For an entire generation, the mere mention of The Simpsons starts an internal soundtrack. Danny Elfman's distinctive theme music, Homer's "D'oh!," Bart's mischievous chortle, Lisa's desperate exhortations for cultural and environmental involvement, Marge's motherly groaning, and the gentle thud of baby Maggie falling down resound with comforting familiarity. After eighteen years, this unique cacophony of sound emanates from not only the television but your local cineplex as the Simpson clan stars in their first motion picture.
The Simpsons Movie showcases the ultimate dysfunctional family along with the vast majority of their motley supporting cast in, not necessarily their finest adventure, but, at 87 minutes, their longest.
Essentially three back-to-back episodes threaded together with a meandering storyline, the picture opens with what I dub "Homer Gets A Pig." Many humorous events transpire, particularly the scenes involving Homer and his pig , Bart vs. Homer in a game of Truth or Dare, and Bart spending quality time with Flanders. The next sequence, "The Simpsons Move To Alaska," features some trippy, Winsor McCay moments as Homer confronts Truth. The clan ultimately returns home for "Homer Saves Springfield." Weeded within the various adventures, the EPA, fronted by Russ Cargill, who is voiced by the amazing Albert Brooks, quarantines the environmentally hazardous Springfield. Within the isolated city, chaos reigns in a Lord of the Flies-style devolution.
Using several elements from the show, the film successfully captures the more memorable moments of the series. Like many comedies in the Bush II era, the cultural and political critiques offer the funniest scenes: a president choosing not the best but the most politically expedient solutions, power hungry politicos in all branches of government, the mainstream media's refusal to cover certain current events, governmental crisis mismanagement, and more. Culturally, none is more ironic than Bart, the American cartoon cultural icon for the late 20th and early 21st century, graphically mocking Mickey Mouse, the icon of the previous era.
Although many funny moments pepper the film, the picture, unlike the theatrical release of its cartoon brethren South Park, offers little more than the TV version, except for a few slightly off-color minor jokes that could not be aired during the regular show. Essentially, The Simpsons Movie is an extremely well-done episode of The Simpsons, which makes it superior to most films showing this summer, animated or not.