Movie Marathon #16: The Simpsons Movie
Recently, I wrote about my undying love for The Simpsons and how I genuinely believe that the show acts as a superb social marker and quick & easy way to judge someone on the fly.
I remember hearing whispers about the movie way back when I was at the height of my Simpsons mania; and it made me a little sad. Because I thought a movie would mark out a vast change in the way the show went forward; I envisaged a franchise of films at the loss of the television episodes, or just a complete flop that would kill a series which was already regularly accused of a major decline in quality. Luckily, it was neither of those things.
Much as there is debate about The Simpsons Movie, I think it’s brilliant. It doesn’t just run like an extended episode; the writers took advantage of the fact that their audience was already well-acquainted with these internationally beloved characters, avoiding throwing in scores of new cast members to spice up the movie or make it essential viewing for fans who were already skeptical of the movie. Aside from that, it’s genuinely funny; it keeps The Simpsons brilliant mix of surreal humour and beautifully touching character moments. And it’s not just madcap japes the whole way through-it’s by turns sweet, charming, sour, cynical and downright silly.
The animation, which marked a departure from the cruder drawing of the older series, was pretty spectacular. Huge, luscious crowd scenes, gorgeous scenery, the fleshing out of old characters; the animators took advantage of the changes the big screen would bring, and set themselves up for the next few years of superbly detailed animation.
For me, The Simpsons Movie did mark the end of an era for a big part of my viewing schedule. The show stopped being just a self-contained television programme-it was a franchise, replete with movie and video games. The show would then head off into a far more madcap and less grounded series, one that never really reclaimed the heart it had in the earlier seasons. But that by no means makes this movie anything other than what it is-warm, witty, clever and full of the creative brilliance that will always be what I love most about The Simpsons.