The Simpsons Movie R1 DVD review

An early gift of The Simpsons Movie on DVD seems to have cured Ron of his Christmas hatred... at least for a little while

The Simpsons finally hit the big screen...

Thanks to some wonderful and well-meaning relatives, I’ve picked up a copy of The Simpsons Movie on DVD without having to fight through the traffic of the holiday season to pick it up. Of course, it is full screen and not my beloved widescreen, but I’ve long resolved to never look a gift horse in the mouth. Plus since it didn’t come with a receipt, I have no idea where they got it and I am incredibly impatient to finally see the bloody movie, let’s tear it open!

The white slip cover is fairly iconic now. Homer eating the O in Movie in doughnut form. We’ve all seen it for months now. The actual DVD case looks exactly the same way, so it’s nothing special. However, the insert slip in the package more than makes up for it.

The insert is an edition of the Springfield Shopper, made out of actual tabloid-weight paper. Springfield is celebrating its angriest mob ever, with a picture and accompanying article in amusing newspaper style. Homer Simpson also has his turn, writing in Critic’s Corner about… well, his very confused memories of Star Wars being a parody of Spaceballs, and Indiana Jones. It’s a fun way to start things off, to be sure. Then I opened the pamphlet.

Inside the fold-out is a stunning array of advertisements for Simpsons-related products: The Simpsons video game, free Simpsons wallpaper for your mobile phone, a Simpsons ride coming to Universal Theme Parks, an advertisement for Simpsons series 1-10 boxed sets (with a coupon, to be fair), and an advertisement for the Simpsons’ online shop (and a 10% off coupon). Even in small print on the back of the DVD is a note advertising The Simpsons on television, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 16 years. There’s even a pre-movie commercial for The Simpsons on Fox! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s shameless self-promotion.

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Ron Hogan hates shameless self-promotion. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics.

Homer is relaxing on top of the selection menu, and a click of play movie sends him rolling off the top and crashing through the floor. We get the FBI warning, a note from the EPA, and Ralph humming us the fanfare for 20th Century Fox.

The DVD is just a standard vanilla release, but the movie looks great and sounds great. The show really benefits from the cinema treatment and the greater depth and coloration allowed by the time and technology (and budget) of movies. It’s the show but more than the show in terms of some of the shots they use and the background work snuck in by the animators, which is discussed at length in the commentary with Al Jean, Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Yeardley Smith, Dan Castellanetta, and other associated writers.

There is also a good supply of other content added to the DVD, especially for a standard release. There are all five trailers released for the film sorted by date, two commentaries (director and writer/actor), six deleted or alternate scenes, and four promotional pieces done to advertise the movie, including Homer on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, the Simpsons take on American Idol, and a concession stand commercial joke that hopefully was shown in the theaters.

All in all, it’s a good release of a very good movie. There are pacing issues, and there could’ve been more extras, but maybe I expect too much for a movie that hasn’t had time enough to become a cult classic (I’d argue that it should’ve gotten a special edition right out of the box, but I’m sure they were rushing it out for the holiday shopping season). If you have sufficiently large socks, it’d make a good stocking stuffer for the cartoon geek in your life.

Movie

4 out of 5
Extras

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3 out of 5

Ron Hogan really hopes that shameless self-promotion joke earlier worked. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics.

Rating:

4 out of 5