I could write a full review of The Simpsons Movie, which I took in yesterday afternoon, but I’m going to link you over to The Elder’s review over at McNutt Against the Music. Essentially, we both agreed: the film was derivative in almost every way, and yet was really quite funny, entertaining and worth the money. At this point in time the film’s impact is limited by the level to which the series has run potential storylines into the ground; there was nothing fresh to be found, no character stone left unturned. In the end, however, they milked every last drop of humour they could out of America’s favourite family, and the result was an engaging motion picture.
And engage it did: the film garnered a staggering $72 Million opening weekend. The Elder argued that this wasn’t too surprising, but analysts were much more modest with their predictions. The Simpsons are one of those properties where its current fan base is young, its largest fan base is in limbo between childhood and adulthood, and it’s kind of impossible to know how the demographics will turn out. Either way, they turned out, and Fox is laughing all the way to the bank.
One thing I do want to say about the film is how impressed I am by one segment in particular: Spider Pig. This was a big hit in trailers and commercials, and the internet has embraced it fully. I, at worst, wasn’t convinced: it seemed like just a lame gag. However, it is handled effortlessly in the film. When the writers conceived the idea, it was likely just a bit piece, and that is how it stayed.
YouTube – “Spider Pig”
The brevity of Spider Pig is what gives it its charm: they didn’t try to rewrite the entire theme song, creating an epic sequence of the pig’s various adventures, but rather left it at a charming little ditty worthy of a hearty laugh. When the song returns later in the film in full orchestration and production, it completes the circle: a joke not milked until it dies, not drawn out until its old, but left brief and charming until the very end.
And that’s really what the film is, a lesson in brevity. The writers (All 11 of them) don’t let too many jokes go on longer than they should, and you feel like you’re watching something fresher than it perhaps is. Is the film perfect? No. But, like Spider Pig, it never outstays its welcome.
Download – Spider Pig (Full Choral Version)