents us with a little heart, some solid jokes, and enough gravitas to fill the wide screen; we knew Springfield would turn out fine but the narrative shift was enough to make this sitcom work as a feature film.
- Alex Miller
When The Simpsons Movie came out in 2007, it was, for me at least, an anomaly. Like most fans, I had grown out of the show long before The Movie was announced. Sure, I still respected it, but after the passing of Phil Hartman, the magic just seems to fade. With the loss of Hartman and his classic characters like Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, new writers were brought onto the show and they just couldn’t seem to capture what made The Simpsons the classic sitcom that it once was.
That said, I bought a ticket on opening day and was more than pleased with the results. The magic was back! This was the Simpson family that I had grown up watching. Characterizations were on point, guest stars (Albert Brooks) were used exceedingly well, and we even got an awesome new Itchy & Scratchy cartoon to kick the whole thing off. It reignited my love for the show and got me to give it another chance, and even though the show at the time wasn’t as great as I remembered, it was still The Simpsons. Even if the laughs weren’t as frequent, I could still count on a few good chuckles along the way.
- Matt Curione
Ten years out, The Simpsons Movie has aged quite well - for the scope and ambition it’s remarkably modest and consolidated. Even if the film does feel a little too safe for its own good at times, it’s a decidedly different look at our beloved yellow creations, there’s the show, and we have the movie. The series has so many characters and subplots, cramming them all in there would be an overstuffed mess. The movie introduced the CG animation that indicates, in my opinion, the relative renaissance The Simpsons underwent after the movies release.
Albert Brooks is a delight as the malevolent EPA agent, Russ Cargill as I can’t imagine a better actor to headline this feature. I had forgotten about Green Day’s appearance at the start and Tom Hanks playing himself in the mock commercial was a fun reminder of the writer's ability to get guest stars to play on their image. The Simpsons Movie is a hoot, while the countless season DVD’s (and VHS tapes of reruns you taped off of Fox) might overshadow this clever adventure don’t be afraid to pop it in; and of course listen to the commentaries!
- Alex Miller
I’ll agree, The Simpsons Movie is definitely a hoot. Since it’s essentially a feature length episode of the show, I often include it alongside my favorite episodes (You Only Move Twice, The Shinning). Not only is it hilarious, The Movie also includes some terrific emotional moments as well, the highlight being Homer and Marge’s wedding video. If that sequence doesn’t make you bawl like a baby, I fear for your emotional state.
The Simpsons Movie is one of those rare instances of a movie version standing toe to toe with the series it’s based upon and even besting it at times. Nothing will ever top the first six seasons, but The Movie stands on it’s own. Well worth your time, ten years after the initial release, it holds up and can be a great reminder of the heights this show can reach.
- Matt Curione