Nevertheless, here we are... with a "Simpsons" movie that not only doesn't suck, but is actually good. Like, really good. As in, "close to early Simpson's seasons" good. Does that mean it's perfect? Not at all, but considering that there have been over 400 episodes of material already used up, the fact that the film managed to reach the level of quality that it did is nothing short of a miracle. Fans should be grateful.
Plot-wise, THE SIMPSONS MOVIE doesn't cover any territory that the show hasn't traversed many times before (and done better). Instead, the writers opted for compiling several of the best story outlines you had come to expect from the show before it went downhill, and tying them all together in a nice package. You have Homer and Marge suffering marriage troubles (nothing new), Lisa falling head over heels over a boy, Bart wanting to become a Flanders, the family moving to Alaska, and then most prominently, there's an evil plot to destroy Springfield. Aside from two standout annoyances, everything works well.
My biggest complaint is the focus on a wedding tape between Homer and Marge, which offers no emotional impact since I can't recall there ever being mention of it in the actual show. Also frustrating is Lisa's subplot, which despite offering some amusing moments, seems to exist on a completely different plane than the rest of the character's stories. Whereas the other subplots all tend to interconnect at some point, hers feels thrown in just because she was the only one without a storyline.
In terms of pure laughs-per-minute, the film is a rousing success. The jokes, as small as they occasionally are, come fast and furious, and go a long way to turning THE SIMPSONS MOVIE into what can essentially be called one of the show's best and most hilarious episodes; gags like the now infamous "Bart's penis" scene assure this. There's also a lot of great self-referential material, such as Homer mocking the audience for paying to see a film they get on TV for free, as well as another addition to those classic bashings of Fox, that help remind us why we love "The Simpsons" to begin withónot that we ever needed that.
Audio Commentary (with creator Matt Groening, director David Silverman, writers Al Jean and Mike Scully, and voice actors Dan Castellaneta, James L. Brooks, and Yeardley Smith): Anybody who listened to the audio commentaries on "The Simpsons" season DVDs knows, these guys know how to give a great commentary track. They're open, lively, and fun speakers that discuss everything from the making of the film, coming up with the jokes, the storyline, and everything else you may have interest in. Sometimes they even pause the film so they can talk elaborate on specific scenes or moments.
Audio Commentary (with director David Silverman and sequence directors Mike B. Anderson, Steven Dean Moore, and Rich Moore): Another top-notch track, this one much more focused on the technical side of things than the last.
Deleted Scenes (5:13): There are 6 scenes, all of which are fully animated (as opposed to storyboarded), and introduced by writer Al Jean. They're amusing, but not essential. The most interesting thing here is the alternate character animation for the film's EPA villain.
Special Stuff (3:26): There are 4 segments available to watch, including Homer introducing/judging "American Idol," giving a monologue on "The Tonight Show," and enjoying himself in a parody of that "Letís All Go to the Lobby" ad.
Also included are all 5 of the film's Theatrical Trailers.