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DVD Review: The Simpsons Movie

Those yellow, animated phenomenons have finally made their way to the big screen and it only took eighteen years. So does the animated movie live up to the hilarity of the television show? Read on and find out – doh! The town of Springfield’s lake is overly polluted and socially conscious Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith) rallies the town to clean it up. Her dad Homer (Dan Castellaneta) saves a pig from being slaughtered after it’s used as a prop in a Krusty the Clown commercial and starts to treat it like the son he always wanted. This doesn’t set well with Bart (Nancy Cartwright) who finds that Mr. Flanders (Harry Shearer) is a more caring father than his pig loving one. Homer’s new oinking child does what pig’s do and Homer puts the results in a huge silo in the backyard (well, Homer did put a little of himself into the job).

His wife Marge (Julie Kavner) tells him to get rid of the silo of pig waste. Homer does of course, by dumping it on Lake Springfield. This infusion of pollution causes the Environmental Protection Agency to become alerted to the situation. They react in their usual restrained manner – the director Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks) orders that a huge glass dome cover the town. The Simpsons eventually find themselves outside the dome and Homer decides to take off rather than help his neighbors (especially since they formed an angry mob against him when they found out that it was his silo that pushed the lake over the limit).

He takes the family to Alaska and start over again, but the rest of the family thinks they should return and save Springfield. The Simpsons have been a television hit since they started airing in 1989. There’s always been talk that creator Matt Groening should bring his jaundiced creations to the big screen. He’s seemingly been happy on the small screen but it has finally come to pass and the results are hilarious. The film does play like a bigger and extended episode of the television show. It has some hilarious commentary on society as well as just outright wacky comedy. One bit of commentary has the church folk running to Moe’s bar and the bar patrons running to church as the giant dome of doom is placed over the town. We also have an extended Bart dare as he skateboards in the buff down to the Krusty Burger. Not to mention the “Spider Pig” song that my kids would sing during the theatrical trailer. Where this disc lets down a little is not in the content of the film but in the special feature department.

It feels really rather light and you keep thinking that a more expansive special edition will be in the works somewhere down the line – doh!. The Simpsons is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. A fullscreen version is available separately. Special features include two commentary tracks. The first one features writer/creator Matt Groening, writer/producer James L. Brooks, writer/producer Al Jean, writer/producer Mike Scully, director David Silverman, Yeardley Smith, and Dan Castellaneta, and the second one includes director Silverman, and sequence directors Mike B. Anderson, Steven Dean Moore and Rich Moore. There are 5 minutes of deleted scenes introduced by Al Jean. The “Special Stuff” section has 3 minutes of Simpsons appearances on the Tonight Show, American Idol, and a parody of the “Let’s go to the Lobby” concession stand spiel.

That’s it. Seems pretty light to me. The movie is hilarious, but the extra features feel like a bit of a letdown as far as deleted scenes go, the commentaries are top notch. It’s well worth it for the film. I must knock it down a bit because it could’ve been a bigger set (and I suspect will be somewhere down the line).


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