Second viewing notes: funnily enough, those repeat gags I talked about that I’d seen already in trailers etc actually made me laugh more second time round, and I saw plenty more that I hadn’t even seen the first time. Bottom line is – especially just having seen Meet the Robinsons in the same afternoon, the impact of which for me can’t be understated (yes, I realise I’ve mentioned it in both this and the last review, lol) – it’s not a great movie …. but considering the number of times I see myself rewatching it in the future, it might as well be.
7th August, 2007:
Well, here we are at last … wait … why does it suddenly no longer feel like “at last”? And there’s the rub … I think the problem this movie has had from the start is it has simply been too long a-coming. It also most recently had the 399th episode to live up to in my mind – seriously, watching that episode all I could think was, wait, why did they put all this goodness in the TV show when the movie’s on the way?
In a way I guess it’s a little unfair to compare the movie to “the best episodes” from way back when, but it’s kinda hard not to. The first thing I noticed here was once the clips I’d already seen in trailers etc. started appearing was, I really wasn’t laughing so much hearing them again. A lot of the jokes here really don’t have the repeat factor that the great Simpsons moments of yore have, not by a long shot. And though the movie sets itself up from the outset with a breakneck pace (I defy anyone not to get that tingly rush of, “AT LAST!” during the revamped ‘opening credits’), it’s amazing considering how often Groening and co. have talked about the importance of the script in this production how frequently the movie drops into long-feeling stretches devoid of any humour whatsoever.
The good is, it’s absolutely made for the big screen – at times so much so that on even the largest HD televisions it’s genuinely going to lose something, which really can’t be said for a lot of movies these days – even something as simple as Lisa going door-to-door nagging people about the environment paints her as barely a speck in the distance at its start. The laughs, when they’re good, are good enough. And the emotional parts, too, truly live up to the most heart-melting moments in the series – in fact, on the emotional side of things, they’ve really outdone themselves to the degree I’d hoped the whole movie would achieve. Julie Kavner’s voice work when Marge talks to Homer via video tape is possibly the most extraordinary thing in the movie for me.
I feel again like I did writing the Ponette review at the weekend – I so don’t want to be negative about this movie but it’s it’s just coming out that way. I can’t help but think about my favourite episodes – “Lisa’s Substitute” (ok, all Lisa eps, but that one is just about the greatest 22 minutes of television ever in my book), “Homer’s Enemy”, the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes (most particularly Homer3), yes, even that second to last one aired, “24 Minutes”; I think about the “South Park” movie; and the fact is, it is absolutely not up there with those things, the stuff it should be up there with, should be above even.
It is, on the other hand, still a very fun and very funny movie. I guess it’s like the Rent movie in a way – like, as an adaptation of the source, it’s more than a little lacking; but because of its source, hey, it still can’t help but blow a lot of the other things out there out of the water (especially when the biggest thing it’s up against is Transformers, hello?) – but let’s face it, they could’ve had the voice cast read the phone directory and it would’ve been passable, lol.