PLOT SYNOPSIS

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 5 options, forcing 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?

THE MOVIE

158 drafts were written for The Simpsons Movie, a project that was almost 2 decades in the making. And finally after all that work, creator Matt Groening and his team of talented writers have finally brought Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and all the other denizens of Springfield to the big screen — and it appears that draft 158 was just right. The Simpsons Movie stormed into theaters where it was met with praise from die hard fans and critics alike, all appreciating the film as an extension of the television show. It is a film that gave us everything we expected from a 2 hour episode of The Simpsons — nothing more, nothing less. Thankfully, par for the course for Groening and Co. is still good enough to rank The Simpsons Movie among the top animated flicks of the year.

VIDEO QUALITY

With the sharpness and beautiful detail of Blu-ray, the animation of The Simpsons has never looked better. But then again, what do you expect? The transfer of the animation over to 1080p gives the film a visual pop, but it is not complex animation. With other releases this year, namely Pixar’s Ratatouille, the animation was lifted to the next level in High Definition. With The Simpsons on the other hand, there really isn’t much that separates HD from SD — as any viewer of the Fox network HD broadcasts can tell you.

AUDIO QUALITY

As with the video quality, the audio mix on Blu-ray version of this film works because there isn’t much to it. From the moment you hear The Simpsons theme song to the rendition of “Spider Pig” in the closing credits, there is nothing significant either way about this 5.1 audio mix. Every “Doh!” is delivered as crisply as it will ever be delivered, but that isn’t saying much. From an audio standpoint — there is nothing that separates the Blu-ray release from say, the standard DVD.

SPECIAL FEATURES

This is where things begin to go downhill quick for The Simpsons Movie Blu-ray release. Using common and simple logic, you would think that the Blu-ray release, with its massive storage capacity compared to a regular DVD, would have a few more special features for us to enjoy. In this particular case, it does not — a factor that may leave you staring at your receipt wondering why you paid the extra $15 to see Homer Simpson in High-Def. There are a few deleted scenes, all of which clearly deserved to be cut from the end product, and a few little clips in the “Special Stuff” section of the disc. One clip shows Homer filling in for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, something we’ve already seen on YouTube a thousand times; and the other is a clip of a Simpson-ized American Idol show — lame.

Adding to all of that are the 6 trailers for the film that range from 30-second TV spots to the full theatrical trailer. Now don’t get me wrong here, I do think trailers belong on a DVD. But 6 trailers from a recent film? Seriously? I love seeing trailers for films like Mel Brooks’ The History of the World Pt. I and Monty Python’s The Life of Brian because it shows how the film was marketed in its day — but 6 trailers for The Simpsons Movie?! Come on Fox, you could have found something else to fill that disc space. Even a season 7 preview for 24 would have been sufficient.

THE HD EXPERIENCE

In the end, this is one of the most disappointing Blu-ray releases since the inception of the format. All of the special features mirror those of the standard release, and that is just plain unacceptable. When we pony up $30 for a Blu-ray movie we expect something different. We want something we can’t get in the $15 version of the film. Are you taking notes Fox? This reviewer certainly hopes so, because if this trend continues — if you continue to rush out releases with lackluster special features — then you will certainly continue to throw away your opportunity to help move the Blu-ray format along. If I didn’t enjoy this movie so much, I would surely be asking for my money back.

Grade: D


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