Fox // 1989 // 112 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 30th, 2005
Firing Range Instructor: Since you attended public school I'm going to assume you're already proficient with small arms, so we'll start you off with something a little more advanced. (Hands Bart a rocket launcher)
Just in time to cash in on Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, here's a collection of The Simpsons episodes with Star Wars-themed artwork entitled The Simpsons: Bart Wars. It's a dubious move, since only one of these episodes has a Star Wars reference -- and it's not the main focus of the show. So basically we get one episode that has already been released as part of the season sets, and three episodes that have not yet been released (but soon will be). The transfers are okay, and the sound option is a standard surround mix. The only way you'd want to purchase the disc is if you want a less expensive sampler instead of a whole season, or if one of the shows is a personal favorite. There are no commentaries on any of the episodes, and the only extra is a look at some animatics from the last episode on the disc.
The episodes included in The Simpsons: Bart Wars include:
* "Dog of Death" (Season 3 -- aired 3/3/1992.)
The family dog, Santa's Little Helper, is sick and needs an expensive operation. After springing for the procedure, the Simpsons resent it -- and him -- so much that he runs away. The dog ends up working for Mr. Burns as part of the infamous hounds (as in "Smithers, release the hounds"), until Bart and his best friend are reunited.
* "Marge Be Not Proud" (Season 7 -- aired 12/17/1995.)
Bart is desperate to get his hands on a new video game. He resorts to shoplifting it, but is caught red-handed. When the family goes to the same store for their Christmas portrait, Marge is embarrassed to learn of her son's crime.
* "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" (Season 8 -- aired
Bart is sent to an all-male military school. Lisa soon follows him there, to prove that girls can hack it too. Will she be able to survive "The Eliminator"?
* "Mayored to the Mob" (Season 9 -- aired 12/20/1998)
The Simpsons head off to the Springfield Bi-Monthly Science Fiction Convention (a.k.a. Bi-Mon Sci-Fi Con). Homer ends up saving Mark Hamill (doing a guest voice appearance as himself) from a pack of out-of-control Star Wars fans. Mayor Quimby ends up hiring Homer as a bodyguard to protect him from mobsters like Fat Tony.
I wouldn't dare take on television's longest running animated show and say anything besides "the episodes here are quite funny and well-written." That's a given with The Simpsons -- you can never go wrong with one of their products. The problem is that this seems like a callow cash grab rather than something collectors would rally for. It would have been better if more of the shows had a science fiction theme, but there's minimal attention paid to the "why" of why these four episodes were thrown together on the collection. Other collections of episodes have concentrated on a holiday theme, or had something else to unite them and make the shows a logical grouping. Do we grouse, or all fall in like lemmings and purchase the disc because of our completist urges and a rising tide of Star Wars mania? That's probably an individual call, but I found this batch one where I could resist the power of the (marketing) Force. I quickly snatched up the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes when they were put together, but this one doesn't do much other than give you some episodes that will not be out for a while on DVD. Is it enough?
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated