The long anticipated Simpsons Movie finds the fate of Springfield — the suburban setting that has been home to "The Simpsons" clan for more than 18 years — hanging in the balance when Homer and his new pet pig inadvertently cause a major ecological disaster in their hometown. Forced to flee, it is up to the paunchy patriarch to save his family, the Springfield community and possibly... the world.
For more about The Simpsons Movie and the The Simpsons Movie Blu-ray release, see the The Simpsons Movie Blu-ray Review published by Greg Maltz on December 26, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
You won't see more wrinkles in Grandpa Simpson's face nor the fabric texture of Ned Flanders'
knit sweater in greater detail, but The Simpsons Movie on BD is well worth checking out. The
punchy and dynamic. The picture is, too. And the story is what you'd expect after more than 15
years worth of prime-time slapstick drama and shenanigans. With epithets like "eat my shorts" and
"d'oh!" becoming part of pop culture lexicon, few shows have had as much influence or fanfare. In
the Simpsons' first foray to the silver screen, the beloved antihero Homer manages to doom
Springfield to destruction, but can he overcome being ostracized and avert the power of the federal
government to save Springfield and all its inhabitants? The fate of The Simpsons rests in Homer's
The people of Springfield, including Lisa, Homer, Bart, Marge and Maggie Simpson (center, from left)
stare on in bewilderment as an enormous dome is airlifted over their town.
The story kicks off as Springfield faces an environmental crisis. Excessive dumping and pollution
have brought Springfield's lake to the brink of disaster. Mayor Quimby, whose voice has always
spoofed the Kennedies, issues a decree stipulating that dumping in the lake will end. He erects
barriers around the lake's perimeter to ensure no further pollution. Of course, idiot-proof is
not the same as Homer-proof, and Mr. Simpson manages to break through the barriers to dump
dung into the lake. Pushed beyond the limits of toxicity, the lake begins to cause animal
The U.S. EPA, with go-ahead from the president, must act to protect the
rest of the country from the environmental hazard. An enormous dome is
over Springfield. Not surprisingly, the town's citizens are angered at being cut off from the outside
world. They quickly discover that Homer brought this disaster upon them and form a torch-
wielding lynch mob to come
after the Simpsons. With some drama, the family manages to escape from the dome through a
tiny sinkhole and make their way to Alaska. Homer is content in his new life but Marge's sense of
morality leads her to return
to Springfield without Homer. Meanwhile, Springfield has deteriorated rapidly and the EPA plans
destroy it to cover up the dome fiasco. Alone, and faced with the challenge of saving his family
and all of Springfield, Homer tackles the crisis head-on, with slapstick results.
As Ned Flanders might say, the video is "scrum-diddly-umptious". The novelty of seeing The
Simpsons in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio is quite a draw in itself. After all these years, the
show's producers can spread out beyond the 1.33:1 limits they have faced since The Simpsons
inception. As always, where the
DVD version has 480i resolution, the Blu-ray features 1080p--and that may be all the reason
needed to make your selection, given that both versions were released the same day. The BD's
solid and vibrant,
with good contrast and black level. Some viewers claim to observe banding around edges, but this
reviewer detected none of that. The picture is clean. Not surprisingly, no motion artifacts are to be
seen either, as the imagery and animation are very straightforward. By that token, the imagery is
virtually grain-free. If that's how you like your HT experience, this might be the best picture you've
ever seen, with bold colors and dramatic motion. Watch the scene where Bart must take Homer's
dare to skateboard nude through town. Objects and people in the cartoon fly by, but the
presentation remains rock solid, with no smearing or pixelation.
The DTS-HD 5.1 mix, with 24-bit resolution (albeit at only 48 kHz) is among the most aggressive
and forward presentations offered on BD. The voices and music are in-your-face and feature more
definition than Simpsons fans are accustomed to from TV broadcasts. At first, this foreword
jolt and some may find it jarring, but it is a good upgrade to a cinematic level. Listen to the bass
rumble as the helicopters airlift the barrier dome over Springfield. It nearly rivals the effects of the
most dynamic action film. Actually, the mix may be a bit bottom heavy and rolled-off on top. It does
not sound perfectly natural, but to expect more from an animated feature is a bit silly. Still, one
can't help but wonder whether producing the DTS-HD with a sampling rate of 96 or 192 kHz would
make the audio more lifelike and relaxed within the soundstage. The tastefully mixed
surround presentation is for the most part spot-on in its use of rear channels.
While the DVD version includes the same set of extras as the Blu-ray, the latter gets a nice
upgrade to 1080p. So Fox deserves some thanks for this. Still, there is not a whole lot to get
excited about. The most worthwhile supplements are the two audio commentaries. One track
showcases Simpsons creators James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, producers Al Jean and Mike
Scully, director David Silverman and voices Dan Castellaneta and Yeardley Smith. The second
audio commentary track features Silverman and writers/producers Mike B. Anderson, Steven
Dean Moore and Rich Moore. Both tracks are instructive, but I don't see a heck of a lot of draw for
Simpsons fans who simply want to be entertained. Do we really need to know the screenplay
went through 152 drafts and rewrites? Or hear the constant jesting of principles from the first
audio track or the more sober commentary of the second track? While it's interesting and
informative, its main audience lies firmly in the camp of die-hard fans who thrive on Simpsons
An alternate ending and six other deleted scenes in 1080p, totally five minutes, are introduced by
Al Jean. As is the case more often than not, one easily gets the gist of why these were deleted.
They are not particularly entertaining, nor central to any plot development. Of only moderately
more entertainment value is the inclusion of four minutes worth of TV guest appearances such as
Homer's appearance on The Tonight Show and American Idol. Four theatrical trailers and one
teaser are also included.
Several Easter Egg bonuses have been found. They can be difficult to access, but keep trying.
When in the "Audio Setup" menu, select the English DTS 5.1 option, but instead of pressing
"enter", press "up". A donut icon appears and you can access a Simpsons spoof of THX vignette
by pressing "enter" with the donut icon highlighted. Another set of eggs is accessible from the
BD's pop-up menu. Highlight the "Play Movie" option and press "down". Then hit "enter" to
access "visual developments" supplements featuring the mutant fish from the lake and Lisa's
boyfriend. Two more vignettes can be selected from the subsequent two options from the main
menu, "audio setup" and "special features". As described, highlight them and press "left" to
underline the option. Then hit "enter".
While The Simpsons Movie provided two solid hours of entertainment and laughs and the video
quality was great, it was a bit of a
letdown. In a recent episode on The Simpsons time slot of 8:00 p.m., Sunday evening, Homer was
pushed off a bridge and, as he fell, his life passed before his eyes. That two-minute sequence was
funnier than anything in The Simpson's Movie. Since the early 1990s, the show has earned a
reputation for pushing the barriers of prime
time, network TV. Yet in the film, the show's creators had no such barrier as the FCC and what did
come up with? Not much, in the way of taking chances. While it certainly had a few uncomfortable
reference to pedophelia, and a separate, silly exposure of Bart's penis--The Simpsons Movie made no
real attempt to push the envelope. Sure, there was the requisite bashing and demonization of the
government, but that has almost become a prerequisite for any Hollywood production. It would
have been nice to see the movie's creators stretch out and give us something we really weren't
expecting. Maybe in The Simpsons Movie 2?
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to The Simpsons Movie. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to The Simpsons Movie in the search box below.