David Silverman | 83 mins | DVD | PG / PG-13
And so 2008 begins with one of last summer’s biggest hits: the long-awaited big screen debut of America’s most well-known family. I’m not a big Simpsons fan, unlike many film critics it would seem — I like the show, undoubtedly, but I’ve never watched it regularly and haven’t sat through a whole episode for years (not even the recent-ish Ricky Gervais or Kiefer Sutherland ones).
This might explain why the movie didn’t feel tired to me, as some have described it. It might not be laugh-a-minute, and there are some sections where the plot has taken precedence (not always with good reason), but the gag count is nonetheless high and some are genuinely excellent. The plot is suitably epic, mostly justifying the need to be on a big screen at feature length. Some of the subplots feel like episodes of the show, but that’s fairly inevitable when converting a format such as this. Everything looks bigger; the quality of the animation is high; and while I’m sure the events will have no lasting impact on the characters, it does feel like a simple TV episode or two wouldn’t do it justice.
It may be that The Simpsons Movie wasn’t the ground-breaking best-comedy-ever that it needed to be to impress some. But it made me laugh, and often; at least as much as any other recent comedy, if not more so. That makes it a success in my book.