The Simpsons Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the flick looked great.
Sharpness seemed immaculate. If any soft spots materialized, I didn’t see them, as I thought the film was concise and distinctive at all times. No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to occur, as the movie was consistently clean and fresh.
With a bright, varied palette, the colors of Simpsons looked terrific. The movie showed vibrant tones at all times and really leapt to life. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I found myself very pleased with this exceedingly satisfying transfer.
Although the audio of The Simpsons Movie wasn’t quite so stunning, the soundtrack worked well. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix definitely expanded on the limited audio heard during TV episodes. The soundfield got the biggest bump. We heard an environment that broadened the settings to a satisfying degree, especially during the smattering of action scenes. The opening Itchy and Scratchy cartoon launched things with a bang – literally – and a few sequences such as the explosive climax managed to bring real breadth to the proceedings.
Since this was The Simpsons, though, you shouldn’t expect a ton of these scenes. Instead, general atmosphere ruled the day, with nice environmental information throughout the film. Music showed good stereo imaging and the whole flick presented a solid sense of place.
Audio quality always worked well. Speech was natural and crisp, with no edginess or other issues. Music sounded bouncy and bright, while effects demonstrated fine delineation. Those elements seemed tight and accurate, and they displayed very nice bass response when appropriate. The occasional loud bit managed to show impressive low-end material. While I wouldn’t call this a dazzling auditory experience, Simpsons was good enough for a “B+”.
How did the picture and audio of the Blu-ray compare to those of the DVD? I thought the audio was a wash. Yeah, the Blu-ray boasted a lossless mix, but I didn’t think it added much to the package. The movie didn’t go with a super-deluxe soundtrack, so a little extra oomph didn’t make the Blu-ray’s audio substantially better.
The visuals got a bigger boost, however. I thought the DVD looked great – for a DVD. The Blu-ray really took advantage of the format’s possibilities, though, as it demonstrated consistently stellar delineation and clarity. The movie looked absolutely terrific and made the DVD seem fuzzy by comparison.
Both DVD and Blu-ray include the same supplements. We get two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director David Silverman, co-writers-/co-producers Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, and Mike Scully, and actors Dan Castellaneta and Yeardley Smith. All of them sit together for this running, screen-specific track, though Smith doesn’t join until about 18 minutes into the chat. They discuss story, script and joke issues, guest cast and performances, character design, test screenings and ratings concerns, music, editing and cut/altered scenes, technical issues, and a few other elements.
With all those participants, you’d hope to get a lot of good information, and the commentary delivers. It fills its running time with many useful notes, and for once, the actors provide more than a few of those. During the TV commentaries, the voice actors usually don’t say much. While that proves true a lot of the time here, we do finally get some good thoughts from them about what it’s like to work in the animation medium and aspects of their craft. Smith and Castellaneta offer true insight when they speak. Add those moments to many other solid tidbits and this becomes a worthwhile discussion.
Note that unlike a typical commentary, this one occasionally pauses the action. The participants do so to allow for additional discussion of various elements. This means that the 86-minute flick becomes a 101-minute commentary. No such pausing occurs during the second track, though.
For the second commentary, we hear from director David Silverman and sequence directors Mike B. Anderson, Steven Dean Moore and Rich Moore. All four sit together for their running, screen-specific piece. They look at various technical issues as well as the challenges of a movie versus the TV show, changes that came with the project as it went, and some story topics.
Without question the biggest problem with this commentary comes from all the happy talk. From start to finish, we get far too many remarks about how the participants love this or that. It gets old pretty quickly and means we learn less about the film than I’d like. There’s still some good content here, and it’s enough to keep us involved, but I’d prefer more meat and less praise.
Six deleted scenes fill a total of five minutes, 13 seconds. (That total also includes a 23-second introduction from Al Jean.) We find “Levels” (1:44), “Springfield News” (0:39), “DMV” (0:45), “Sausage Truck” (0:37), “Emperor Moe” (0:24) and “Slightly Alternate Ending” (0:41). “Levels” shows Russ Cargill’s attempts to clarify a simple point to the president, while “News” and “DMV” depict the effects of dome isolation. “DMV” also gives us an appearance from Patty and Selma, both of whom go oddly absent from the final flick.
“Truck” offers an obvious gag connected to Homer’s attempts to return to Springfield, and “Emperor” extends the scene when Marge runs into Moe. “Ending” indeed simply provides a slightly different version of the existing conclusion. Of all these, only “DMV” and perhaps “Emperor” would have worked in the end result. The others seem very disposable, though at least “Levels” lets us seen an alternate character design for Cargill.
Under Special Stuff, we find four elements. We discover “Homer’s Monologue on The Tonight Show (1:35), “The Simpsons Judge American Idol” (0:58), “Homer Introduces American Idol” (0:34) and “The Lobby” (0:20). All of these existed to promote the film, and they’re fun to see. “Judge” stands as the most entertaining of the bunch.
Within A Lot of Trailers, we get… a lot of trailers. Five of them, to be precise, as the section presents “Announcement Trailer” (March 2006 – 0:28), “Bunny Trailer 1” (11/06 – 1:24), “Bunny Trailer 2” (11/06 – 1:05), “The Line/Teaser Trailer” (2/07 – 2:16) and “Theatrical Trailer” (6/07 – 1:49). “Announcement” is the best of the bunch, though all have their moments.
A few ads open the disc. We get promos for Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Futurama: Bender’s Big Score.
If fans expect a real laughfest from The Simpsons Movie, they’ll probably encounter disappointment. While amusing and enjoyable, the film never quite delivers the level of cleverness and wit we want. It feels like a slightly above average episode and nothing more. The Blu-ray gives us excellent picture, very nice audio and a pretty decent roster of extras. Though the movie doesn’t live up to the best of The Simpsons, it’s good enough to earn a moderate recommendation.
For those who enjoy the film, the Blu-ray is the way to go. If you already own the DVD, I think the Blu-ray is worth the upgrade, as the visuals just look stunning. I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade.
To rate this film visit the original review of THE SIMPSONS MOVIE