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SIMPSONS MOVIE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Springfield's lake is so polluted by dumped rubbish it needs help - but Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) is too selfish to care, and when he dumps his newly found pet pig's silo-size poo container into it, it reaches the 'tipping point' and Springfield becomes an environmental disaster zone. Marge (voice of Julie Kavner) is outraged by Homer's monumental blunder, and a vengeful mob descends on the Simpson household. In Washington, U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger (voice of Harry Shearer) send Environmental Protection Agency head Russ Cargill (voice of Albert Brooks) to clean up the town - which he does, in dramatic, draconian fashion. Homer has to find it in himself to save the town and reunite his family - if he can rise above his natural state of lazy stupidity.

Review by Louise Keller:
Clever, cutting and irrepressible, The Simpsons Movie hits the big screen with all the humour and panache we have come to expect from the series. Playing on the notion that two minds are greater than one, eleven screenwriters have huddled together to come up with a concept that is large enough, topical enough and sustainable enough to have audiences dropping their donuts in delight. Environmental issues magnified to Simpsonesque proportions are the focus of the story and the result is quirky, witty and filled with hilarious throwaways. The integrity of the characters remains intact and those distinctive voices are a reassuring reminder of good times past and present. And of course at the heart of it all is the unshakeable bond of the world's most lovable and dysfunctional family.

The first endearing thing about the movie is that it identifies the leap from tv series to movie and immediately includes us in the joke. Yes, here we are paying to see something that we could see free on television (we're all suckers!), and there is Bart busily writing 'I will not illegally download this movie' a hundred times on the school blackboard. Then we leap into the daily lives of the Simpsons. There's a funny sequence in which Bart goes skateboarding naked (to satisfy a dare from Homer), Lisa meets an Irish muso who shares her love of the environment, baby Maggie shows her smarts, Homer rescues and adopts a pig, and Marge hides their wedding video in her bee-hive of blue locks. Politics, religion and family relationships jostle jovially for screen time and President Schwarzenegger's philosophy of 'I lead, not read,' when presented with five options to determine the fate of environmentally compromised Springfield, results in its dome-isolation predicament.

Highlights include a family exodus to Alaska for a fresh start, an Innuit throat singing epiphany and a romantic interlude between Homer and Marge, when the bluebirds of happiness and Bambi help set the mood. It's jam-packed with inventive ideas and wonderfully obtuse, madcap moments. Baby Maggie even utters her first word during the closing credits, which will no doubt have cash registers pinging furiously in anticipation. Catering for all ages, The Simpsons Movie happily bridges the generation gap, using hilarity to counter life's woes.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fans of The Simpsons (18 years a TV hit) will need no encouragement to spend longer time with this dysfunctional family, as it splinters after an outrageously stupid act by Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta). The question is: can the makers sustain an episode for almost 90 minutes. The answer is: pretty much. All the trademarks are in place, with a variety of targets spoofed in seemingly undisciplined raids across, through and under the main storyline.

With the environment as its central story catalyst, The Simpsons Movie is like a magnet for issues and themes that resonate with US viewers - and with others in the West. There is nothing sacred, nothing too respected and nothing that can't be made the butt of a joke or two. Not even evangelical fits in church. The father-son relationship between Homer and Bart (Nancy Cartwright) gets a good going over, but there is also a new relationship to savour - the one between Homer and his new pet pig. (No animals were harmed ...)

There is lunacy, mayhem, chuckles and laughter as Springfield becomes a prison to contain its pollution, a surprise solution by the Environment Protection Agency. Pushing ideas to their limit, the writers have linked several story strands into a chain that holds audiences firmly connected to this familiar family from purgatory.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SIMPSONS MOVIE, THE (M)
(US, 2007)

VOICES: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardly Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Albert Brooks, Minnie Driver, Kelsey Grammer, Billie Joe Armstrong, Erin Brokovich Ellis

PRODUCER: Richard Sakai, Mike Scully, Craig Sost

DIRECTOR: David Silverman

SCRIPT: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks & others

MUSIC: Hans Zimmer

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dima Malanitchev

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 26, 2007







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