Plot: Homer Simpson has done a lot of stupid things in his life, but this time, he was dumber than ever. Lake Springfield has become a wasteland, thanks to years of locals dumping whatever they please into the waters. In an effort to save the lake, it is cleaned out, surrounded by a barricade, and a “no dumping” law is passed. But of course, Homer needs a place to dump his silo filled with pig crap, so he chooses the lake. This sends the ecosystem into chaos and soon, the EPA has swooped in to place Springfield under quarantine. The Simpsons manage to escape the bubble placed over the town, but unless they take action, Springfield will be doomed to destruction. As his family loses faith in him, this time perhaps for good, can Homer roll into action and save his beloved Springfield, as well as family?
Entertainment Value: A Simpsons movie was inevitable, given the show’s pop culture impact and incredible longevity on television, but that didn’t mean the pressure was off for this big screen incarnation. After all, the show had done so many stories and explored the characters so much, finding an epic enough narrative for a movie version seemed like a tall order. But The Simpsons Movie managed to find a story that makes use of the cinematic scope offered by a movie adaptation, while also staying faithful to the tone and texture of the television series. So the sense of humor remains the same as fans know and love, but the movie scope allows for bigger set pieces and more colorful, mature jokes, at least to a point. I think the narrative is fun and feels right at home within the Simpsons realm, while the show’s massive troupe of characters are given ample chances to shine and some new ones even appear, with Spider-Pig as an ever popular choice. I think the movie delivers consistent, solid laughs and amps up the show’s usual vibe, which is about all you can ask in this case. So fans of The Simpsons will of course have fun here and while the movie might not be as epic as some want, it is still a fun watch with some sharp humor.
The animation is a huge step up from the television version, which shifted to widescreen HD after this movie, which was a welcome move. The visuals just shine here, with so much more detail and polish evident in the animation, so there’s even more small, humorous touches to look out for. The character designs remain faithful to the show, with all the beloved characters looking just as they do on the show, but given a nice shine for the big screen. The backgrounds are really where the enhanced animation can flex, as there is so much richer presence in the various locations, even Springfield seems like a new place here. On the voice cast side of The Simpsons Movie, all of the established talent from the show is accounted for, with Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Nancy Cartwright and the other regulars in their normal roles, almost all of which are on deck. Albert Brooks brings some guest star power to the table in a fun role, so while some might prefer a more star studded approach, I think it made sense to focus on the core, established characters.