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The Simpsons Movie
Ten years ago it would have been more fun
The Simpsons Movie
The Simpsons Family Star in Their Very Own Movie.
OPENING WEEKEND: $45,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $165,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

December 4th, 2006: In the typical suburban town of Springfield, the Simpson family is the epitome of the Middle American lifestyle. The oafish, but lovable Homer (Dan Castellaneta), his caring wife Marge (Julie Kavner), their geeky daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and their unruly son Bart (Nancy Cartwright), live through the amusing everyday adventures of a modern world. Thanks to his dim-wittedness and carelessness, Homer accidentally pollutes the local river with toxic waste from the nuclear power plant where he works. The outcome is catastrophic as it forces everyone in Springfield to evacuate, possibly forever. While the town tries to figure out what to do, an angry mob of homeless citizens takes their aggression out on the newly unemployed Homer.

What to Expect: To get all the necessary preliminaries out of the way, I will only state that the film is based on the longest-running animated series in history and the longest-running primetime show that has ever aired on television. “The Simpsons” is easily one of the most popular and influential programs of all time and to discuss any further would require an article the length of a novel so if anyone needs to go through beginners orientation, click here instead. Originally, in order to give everyone ample time to develop a worthy big-screen adaptation and to avoid interference with the quality of the weekly episodes, it was rumored that producers were waiting for the show to end before greenlighting the flick. Since the television program has recently been renewed for 2 more seasons and there appears to be no end in sight, it was probably a wise move to produce the movie alongside the series after all. David Silverman, who worked as co-director on Monsters, Inc. and The Road to El Dorado and directed several episodes of “The Simpsons,” has been picked to helm the feature film.

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Unsurprisingly, the plot for the long-anticipated big-screen adaptation has been held under wraps and no official synopsis has been released by Fox. The trailers, if they can be called that, don’t even feature any actual scenes from the movie and basically exist only to arouse a little interest by giving fans a dose of Homer’s typical tomfoolery. A couple of early, unfinished scenes that debuted at Comic Con in July provide the best look at what we can actually expect. One of the clips, which features Homer whipping a bunch of Husky sled dogs, is actually the funniest Simpsons material I have seen in years.

Plans for a feature-length film have actually existed for quite a long time, since the early days of the show. Prior to his death, Phil Hartman expressed interest in doing a live-action Troy McClure movie, which probably would have been a bad idea, but I could think of worse ways to spend a couple of hours. In fact it would be pretty nice to see that today, if only to have one more look at the great comedian. Producer-writer James L. Brooks originally believed that the classic “Kamp Krusty” episode was perfectly suitable for a full-length movie, but after the writers had problems expanding the script, it ended up as a regular 30-minute show. Plenty of rumors regarding the story have been circulating on the internet, but since Brooks announced that he wanted to keep things interesting by leaking some misleading information, it’s been difficult to figure out what the actual plans are. According to one curious rumor, Bart was going to loose his virginity in the movie, but that was a product of writer David Mirkin’s sarcastic response to an interview question. At one point, creator Matt Groening was offered the chance to make a live-action Simpsons Movie, but fortunately he turned the opportunity down, fearing that he would ruin the series and anger fans in the process.

Rumors aside, here is some info about characters that will appear in the movie, both new and already familiar. Albert Brooks will provide a guest voice as a brand new character and may also reprise some of his past roles, which include Brad Goodman, Jacques, Hank Scorpio, Cowboy Bob, and Tab Spangler. Actress Minnie Driver and infamous activist Erin Brockovich are confirmed to have parts in the flick. Brockovich’s now legendary involvement in a famous real-life lawsuit that inspired Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar nominated movie and her inclusion in this flick appears to be a confirmation of sorts that the plot will indeed revolve around drinking water contamination. Kelsey Grammer, who has voiced the popular Sideshow Bob for years, has stated that the character will make an appearance, although his part may not be major this time around. Similarly, another frequently recurring character from the show, mobster Fat Tony, will also make an appearance, with the great Joe Mantegna providing his distinctly sinister voice as always.

The biggest challenge for the filmmakers, however, will be to try and recapture that brilliant and spontaneous sense of humor that’s been missing from the show since the late 90s. It seems that all the original members of the show’s creative team are on board for the movie. The goal was to bring everyone that’s been there from the beginning together and it appears that the filmmakers have been able to accomplish that. Reportedly, the writers began working on the current screenplay back in 2001, with Groening promising that the scrip would exceed expectations. Reportedly, The Simpsons Movie will actually tell a linear story, very much unlike the free flowing, jumpy narratives found on the show. Everyone has been working very hard to develop a script worthy of a feature-length treatment and Groening claims that everything feels right about making this movie at this time.

Honestly, I feel that the show’s best moments are long behind. The humor lacks the witty subtlety and clearly there is more focus on jokes that are simply outrageous or stupid. The intelligent, character-driven plots that once provided interesting social commentary have been replaced by an emphasis on screwball behavior. The characters themselves have become products of the images they once stereotyped. To me, the era ended a long time ago and this film is here about 7 years too late. The debates between die-hard fans and former fans have already begun.

In Conclusion: Given the show’s decline in quality over recent years, I’m very pessimistic about The Simpsons Movie, but there are some bright spots in the production. Hopefully, the reunion of the show’s original creative team will bring back some of that inspiring humor that has led to the show’s now legendary status. There’s also the promise of a slightly more edgy look at the world of the Simpsons since the flick will contain enough racy material to earn a PG-13 rating. Finally, the film will be shown in gorgeous panoramic widescreen and the theatrical experience may be something to behold after 17 years of the dull, traditional television format. It has been years since I’ve seen a “Simpsons” episode in its entirety, but as a one-time die-hard fan, I have to admit that I am a little bit excited about this. Regardless of the film’s quality, it is bound to attract a diverse group of people into the theaters.

Similar Titles: South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, The Flintstones, The Incredibles
July 27th, 2007 (wide)
December 18th, 2007 (DVD)

20th Century Fox

David Silverman

Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, Erin Brockovich, Minnie Driver, Albert Brooks, Kelsey Grammer, Joe Mantegna

Total: 338 vote(s).

Animation, Comedy

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for irreverent humor throughout.

85 min





The Simpsons Movie at RottenTomatoes.com

The Simpsons Movie at AskMen.com

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