The Simpsons/The Simpsons Movie
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The Simpsons Movie is the first feature film of The Simpsons. When Springfield becomes one of the most polluted towns on the planet, the United States government is forced to step in before its toxic lake can spread to the rest of the country. The movie premiered in Springfield, Vermont on July 27, 2007.
Cast: Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa, Krusty, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Sideshow Mel, Mr. Teeny, EPA Official, Itchy, Barney), Julie Kavner (Marge, Selma, Patty), Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Ralph, Todd, Nelson), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum, Cletus, Prof. Frink, Apu, Lou, Comic Book Guy Sea Captain, Bumblebee Man, Dr. Nick), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Rev. Lovejoy, Lenny Leonard, President Arnold Schwarzenegger, Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Otto), Pamela Hayden (Milhouse, Rod Flanders, Jimbo), Tress MacNeille (Medicine Woman, Mrs. Skinner, Cat Lady, Colin, Cookie Kwan)
And: A. Brooks as Russ Cargill
Also Starring: Karl Wiedergott (EPA Driver, Man), Marcia Wallace (Mrs. Krabappel), Russi Taylor (Martin), Maggie Roswell (Helen Lovejoy), Phil Rosenthal (TV Dad), Billie Joe Armstrong (Himself), Frank Edwin Wright III (Himself), Michael Pritchard (Himself), Joe Mantegna (Fat Tony), Tom Hanks (Himself)
The film opens with an Itchy and Scratchy short in which Scratchy lands on the moon and, with Itchy, declares his intentions of peace. Itchy then stabs him with a flag pole, breaks his helmet and takes all of the glory back on Earth. He winds up being elected president while riding the wave of heroism, on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as his Vice President, but Scratchy is still alive. Through binoculars, Itchy sees Scratchy hold up a sign on the moon saying "I'm telling." So, he nukes the moon. When Scratchy explodes, Homer stands up and declares that, in a bit of fourth wall breakage, everyone who paid to see something they already get for free on television is "a giant sucker, especially you." Cue the opening titles to the actual movie.
That evening, Green Day is performing a concert on a barge in Lake Springfield. After playing for over three hours, including a bit of the Simpsons theme, singer Billie Joe tries to say something about the environment when the crowd turns on them and throws them into a fury of launching whatever they can find at the band. If that weren't enough, the pollution in the lake is dissolving the barge, which eventually sinks and causes the band to drown. Apparently Green Day is only the latest in a series of bands to die in the town, as admitted by Reverend Lovejoy at church the next morning.
Instead of giving a normal service, Lovejoy calls on someone in the audience to share their relationship with God. Flanders, naturally, volunteers his opinion that everything is great, but Grandpa suddenly has an prophetic outburst about horrible things that will happen concerning a "twisted tail" and a "thousand eyes" while he writhes on the ground, apparently possessed. Homer wraps him up in a carpet, blames Grandpa's "religious experience" on senility and drags him out of church. They go for waffles instead of recognizing it.
After church, Homer and Bart get to work on their chores but it just devolves into a dare contest. They gradually one-up each other until Bart is dared to skateboard to Krusty Burger and back naked. Bart is hesitant at first, but goes for it anyway when Homer calls him a chicken. He only completes half the dare, because his skateboard's wheel is shot out by Officer Lou and he's handcuffed to a pole so that the cops can get lunch. Meanwhile, Lisa is attempting to get Green Day's dying words concerning pollution out to the Springfield public. Most of them don't care. In fact, the only one who does care is an Irish boy named Colin who is also canvasing the neighborhood about pollution. She tries to play it cool, but winds up fainting.
Several hours later, Homer finally comes to pick Bart up and pins the entire thing on him so that he won't have to attend a one-hour parenting seminar. The two get lunch in Krusty Burger, but Homer is quickly distracted from Bart's problems by a pig wearing a hat who's starring in a commercial with Krusty. After they're done, Krusty tells a production assistant to kill the pig, but Homer saves it and takes it home with him so that it can become his adoptive son.
Marge, who has been trying to decipher Grandpa's ravings (especially "eepa eepa!"), is less than pleased. She assumes that the pig's "twisted tail" is what Grandpa was warning them about, but Homer manages to keep the pig anyway. Bart is perhaps less happy about this development and finds himself accepting Ned Flanders as a surrogate father.
Bart and Ned go on a fishing trip together in Lake Springfield, where Lisa witnesses massive ecological damage taking place. She presents the town with a presentation called "An Irritating Truth," which parodies the Al Gore presentation, including Colin's musical accompaniment and a lift. Mayor Quimby puts the town on under Code Black emergency conditions so that the lake will be cleaned up. With the help of the entire town and a barrier, the lake is cleaned and everyone goes back to their normal lives. Except for Homer, who dumps all of his pig refuse in the lake instead of at the treatment center so that he can get to the free donuts from Lard Lad. This turns the lake into a toxic swamp that mutates a squirrel into having dozens of extra eyes.
The Environmental Protection Agency captures the squirrel and takes it to Washington further research, which spurs the head of the EPA to meet with President Arnold Schwarzenegger. Russ Cargill shows the mutant to the President and tells him that he's found a chance to finally make the EPA successful. Schwarzenegger picks the third unthinkable option, which involves putting a giant dome over Springfield. The final bit of Grandpa's prophecy has come true; Springfield is "trapped forever." Cargill explains that Springfield has become the most polluted city in the history of the planet and, as such, must be sealed to prevent the toxins from spreading.
With supplies dwindling and no escape in sight, although Maggie found that she can get in and out of the dome through the sinkhole Homer didn't fill in, the town tries to continue on with life. Their first order of business is to form a mob and track down Homer when his pig feces silo is found in the lake with his name on it. They manage to escape from their home by climbing out of the window on a plank offered by Flanders, but Homer's pig knocks it off the window sill. Despite this, they all get outside of the dome through the sinkhole. Homer's size causes the sinkhole to grow in size and consume the entire Simpson house, which covers the family's escape.
But this is only the beginning of the family's troubles. The EPA knows that they've escaped from the dome and is on their trail. They take refuge in a motel and Homer presents the family with a back-up plan, although they're still mad at him. This plan entirely involves the family moving to Alaska. Although Marge buys into Homer's plan, a drunken Bart questions how they'll even get to Alaska. Homer, luckily, finds a carnival where a carny is offering his car to anyone who can conquer the "ball of death," a round steel cage with a motorcycle in it. Homer winds up traversing the entire ball on his fourth try and wins the truck.
Back in Springfield, the town is suffering frequent power outages, except for Mr. Burns who is happily powering his mansion with all of the power plant's spare energy. Some townspeople try to reason with him, but that just ends with him releasing the hounds. Many days pass and the town finally erupts into a riot sparked by a book club. The entire town turns on the dome, leaving very little damage, but enough to concern Cargill. Cargill presents Schwarzenegger with five more solutions, which he manipulates the president into choosing Operation: Blow Up Springfield.
This plan is made apparent to the Simpsons, who see a commercial for the "new" Grand Canyon placed exactly where Springfield is. Marge declares that they need to save the city, but Homer has no interest in trying to save the city which chased him with pitchforks and torches. He leaves for "Eski-Moe's" and comes back to find his family gone and a videotape from Marge which explains that she's leaving him and never coming back. The tape ends with what remains of their wedding video.
Marge and the kids take a train to Seattle, but their conversation about trying to stop the plan to blow up Springfield is overhead by a decoy set up by the National Security Agency. While they're on the way to Washington, Homer winds up getting involved with an Inuit priestess who cleanses his spirit with throat singing that brings Homer to an epiphany about how he needs to save Springfield in order to save himself. Homer goes off to find his family, who has just been apprehended by the EPA.
Homer arrives in Springfield just in time to save his family from the EPA truck, they're in, but his plan to knock the truck off the road with a cannonball backfires. Marge and the kids wind up back in Springfield, which has devolved into a post-apocalyptic wasteland which Moe claims to be emperor of. Shortly after they wake up in town, Cargill appears on the dome to tell them that they've lowered a bomb that will go off in 15 minutes. The townspeople try to escape through the hole in the dome while Cletus distracts Cargill, but Homer knocks down the rope and gains the loathing of the town again. Chief Wiggum sets the bomb disarming robot on it, but it commits suicide instead of disarming the bomb.
The town's last hope lies in Homer, who finds a motorcycle, repairs his relationship with Bart and rides the dome like the ball of death so that Bart can toss the bomb through the hole at the top. They succeed, but wind up on a motorcycle jump across Springfield gorge that they very nearly make. Luckily, in the end, no one is hurt (except Dr. Nick who is apparently killed by a giant shard of glass).
In the cave that Homer and Bart landed on after jumping the gorge, Cargill meets them with a shotgun but Maggie stops him with a rock to the head. When Homer and Bart make it back to town, they're greeted with approval from the entire town for the first time in recent history. Meanwhile, Lisa reunites with Colin and they go for ice cream. All that's left is to rebuild the town, starting with a the Simpsons' roof. Although Homer just winds up nailing the new tiling to his leg and the entire film comes full circle.
- Blackboard Gag: "I will not illegally download this movie."
- Springfield: According to Ned Flanders, four states border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine and Kentucky. Springfield is also apparently its own state in this odd extradimensional version of the United States, since Flanders says that these states border Springfield and not the state the Springfield is in (unless, of course, the state and city have the same name). It's also said by Tom Hanks that the city is east of Shelbyville and south of Capital City.
- New Titles: The revamped credits sequence shows more things happening in Springfield, including Apu changing the expiration date of milk from 2006 to 2008, Mr. Burns being knocked over by toothpaste and Martin being hoisted onto a flagpole by his underwear until the blackboard gag.
- Crazy Credits: There are a few scenes which appear during the credits. One is of Mr. Burns telling Smithers that it's alright if he commits suicide over the looted mansion. Another is of the Simpsons family watching the credits. During the sequence, Maggie says her first (or, more accurately, second) word, "Sequel?" The family shares a somewhat disgusted look and walks off screen. When the credits finish, the squeeky voiced teen appears to clean the "theater" and complains about his wasted years in film school.
- Where?: At the very end of the credits, it says "Filmed on location in Spingfield," with a blank for where the state should be.
Behind the Scenes
- Cut Material: According to the production staff of the movie, enough finished, animated material to fill two feature films (which is to say at least three hours) was cut to keep the time down to an hour and a half. This included guest spots by Isla Fisher, Erin Brockovich, Minnie Driver and Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob. It is likely that all of this will appear on the DVD.
Allusions and References
- American Idiot: After Green Day drowns in the lake, the church's organist plays "American Idiot: Funeral Version." American Idiot is an album by Green Day released in 2004. The album is a rock opera which strongly criticizes the government and media through the eyes of several characters, particularly Jesus of Suburbia.
- Green Lantern: Comic Book Guy refers to the silver aged Green Lantern, whose civilian name is Hal Jordan. Jordan's archenemy throughout much of his career as a comic book super hero on DC Comics is Sinestro, a rogue Green Lantern who split with the ranks of the intergalactic police force. It's likely that Sinestro did throw Green Lantern into a vat of acid one time, it's a commonly used comic cliche.
- Comic Book Guy: I believe it's the sound Green Lantern made when Sinestro threw him into a vat of acid.
- An Inconvenient Truth: Lisa's presentation at the town meeting is a clear parody of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. The movie is Gore's attempt to spread awareness of Global Warming to the global population. He did this with music from Melissa Etheridge and, like Lisa, a lift to show a staggering projected chart data point. His lift, however, worked properly.
- Access Hollywood: Homer refers to a popular Hollywood gossip magazine series that is syndicated across the country. Programs like this and Entertainment Tonight regularly rerun throughout the day, generally once in the afternoon and once at night.
- Grand Theft Auto: The video game that Homer plays in Eski-Moe's is a parody of the popular video game series Grand Theft Auto. In the game, the player controls a gangster who does jobs for either the mafia, his own gang or whoever else will pay him. The games are routinely fingered when the subject of violence in video games comes up in the media.
- Happy Feet: The dancing penguin who appears in Grand Theft Walrus is likely a reference to Happy Feet, an animated movie starring Robin Williams as a penguin who is outcast from his home because of his dancing tendencies.
- Official website for The Simpsons Movie