BRETTIG is just one of many Simpsons fans
hesitant about jumping for joy over the news of
a Simpsons movie in the works. Let's find out why
adaptations of top television shows
have a largely dubious history.
Many popular series had their legacy
soiled by pitiful film versions
that either sank without trace
at the box office or were panned
mercilessly by critics. Some (I'm
talking The Avengers here)
suffered from both those fates.
For this reason, it was with some trepidation that I took
the news that The Simpsons was to receive the
Hollywood treatment, with a film to be released as soon
as 2006. Over the course of its 15 years, the show has
come to be regarded as a wacky, yet strangely fitting monument
to its time. Some have even called it the greatest television
series of them all, a claim with some merit.
That said, The Simpsons is no longer at its peak
and, if anything, has been a victim of its own popularity.
Hordes of guest stars, from celebrities to heads of state,
have clamoured to slip in to the show's yellow cartoon
skin. This has combined with the inevitable problem of
long-running shows - keeping things fresh and original
- to result in television's favourite family becoming a
little tired and bloated. However, the show is rating as
strongly as ever, and fans jumped for joy at last year's
announcement that The Simpsons would run for at
least a further two years.
The idea of a celluloid Simpsons has been around since
George Bush Sr. was president. Series creator Matt Groening
has faced questions about a film on many occasions, and
never ruled out the possibility. So the decision to go
ahead is not a surprise, particularly given the strong
chance that any film would register eye popping numbers
at the box office.
But the question of "will it be successful?" is
less pressing than a more personal concern. Will it be good?
The show's writers have cited the film adaptation of South
Park, which simply amplified an episode of the regular
show to cinematic proportions.
Groening once said the South Park movie was the
only TV adaptation that he had ever liked, so it would
make sense for The Simpsons to retrace those steps. South
Park, however, had one advantage The Simpsons hasn't
had for some time. Freshness. The series was two years
old when the movie appeared.
For all its irreverence, The Simpsons is now a
veteran show alongside the likes of The Flintstones and Inspector
Gadget, and we all know how bad their adaptations
The best shot any Simpsons film has at success is to play
around with the idea of the bad film adaptation, and I
hope that's where the writers take it. I hope that's where
the writers take it. Any alternative is too worrying to
article is from the March 3rd,
2004 edition of The Advertiser's
'7 Days' liftout in Adelaide, South
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