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  Simpsons Movie, The Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Year: 2007
Director: David Silverman
Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, Marcia Wallace, Albert Brooks, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt, Russi Taylor, Maggie Roswell, Joe Mantegna, Tom Hanks
Genre: Comedy, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 4 votes)
Review: It's Sunday, so the Simpson family are attending church, but unfortunately they're late and worse, dad Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) manages to insult the congregation who have fallen silent and hear every word of his protestation that church is useless. Once inside, they keep quiet until Grandpa Simpson (Castellaneta) wakes up and starts behaving strangely, as if he's suffering a vision from the future that causes him to shout out various cryptic phrases. This bothers Marge (Julie Kavner) more than the other Simpsons, and she believes there's great significance to this...

Which there is, of course, the significance being that finally the world's most popular animated family had finally made it to the big screen. Scripted by many of the series' regular writers including original creator Matt Groening, it attempted to expose the rumour from those in the know that the show had ceased to be funny around the end of the nineties as a lie, and sure enough was an impressive success at the international box office. But had the recent desperation for laughs infected the cinema version?

Not everyone was convinced, but for the most part The Simpsons Movie was a fair return to form. As this was feature length, a big storyline was needed, and Groening and his cohorts worked hard to fill up the running time; if it wasn't always as funny as you hoped, there were some good chuckles here nonetheless. The trouble was that over the course of a series they could give their panoply of supporting characters room to breathe, whereas here it looked more like they were straining to fit in everyone lest one fan's favourite be left out.

About as long as three episodes run together, but with higher quality animation to add detail to the familiar landscapes, the film has an enviromentalist agenda first and foremost. The lake and river around the town of Springfield has become heavily polluted, and any more poisoning of the water will lead to an environmental disaster. Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith), ever the activist, brings this to the attention of the locals in an Al Gore manner and they dutifully set up a protection plan.

However, Homer has just brought home a new pet, a pig, who he lavishes affection on much to the chagrin of Bart (Nancy Cartwright) who feels he is lacking a good father figure and turns to next door neighbour Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer) as a substitute. Every member of the clan save Maggie has their own subplot to handle, with Lisa getting an Irish boyfriend for example, all contributing to the overall busy action, but it's Homer's situation which is most important as the pig's "doings" mount up in volume, so where can he put them except...

Oh dear, the lake, which is the straw that breaks the camel's back and turns Springfield into a disaster area that the Environmental Protection Agency's head, Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks), finds a solution for: put the town under a huge dome and leave them there. And it's all Homer's fault, which naturally makes him less than popular. There's a mistrust of the larger, more powerful aspects of society here and a faith in the smaller, such as family and friends, meaning the town's population turn to mob violence and the government (led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, looking and sounding suspiciously like an absent Simpsons' character) are not to be trusted. As a whole, it wasn't the funniest big screen adaptation of a successful comedy TV series, but the care put into it was well appreciated. Music by Hans Zimmer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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