The Simpsons Movie – Blu-ray Review


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / 2007 / 87 Minutes / Rated PG-13
Street Date: January 8, 2008
List Price: $49.98 [Buy it at Amazon.com]

Director:

David Silverman

Starring:

Dan Castellaneta ………. Homer Simpson (Voice)
Julie Kavner ………. Marge Simpson (Voice)
Nancy Cartwright ………. Bart Simpson / Maggie Simpson (Voice)
Yeardley Smith ………. Lisa Simpson(Voice)
Hank Azaria ………. Professor Frink / Moe / Chief Wiggum (Voice)
Harry Shearer ………. Scratchy / Mr. Burns / Ned Flanders (Voice)
Albert Brooks ………. Russ Cargill (Voice)
Tress MacNeille ………. Sweet Old Lady / Colin / Mrs. Skinner (Voice)
Pamela Hayden ………. Milhouse / Rod Flanders (Voice)

The Movie

If one were to guess what is the current longest-running television series on TV today, you probably wouldn’t guess that it’s a show that doesn’t feature any “real” actors on screen. Then again, for a show to be around for over 20 years perhaps the only way that could occur is if it was an animated show. Before there was Family Guy or South Park or any other “adult cartoon” show, there was The Simpsons. While it may not be concerned “edgy” in terms of today’s standards, 20 years ago it was. Simpsons merchandise got banned from schools way back when, because it wasn’t considered “kid-friendly”. Now some 20 years later, we finally get a feature-length movie. But can it keep up with some of the the great comedies of today, though?

In The Simpsons Movie, Homer (Dan Castellaneta) adopts a pig, who’s run away from Krusty Burger after Krusty tried to have him slaughtered, naming it “Spider Pig.” At the same time, Lisa (Yeardley Smith) convinces the locals to clean up the polluted Lake Springfield after the sinking of the stage that Green Day was performing on. That doesn’t stop Homer, though, from dumping a silo full of “Spider Pig” waste into the lake. This causes Springfield to become toxic and the villainous boss of the EPA, Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks), forces President Arnold Schwarzenegger to put a dome over the town for the time being to prevent evacuation. The Simpsons escape the dome somehow and head to Alaska for a better life. But when Springfield is order to be destroyed, it’s up to Homer and his family to save the day.

There are about 11 different people credited for writing this movie. They started production on it back in 2001. This doesn’t mean that we get a overly complex plot with lots of layers to it. The premise is pretty basic for a movie. It’s basically a 90 minute version of a television episode for this series. Surprisingly, though, there is not that much “filler” here. For the most part, the movie moves along at a fast pace.

This movie has lots of energy going for it. From the moment the movie starts, even before the opening credits, you get bombarded with joke after joke. There are sight gags, audio gags, and animation gags everywhere, but there is also some cultural satire thrown in for good measure. For the most part, the film won’t feel too “dated” if you watch this 20 years from now. Some people will be disappointed that some fan-favorite characters aren’t included in this movie or their parts are really short. That’s what happens when you try to cram 17 years into 90 minutes. There can’t be time for everyone to shine.

The Simpsons have never looked or sounded better than in The Simpsons Movie. A lot of time was put in to making this movie and it shows. Not only in animation, which is top-notch, but also in the voice cast. After 20 years, you would think that the voice cast would know all of the characters they voice inside and out, and you would be correct.

The movie of a highly successful television series can rarely live up to the hype and The Simpsons Movie is no exception here. Still the material in this movie feels more like The Simpsons from a decade ago than the recent years of the show, and that’s a good thing. While it’s well past its peak, and certainly doesn’t compare to the best episodes from its peak time, The Simpsons Movie will be a welcome addition to the collection of any fan of the show. Even if you stopped watching The Simpsons on television a LONG time ago, you will find plenty to laugh at during this movie so enjoy it for what it is.

The Video:

The video is presented in 1080p/VC-1 encode at the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs of course. The creators and the writers of the show talked about how they have always wanted to do a widescreen movie. The reason for that is they can show more of Springfield and the characters in Springfield on the screen at the same time. So make sure to look at every inch of the screen while watching this movie on Blu-Ray, because you might miss a joke somewhere else on the screen. No problems at all.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in either English DTS-HD Master 5.1 Surround sound, French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, or Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean as well. That’s a first. The music and dialogue come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either.

The Extras:

Audio Commentaries
There are two full-length commentaries. One features part of the cast and crew, while the other features mainly the animators of the film. The first one is with James L. Brooks (executive producer/writer), Matt Groening (executive producer/writer), Al Jean (executive producer/writer), Mike Scully (executive producer/writer), David Silverman (director), Dan Castellaneta (cast), and Yeardley Smith (cast). The second one is with David Silverman (director) again along with Mike B. Anderson (animation sequence director), Steven Dean Moore (animation sequence director), and Rich Moore (storyboard artist). The cast and crew commentary was actually done before the release of the film, so they are a little anxious to see how it does. The animators’ commentary was done after the release of the film, so they are more upbeat from the start. But both are equally as good. Their is a little bit of overlap between them, but for the most part they provide different information and background on the film. The cast and crew commentary tends to be more entertaining as the cast gets to comment on certain things and their laughter among themselves throughout their commentary. The animators’ commentary is not as entertaining, but it does provide a little more background on the animation so that’s always good. A good balance between the two commentaries and worth checking out both for super fans of The Simpsons.

Special Stuff
There is basically four animated shorts in this section that have nothing to do with the storyline of the movie. Here they are:

Homer’s Monologue on The Tonight Show (1:34)
Homer is the guest host on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. He completely bombs his monologue with bad jokes.

The Simpsons Judge American Idol (0:57)
Simon Cowell tries to sing and Homer acting like Simon, Marge acting like Randy, Lisa acting like Paula, and Bart acting like Ryan judge him. Pretty funny.

Homer Introduces American Idol (0:33)
Here Homer plays the Ryan role and introduces the beginning of American Idol episode.

The Lobby (0:19)
Homer goes and gets him something to eat in the lobby, that being the singing and dancing cartoon food telling you to do just that.

Deleted Scenes
There are six deleted scenes here. All together this runs 5 minutes. Some are funny, but you really won’t miss them in the final cut of the movie. You may want to note that this is a “slightly alternate ending” here, but it’s basically the same ending as in the final movie with Homer and Bart on the roof. The only difference is one small sequence with the pig, the warped fish, and Santa’s Little Helper building a new house for Santa’s Little Helper in the corner. So if you want to check that out, it is there.

Trailers
There are a variety of trailers for this movie in this section. We start off with the “Announcement Trailer” in March of 2006, then “Bunny Trailer 1” and “Bunny Trailer 2” in November of 2006, followed by “The Line/Teaser Trailer” in February of 2007, and finally concluding with the “Theatrical Trailer” in June of 2007. Not really an “extra”, but it’s nice to see the how the trailers evolved for a project as big as this one.

THE INSIDE PULSE

Hardcore fans of the show will want to purchase this movie for sure. They might have been expecting more, but it’s certainly an above-average episode of The Simpsons. Casual fans of the show will definitely want to rent this for sure. It’s worth checking out for everyone unless you just don’t like the show at all.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Simpsons Movie
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

10
THE AUDIO

10
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)