The Simpsons Folder
Homer, Marge and the gang celebrate 400 episodes with a hilarious romp through Springfield and beyond
By Roger Moore – The Orlando Sentinel
Edition Date: 07/27/07
With a hearty “Woo-hooo” and no “D’oh!” spared, the Simpsons make the journey from small screen to big with their subversive wit, their wanderlust and their sentimental streak entirely intact.
“The Simpsons Movie” is a victory lap, a celebration of 400 episodes, closing in on 20 years as America’s great cultural barometer.
From the opening credits, an “Itchy & Scratchy” episode that puts the murderous mouse at the top of the Democratic presidential ticket (“Itchy & Hilary/2008”) and Green Day singing “The Simpsons” theme song, to that last group hug, this is “The Simpsons Movie” we’ve all been waiting for.
“What kind of idiot would pay for something we can get for free, on TV?”
Homer has it right. “Suckers.” But giggling suckers.
The best movie cartoon of the summer (2-D, with some computer animation) is a hoot that throws away better jokes than most summer screenwriters could conjure up.
“I’m Ralph, and I like men now!”
What’s that you’re writing on the blackboard, Bart? “I will not illegally download this movie.”
And the message on the church marquee? “Thou shalt turn off thy cell phone.”
Pay attention people, there’s learning going on here. Lisa’s got an “Inconvenient Proof.” And you can’t find it in church. “This Book doesn’t have any answers!”
The plot is a mash-up of other “Simpsons” doomsday scenarios. Lake Springfield is polluted. Homer is the one who pushes it one toxic waste dump over the line. President Schwarzenegger has to have the place sealed under a dome. “Dome, sweet Dome,” Marge needle-points.
Bart (once again) rejects his short-attention-span dad for pious creationist neighbor Ned Flanders.
Lisa lectures, preaches and falls for the cute enviro-boy who shares her life under the vast Springfield dome. Rock stars die, movies are parodied.
And Maggie, the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, leads them to safety.
The Simpsons are going to Alaska! “Nome, sweet Nome,” Marge needle-points.
It’s a wild broadside of a comedy, with prophecies spoken in tongues, not-so-hidden messages, promo-plugs for fake (we hope) Fox TV shows to follow, a pig Homer wishes were “Spider-Pig,” and an evil billionaire in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Well, for once, the rich white man is in charge!” No, not that evil billionaire.
The most subversive comedy on TV is more than ready for the big screen. There are animated showpieces — epic crowd scenes, a lovely sense of scale, 360-degree pans, precision computer-animated machinery.
And darned if there isn’t a little acting. Listen to Julie Kavner, voicing the long-suffering Marge, finally hitting the wall with Homer. That’s what heartbroken exhaustion sounds like.
The show is so ingrained in the culture that you really do have to be under a rock in order to have missed it, all these years. That’s what makes it work. We don’t need more than a moment of recognition for a joke to pay off.
So, be a “sucker.” See “The Simpsons Movie.” Thou shalt turn off thy cell phone. And be grateful that Homer’s travel plug wasn’t for your state.
“Alaska. Where you can’t be too fat, or too drunk.”