Popular Broadway actor Gary Johnston is recruited by the elite counter-terrorism organization Team America: World Police. As the world begins to crumble around him, he must battle with terrorists, celebrities and falling in love.
Kazakh TV talking head Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson.
Homer adopts a pig who's run away from Krusty Burger after Krusty tried to have him slaughtered, naming the pig "Spider Pig." At the same time, the lake is protected after the audience sink the barge Green Day are on with garbage after they mention the environment. Meanwhile, Spider Pig's waste has filled up a silo in just 2 days, apparently with Homer's help. Homer can't get to the dump quickly so dumps the silo in the lake, polluting it. Russ Cargill, the villainous boss of the EPA, gives Arnold Schwarzenegger, president of the USA, 5 options and forces him to choose 4 (which is, unfortunately, to destroy Springfield) and putting a dome over Springfield to prevent evacuation. Homer, however, has escaped, along with his family. Can he stop the evil Cargill from annihilating his home town, and his family, who have been forced to return to Springfield? Written by
An incendiary, hilarious, and ultimately anticlimactic ride
For all the creativity crammed into one half-hour episode of "The Simpsons," I am probably not alone in saying that the show's creative apex bottomed out when it stopped being a "funny sitcom" and became a "cultural phenomenon"--it's been years since I've sat in front of the TV on a Sunday night with the primary interest of being wowed by Matt Groening's brainchild. When the show first began in 1989, the Bart-friendly T-shirts and pins seemed borne out of uncertainty over the show's staying power; these days, with the show's position in the TV canon firmly established, your Xbox games are designed for little more than feeding the "Simpsons" cash cow. That being said, I revisit the show every once in a while (via taped weekday-afternoon reruns of earlier seasons), and very much appreciate it--the sense of satire is sly, incendiary, and often very funny. Some critics cite horror films as being able to express social concerns that would be difficult to convey in other genres; "The Simpsons" would be another arena (and easily the more critically acclaimed).
So, after years of hype, this cultural phenomenon has spawned a film (aptly titled "The Simpsons Movie") that most fans will no doubt consider 'belated.' As a laid-back viewer with an appreciation of the show, the end result is frequently "LOL" hilarious, but not very endearing (honestly, I had forgotten most of the gags by the time I was out of the theater and walking to my car). The best I can say is, "it's like a really good episode of the TV show" rather than "a great film," though I guess that's complimentary enough. I will pick up the DVD once it's released, and be reminded all over of why the film succeeded in its primary goal of clever laughs.
It begins with an excellent jab at the film's own existence, courtesy of Homer ("Why pay for something we can watch on TV for free?" indeed!), then delves into a plot that is as incendiary as anything the yellow-tinged family has tackled: an environmental crisis strikes Springfield when Homer dumps a silo a pig feces in a lake that's been recently de-contaminated, inspiring outrage from the citizens and the government (headed by President Schwarzenegger, though I kept thinking "President McBain"), whose EPA liaison (voiced by Albert Brooks, who also guest-voiced the similar "Hal Scorpio" years ago) covers the contaminated city in a huge Plexiglas dome. Before you can say "Al Gore eats yellow snow," the Simpsons escape through a literal sinkhole and make tracks for Alaska as renegades from the law, only to find themselves returning to rescue their idyllic American home.
Which ultimately isn't much different than what you would find in an average episode of "The Simpsons." This is a film that knows its audience, but also successfully provides an initiation for those who (for some strange reason) have never seen the show. The animation is fluid, colorful, and uber-glossy, and the writing is on par with the better episodes (the mantra remains "anything goes" in "Simpson"-world); some intriguing character twists aside, the film overall neither exceeds nor diminishes the expectations of those who expect everything and those who expect nothing. It's a fun summer film, but not an outstanding blockbuster of endearing quality...you'll laugh heartily and maybe feel moved, but the relatively short running time is both a blessing and a curse--while you will be sufficiently guffawed-out by the end credits, "The Simpsons Movie" leaves a viewer yearning for more. I suppose that's as good an indication as any to go back to the tapes.
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