Awaiting The Simpsons Movie
DANIEL 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

FILM 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 were.

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 even contemplate.

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Disclaimer: This article is from the March 3rd, 2004 edition of The Advertiser's '7 Days' liftout in Adelaide, South Australia. It has been posted here for general information purposes and no profit is being made from this article. Visit The Advertiser/Sunday Mail website here.


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