Film Review: The Simpsons Movie

How many people did you hear humming Spider-Pig today?

Principal Cast and Crew

Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Itchy, Barney, Grampa, Stage Manager, Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby, Mayor’s Aide, Multi-Eyed Squirrel, Panicky Man, Sideshow Mel, Mr. Teeny, EPA Official, Kissing Cop #1, Bear, Boy on Phone, NSA Worker, Officer, Santa’s Little Helper and the Squeaky-Voiced Teen
Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson
Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Maggie Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Munce, Todd Flanders, TV Daughter and Woman on Phone
Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson
Harry Shearer as Scratchy, Mr. Burns, Rev. Lovejoy, Ned Flanders, Lenny, Skull, President Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kent Brockman, Principal Seymour Skinner, Dr. Hibbert, Toll Booth Man, Weyland Smithers, Guard, Otto and Kang
Hank Azaria as Professor Frink, Comic Book Guy, Moe Syzlak, Chief Clancy Wiggum, Lou, Carl, Cletus, Bumblebee Man, Male EPA Worker, Dome Depot Announcer, Kissing Cop #2, Carnival Barker, Counter Man, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Drederick Tatum, Sea Captain, EPA Passenger, Robot and Dr. Nick
Marcia Wallace as Edna Krabappel
Tress McNeille as Sweet Old Lady, Colin, Mrs. Skinner, Nelson’s Mother, Pig, Cat Lady, Female EPA Workers, G.GP.S. Woman, Cookie Kwan, Lindsey Naegle, TV Son, Medicine Woman and Girl on Phone
Pamela Hayden as Milhouse Van Houten and Rod Flanders
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony
Albert Brooks as Russ Cargill
Russi Taylor as Martin
Karl Wiedergott as Man and EPA Driver
Maggie Roswell as Helen Lovejoy
Tom Hanks as himself
Philip Rosenthal as TV Dad

Directed by David Silverman.

Written by Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Joel Cohen, John Frink, Al Jean, Tim Long, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Michael Price, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti.


Pollution in Lake Springfield has reached crisis levels. After Homer dumps a large tank of pig sewage in it, the town is isolated from the rest of the world beneath a giant plastic dome, and Homer finds himself at the wrong end of an angry mob made up of the entire population of Springfield.

High Points

  • “Spider-pig, Spider-pig. Does whatever a spider-pig does.”
  • “I’ve narrowed it down to five unthinkable options.”
    “I was elected to lead, not to read!”
  • “I’m going to turn out the lights again, and when I turn them back on I want to see all my booze back where it was.”

Low Point

The jokes feel overstretched at times – I think it’s clear that the team are not used to writing stories which are so long.

The Scores

Originality: The Simpsons used to be original, but has long since become a run of more of the same. It’s still good of course, but the movie suffers from the same thing. If they had made this ten years ago, it would have seemed innovative. That said, it’s certainly not predictable or tired. Four out of six.

Effects: Given that this is an animated film, the entire visual appearance could be considered a special effect. It’s higher-quality artwork than is usually used in the TV series, with a much greater use of shadows. They also made fairly extensive use of Futurama-style computer-generated sequences, which are highly effective although you can usually spot them. It would have been nice if a bit of hand-drawn imprecision could have been added to the renderer, but that’s not necessarily the easiest task in the world. Five out of six.

Story: Although it’s ostensibly about saving Springfield from Homer’s impatience (and obsession with donuts), the underlying story is, as so often in The Simpsons, about the family and their love for each other. Deeply buried in many cases, but it’s there nonetheless, and it drives the story as it has driven so many episodes. The movie gives more chance for things to go horribly wrong, but the story’s no masterwork. Three out of six.

Emotional Response: If laughter is an emotional response (and it is), then this film is laden with it. One rarely feels for the characters, because it’s The Simpsons and we’ve watched fifteen years of them all surviving numerous accidents which would kill or paralyse any real person. It doesn’t matter though, because you’re watching the film to be amused and entertained, not to gain deep insights or benefit from a hefty dose of catharsis. Six out of six. I laughed until I cried.

Acting: It’s the same cast we’re used to, and they do a fantastic job as usual. Can I say anything else? No. Six out of six.

Production: An animated movie still needs to be properly produced. Camera angles are no less important for not having a real camera, and there are some excellent scenes here. We also consider the artistic direction of the drawing, which, despite being done by two different animation studios, is remarkably consistent. I was particularly impressed with the sound, and a wonderful score as well. The Spider-Pig song is never going to go away. Five out of six.

Overall: It’s not brilliantly witty or satirical or insightful or anything like that. It’s just very, very funny. Five out of six.

The Simpsons Movie receives a grand total of thirty-four out of forty-two.

4 replies on “Film Review: The Simpsons Movie”

  1. It was okay…
    Funny show, most jokes were up there with some of the best Simpsons gags, the animation was beautiful and I thought the writing was tighter than Eldhrin let on… but overall it was just okay. Nothing spectacular.

    I’d hoped for more development like what we got with South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut in 1999, something that not only gives us what we know but also builds upon it with long-lasting effects which reverberate into the TV series as it goes on. Not only that, I expect to see/get things they can’t deliver in the TV series, such as the profanity in SPBLaU but instead we get very little such as Homer giving the middle finger and Marge saying "God Damn". Mind you, I loved Bart getting drunk on whiskey.

    Basically, although it’s not completely a bad thing, I doubt there’ll be any impact on the regular series from the movie, which is a pity since there are some wonderful setup lines like Ralph saying "I like men now!" as Bart skateboards naked past him.

    • Re: It was okay…
      Oops, and I forgot Bart’s doodle… that’s definitely something they’d not be able to show in the regular series.

    • Re: It was okay…

      …there are some wonderful setup lines like Ralph saying "I like men now!" as Bart skateboards naked past him.

      Ah, but you forget that they’re living together in Bart to the Future.

  2. Humming?
    A good chunk of the theater was singing. Including me!

    Unrelated: I thought the sound had a lot of problems, but it must have been the theater I saw it in. Some of the voices seemed … detacted somehow … from the rest of the soundtrack, in a way disturbing enough to take me out of the movie. Lisa and Marge’s voices in particular.

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