Posted by: Ole | August 8, 2007

Worst adaptation ever!

The Simpsons Sellout
Right.. Now I have been a long time Simpsons fan. One of my favorite passtimes is to just put on the collected episodes and watch them again and again. So obviously enough, I had great expectations when I heard the Simpsons Movie would finally come out. I had some concerns as well, but after having seen the trailers, I was confident that this would be the movie of the year.. It was not..

First of all, I feel like I’ve seen it before. All the trailers released before the movie actually contained most, if not all, of the jokes and funny parts. I was warned about this, especially by my girlfriend, but I trusted that the producers had carefully selected only a small subset of the good stuff.. This was not the case.

I saw the warning signs before the movie came out. The naming of the “real” Springfield. The massive focusing on doughnuts in the ads for the film. Granted, Homer likes his doughnuts, but it was obviously used in the advertising because it gave people without knowledge of the family a hook, and something to relate to.. I mean, Homer likes pork-chops or Duff just as much, why not focus on that?

I saw the signs but kept convincing myself that this would be a good movie. One that was made by the artists behind the series, and not the guys holding the money. Obviously, that was being naive.

On to a few more to-the-point points about the film. I must warn you all here.. This will contain spoilers, so don’t read it unless you’ve seen the film, or don’t plan to.

The style
It was promised that the drawing in the movie would be true to the style of the series. It was not. There were numerous examples of heavily computer animated scenes, and the style in general was more polished and 3D than the series. Of course, it wasn’t full fledged 3D animation, or god forbid, actual actors, but I still think it was a bit too polished.

The cast
The Simpsons have traditionally been centered around the family, but with a lot of stories focusing on the other inhabitants of Springfield. The movie featured most of the characters, yes, but as an angry mob. Outside of the first 20 minutes, very few had a line. I would have liked seeing/hearing more of them.

The jokes
Every time a joke or plot-twist were done, you could trace back in the movie to where they set it up. For instance, when Marge goes back into the flaming house to retrieve their wedding tape, it is only because they need it for the sentimental part in the cabin in Alaska. I realize this is how most movies are done, but I just think it could be more subtle. Other examples of this is the sink-hole and the Ball of Death.

Obvious jokes mostly funny for old-time fans is left out. When the dome is smashed, and the glass is raining down on the town, you actually see Lenny look up into the rain of glass. I was already laughing at the line I thought would follow.. “My eye! I’m not supposed to get dome in it!”. It didn’t. Instead, they cut to a shot of doctor Nick lying under a big piece of glass, saying “Goodbye everybody” as he died.. Probably a more known catchphrase..

The trailers
One thing is that they showed WAY to much in the trailers. I really had a feeling I had seen the movie before. All the jokes, most of the plot-twists, and the entire story was more or less layed out before the movie was out.

The first scene of the movie features an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon in which Itchy as president of the USA, launches a series of missiles against Scratchy on the moon. I have a strong suspicion that that cartoon was placed there, and made the way it was, to be able to show missiles launching in the trailers.

In one of the trailers you see Marge say to Homer, “You doomed us all!”, and then they cut to the missiles launching. That, coupled with the fact that Springfield in an old episode is revealed as being NWB, Nuclear Whipping Boy, and would be the bullseye for all friendly nations to calibrate their missiles on in case of nuclear war, really catches your interest. Completely bogus of course.

The sellout
Apart from revealing where Springfield is actually located, one of the longest standing jokes in the series, the movie also feature the first word of Maggie.. What is it? Announcing a sequel!

The plot
The plot altogether was incoherent. You had the obvious environmental focus that a movie of this sort cannot live without these days. Fair enough, that opened up for some funny parts. But then you had the by-stories of Lisas relationship with Colin, which by the way is very similar to the one she had in “Lisa the Treehugger”, but that’s another story. On top of that, you had Barts relationship with Flanders which could have been an episode in it’s own right, but in the movie it just felt out of place.

The first 20 minutes of the movie was good. The few lines by people outside of the family was placed here, and the tempo was high while they built the story. After that, it kind of lost its breath. Interestingly, 20 minutes is about the length of a standard episode..

In general it was an okay movie. I laughed a lot, but unfortunately, most of my laughs were of the trailers, and not when I actually saw the movie.

I think it would be extremely difficult to make a film like this that sums up 20 years of gathered expectations. You have the public appeal to consider, plus a huge fanbase who, maybe like me, are being overly critical.


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