Saturday, July 28, 2007

Maths Teacher Goes to the Movies: The Simpsons Movie

Finally, a movie that isn't a sequel... er, except I suppose it is of sorts.

How's the movie?
Well, I enjoyed it, but the bar is set pretty high when it comes to the TV show, so I can't help but feel a tad disappointed overall. I mean, it's way funnier than Shrek the Third, but you'd expect that. Plenty of laughs but oddly enough it ends up being the plot that gets in the way, particularly towards the end of the movie. And why so few guest stars? Overall it feels a little like a single episode stretched out, and I'm absolutely certain that the TV show could "do" this plot in 20 minutes, and that it would be more enjoyable for it. By all means go see it, but there are times it's a bit... meh.

Then again maybe I'm being too harsh. It may well be the funniest movie I'll see all year. And they still manage to have a go at Fox Television. But maybe that's part of the problem: the TV show is brilliant at playing with and subverting the medium of TV (if you will), whereas the movie doesn't do the same for the film medium, excepting gags at the start and close of the movie. (One word of advice here: don't leave until the credits have finally finished or you'll miss hearing Maggie's first word - a very funny moment.)

How's the maths
Well, there's an amusing example of Arnold Schwarzenegger coping with very basic arithmetic - encouraging to see he knows that if you double two, you get four.

Can I teach with it?
A large part of the plot concerns a dome placed over the town of Springfield, so there's a few opportunities to pose questions on hemispheres, and maybe even centripetal motion if you're feeling really brave. But the most interesting thing here is how direct proportion doesn't apply: the movie is roughly equal in length to three TV episodes, but I can't help feeling there's more laughs to be had in the latter than the former.

Overall score?
Well, bear in mind it's always difficult to be precise when giving movie ratings, and that any attempt to quantify creativity or enjoyment is doomed to failure... so overall I give this movie e + 1 out of five stars, which rounds (up) to four stars.

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