Old Notes On DVDs: Part 3

[Seems like I’ve got even more of these old DVD reviews than I thought, so apologies for discussing films that are not really relevant.]

The Simpsons Movie

The only question to be answered about this film – was it worth the wait? As Homer says at the beginning of the film, why pay to see something you can see for free? It’s difficult to come to a Simpsons movie fresh when the television series has been part of the cultural landscape for so long. Would fans want to watch a film as much as a good episode of the show?

The film tries hard to escape the confines of the small screen – the scope of the story is bigger and the camera moves more fluidly and cinematically – but there is still the feel of television hovering over it. There is even a joke about it – at the end of the second act (which feels like the end of the second episode) has a caption come up: ‘TO BE CONTINUED’ only to be followed by ‘IMMEDIATELY’.

The film is big – Homer causes the polluted lake to go into meltdown, which causes Springfield to be sealed within a dome. The town wants to lynch him, but he and the family escape to Alaska for a new life. Except the EPA wants to destroy Springfield, and only the Simpsons can save the day …

The Simpsons Movie is extremely funny in places, especially when it’s not having to concentrate on the plot or the character arcs – the beauty of the naked Bart skateboarding scene, where exquisite timing of the hiding of his genitals is made even funnier by the hedge which has been strategically cut to reveal his family jewels for the rest of his trip. The screen is packed with jokes (the ‘Binge Responsibly’ sign on the Duff blimp; the bar in Alaska is Eski Moe’s) and there is a wonderful cameo from Tom Hanks, but the film never completely breaks free from the boundaries of its television origins.

Rating: DVD

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My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Anna Faris – it is so sad to see these people in this film, especially when you see that Ivan Reitman has lost any comedic touch he once had. Izzard continues his amazing streak of bad film choices. Wilson, who loses all his charm and talent when he makes a film that is just paying rent, starts a relationship with Thurman after helping her after her handbag is snatched. The fling doesn’t last long after Thurman reveals she is Go-Girl, a superheroine who got her powers from a meteorite. (Her archenemy is Izzard, her former best friend in school until the meteor powers made her beautiful and popular, and so he is out for revenge.) Thurman becomes a nut-job ex, stalking Wilson and throwing a shark into his apartment (which is creative if nothing else). Meanwhile, Wilson has fallen for Farris, playing the best-friend-he-works-with-who-is-beautiful-funny-and-obviously-loves-him role, which annoys Thurman even more. Things come to a head when Izzard gets Wilson to help him to remove Thurman’s powers, which then gets shared with Farris and Thurman in an unfunny climax. Izzard realises he still loves Thurman and so everyone pairs off. Sigh. This is perfect evidence that high concept doesn’t equal a good film. This flops from one part to the next with little charm or passion. There are few laughs and the lack of interest means that all concerned will want to forget this film as quickly as you will.

Rating: DA

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Hellboy: Sword of Storms

This is an enjoyable animated film that doesn’t follow the Hellboy canon but comes up with a new story, a small tale from his background. There is a nice diversion into Japanese folklore. The format allows a little more action and fighting, which is one of the joys of animation. The visual style is not based on Mignola’s art styles, but an animation artist’s interpretation. It’s okay but it doesn’t feel like Hellboy. The voice cast is from the films, which is nice continuity, but it’s a slight story, with little weight; however, it’s always good to see more Hellboy, which works well in the animated format, but it’s not a film-worthy story.

Rating: DVD

[See here for my updated film rating system]

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