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The Simpsons MovieThe Simpsons Movie is an upcoming 2007 animated comedy film based on the animated television series The Simpsons. It has been produced by Gracie Films for 20th Century Fox, with animation produced by Film Roman and Rough Draft Studios, and is scheduled to be released worldwide by July 27, 2007. The film has been produced by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Scully, and Richard Sakai and has been written by eleven of the television series' most prolific writers: Scully, Jean, Brooks, Groening, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder, and Jon Vitti. The film is directed by David Silverman, a former Simpsons supervising director. The film stars the regular television cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, and Tress MacNeille.
PlotLittle information on the plot has been released: Matt Groening noted, "I can't imagine people look in the TV section of the newspaper and think, 'I'll watch this week's Simpsons because I like the plot.' You just tune in and see what happens." Newsweek revealed several plot details based on footage that they were shown. Early on in the film, after he has been dared by Homer, Bart will skateboard through Springfield naked. The film begins with a growing environmental crisis to which Homer adds. Albert Brooks plays a character attempting to take over the world, and Lisa "may" get a boyfriend who is a green-activist.
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As inspiration for the crowd scene in the film, the production staff spent a long time looking at the Simpsons poster that features over 320 of the show's characters. Groening said that they did try to put every single character into the film, with 94 having speaking parts. The series regulars Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer and as well as the semi-regular performers Marcia Wallace, Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor, Tress MacNeille and Maggie Roswell reprised their roles for the film. Kelsey Grammer returned as Sideshow Bob, as did Joe Mantegna for Fat Tony, while Albert Brooks, who supplied many guest voices in episodes, was hired as the villain. The cast began recording every week from June 2006 onwards, with James L. Brooks directing them for the first time since the television show's early seasons. Castellaneta described the recording sessions as "much more intense" than recording the television series, with them particpating in "upwards of 20 or more" sessions, and making it more dramatic than the TV series.
Various new characters were also created along the way, who were often written out as they didn't contribute much. Isla Fisher will voice a character, though she couldn't say who she was voicing due to a confidentiality agreement. Among those playing themselves are Erin Brockovich, and Green Day. Nancy Cartwright said that she was not there the day Green Day recorded their part, with Yeardley Smith admitting that she did not even know the group appeared in the film until she was told by MTV. Groening called Green Day "really nice guys" and "really good sports", whilst Hank Azaria as Moe had the chance to "yell out obnoxious stuff" at them. An as yet unrevealed "very big star" will feature in a secret cameo role. Minnie Driver recorded the part of a patronizing grievance counselor in a scene that ended up being cut. Driver found recording her part "the funniest afternoon of her career", and was saddened when she was told it was cut, but she was not angry with Brooks or Groening.
AnimationGroening rejected making either a live action or a CGI film, describing the film's animation as being "deliberately imperfect", and "a tribute to the art of hand-drawn animation, which is basically disappearing." The film was animated in a wider 2.39:1 aspect ratio than the television series, and colored with the largest palette the animators ever had available to them. Unlike the TV series, the characters have shadows. David Silverman said that unlike the TV series where "you've got to pick and choose", the film allowed the opportunity to "lavish that attention with every single scene that we do." Silverman and the animators looked to The Incredibles, Triplets of Belleville and Bad Day at Black Rock, for inspiration as they were "a great education in staging because of how the characters are placed". They also looked at Dumbo and the Pluto cartoon "Pluto's Judgement Day" for a dream sequence.
Although most animated films cannot make any changes to the story for budget reasons, The Simpsons Movie crew continued to keep playing with their film even into 2007. James L. Brooks noted, "We saw a trailer the other day, and somebody said 70 percent of the things in it based on where we were eight weeks ago are no longer in the movie, because we keep on fooling around." A large amount of material, which Groening described as being "probably enough for two more movies", will be included on the film's DVD release. Several elements of the film will be permanently transferred across to the television series.
MusicHans Zimmer was selected to compose the score for the film, with him composing for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End at the same time. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he liked "using all his creative juices at once." Zimmer expressed that the score was a "unique challenge", stating "I had to try and express the style of The Simpsons without wearing the audience out with too much attitude." In addition to their appearance in the film, Green Day will record their version of the theme song of The Simpsons, releasing it as a single.
ReleaseThe film is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "irreverent humor throughout". The rating had been expected by the production staff. However, the British Board of Film Classification passed the film as a PG with no cuts made. A spokeswoman said of Bart's brief full-frontal nude scene that "natural nudity with no sexual content is acceptable in PG films."
Fox held a competition between sixteen Springfields across the United States to host the American premiere, with Springfield, Minnesota dropping out on May 31, 2007. Each Springfield produced a film, explaining why their town should host the premiere, with the results being decided via a vote on the USA Today website. The winner was announced to be Springfield, Vermont on July 10, 2007, with them hosting the premiere on July 21, 2007. Each of the other fourteen entrants will hold their own smaller screenings of the film on July 26, 2007. Two Scottish Springfields have expressed their interest in holding the British premiere of the film. The film is set to open worldwide on July 27, 2007, with the UK release date having been moved forward a day to July 26, 2007. Empire gave away fifty tickets to an exclusive screening of ten minutes from the film, three parts of which were played on BBC Breakfast on July 4, 2007, during an interview with Groening and Jean.
Before its release, the film received a nomination in the category "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, but it lost to Transformers. The film's trailer won a Golden Trailer Award in the category "Best Animated/Family Film Trailer" at the 8th Annual Golden Trailer Awards
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