Fifteen years. A time that seems long in absolute terms, but which, relative to the longevity of The Simpsons , is very little stuff.
The series created by Matt Groening is now in its 34th season, which will debut in September.
A cultural and social phenomenon that has accompanied us from 1989 to today even if, it must be said, for several years the series has no longer shone as it once did.
The Simpsons – The film is therefore very interesting, because it represents a photograph of a series that, between ups and downs, was all in all still on the crest of the wave.
The most striking thing about the film today is how much it doesn’t try to “complicate things” from a narrative point of view.
Visually yes, it is richer than the TV series, has a deeper color palette, camera movements, a more brazen use of CGI and ambitious animations.
But narratively it’s like a big episode of the TV series, and that’s both good and bad.
A good thing, because it manages to maintain the direct simplicity of the best episodes of the series: we start with some fooling around and the story seems to go in one direction, until a catalytic event does not steer everything towards another, revealing the main plot.
On a very simple basis, the film encompasses social satire, environmentalism, religion and the irreverent comedy of the series.
The other side of the coin, however, is the main flaw of the film: there is no plot so overwhelming as to elevate everything beyond the television series.
It seems to see a double episode – when, even with a duration as low as 87 minutes, it should be a quadruple episode – full of gags just to reach the standard length of a feature film.
Let’s clarify: moments like the bet between Homer and Bart and the latter’s ride naked on a skateboard, the curtains with Spider-Pork and the new life of the Simpsons in Alaska are cute (others, like those in the Oval Room in the company of President Schwarzenegger , they are less), but they add little to the overall plot and have the flavor of recycled gags from the series, or less memorable versions of others seen in the past.
Moreover, one of the strengths of the series, namely the cast of supporting actors, is rather underused, especially since there is a long parenthesis in which the Simpsons leave Springfield.
Here too, some scenes work well (Mr. Burns who has to decide whether to give electricity to Springfield or free the dogs, the town that regresses to a state of barbarism at 1997 – Escape from New York with consequent reactions of the various characters), but often it seems to feel the brain work of the writers (there are eleven: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Scully, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti) while trying to find excuses to include as many supporting actors as possible, rather than giving a few of them juicy and actually important roles for the development of the plot.
The result is a film that was a huge hit at the time of its release, grossing $ 536 million worldwide, but that didn’t make much of its mark on the grand scheme of things. Let’s face it: we love and remember the Simpsons for the best episodes of the TV series, and when we quote the jokes and moments that made the series great, the movie never comes to mind. We went to the cinema to see it, we smiled and liked it, but we forgot it the next day.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that, since then, the Simpsons have never returned to the big screen. The fact that, to make just one film, it took ten years of extra work for the whole team, working at the same time in the making of the series, was certainly influenced. Giving a green light to a Simpsons movie is not a decision to be made lightly, and the result of the first movie probably put everyone off.
What we have left is a good double / triple episode of the series with luxury packaging (and music by Hans Zimmer ), which contains all the elements that made it such a phenomenon, even if not always perfectly dosed. If you take it for what it is, which is a simple excuse to enjoy yet another adventure of a gallery of characters we love, The Simpsons – The film is appreciable, even if it has not been and has not been confirmed the great event that we all would have wanted.