The Simpsons Guy Movie is a 2015 American animated comedy film based on the animated television series The Simpsons Guy. The film was directed by David Silverman, and stars the regular television cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Warburton, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Jennifer Tilly, Adam West, Mike Henry, David Hermann, Tress MacNeille, and Pamela Hayden. It features James Wood as Terrence Dickson, the evil head of the Environmental Protection Agency (who kidnap the mysterious boy known as The Rebel's younger twin sister) to destroy Springfield after Homer pollutes the lake and Thomas Sangster as Colin, an boy who has the same characteristics of Lisa. As the townspeople exile Colin and eventually his family abandons him, Homer works to redeem his folly by stopping Dickson's scheme, teaming up with The Rebel who's on a mission to rescue his younger twin sister.
Previous attempts to create a film version of The Simpsons Guy failed due to the lack of a script of appropriate length and production crew members. Eventually, producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Seth Macfarlane, Al Jean, David Zuckerman, Mike Scully, Walter Murphy and Richard Sakai began development of the film in 2001. A writing team consisting of Scully, Jean, Brooks, Groening, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, John Swartzwelder, Jon Vitti, Ian Maxtone-Graham, and Matt Selman was assembled. They conceived numerous plot ideas, with Groening's being the one developed into a film. The script was re-written over a hundred times, and this creativity continued after animation had begun in 2006. This includes amny cameo roles from Erin Brockovich, Steve Downes, Minnie Driver, Isla Fisher, Kelsey Grammer, and Edward Norton. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks and Green Day appeared as themselves.
The film follows the plot of the TV series The Simpsons Guy focusing on the Simpson family of Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta), his wife Marge (Julie Kavner), and children Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and Maggie (Cate Blanchett) as well as their dog, Brian (Seth MacFarlane), and the town of Springfield.
Two hundred years ago, The Rebel and his companion/twin sister The White manage to fight the great great grandfather of Terrence Dickson. In the present day, while performing on Lake Springfield, rock band Green Day (themselves) are killed when pollution in the lake dissolves their barge, following an audience revolt after front man Billie Joe Armstrong proposes an environmental discussion. At the memorial service, Grampa Simpson (Castellaneta) has a prophetic vision in which he foresees the impending doom of the town, but only Marge takes it seriously. Later that day, Homer dares his son Bart to skate naked. Bart does so, but is consequently arrested by Chief Wiggum (Hank Azaria), but Homer managed to change the mind his cop friend Joe Swanson (Patrick Warburton), but Bart left embarrassed and begins to consider their neighbor Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer) to be a better father figure. Lisa and an Irish boy named Colin (Thomas Sangster), with whom she has fallen in love, hold a meeting where they convince the town to clean up the lake.
Meanwhile, Homer adopts a pig from a Krusty Burger restaurant and names it "Spider Pig" (later "Harry Plopper", and then finally "Plopper"). Homer seems to show more love for the pig than he does for Bart, furthering the latter's relationship with Flanders. Homer stores the pig's feces (and some of his own) in an overflowing silo which Marge tells him to dispose of safely. Homer takes the silo to the waste management plant, but while waiting in line receives a phone call from his friend Quagmire (MacFarlane), who tells him that Lard Lad Donuts has been shut down and free donuts are being given out. A now impatient Homer decides instead to dump the silo in the lake, re-polluting it to an even more toxic degree. Moments later, a squirrel jumps into the lake and becomes severely mutated. Nearby, Flanders and Bart discover the creature during a hike before the Environmental Protection Agency captures it. Terrence Dickson (James Woods), head of the EPA, presents five "unthinkable" options to U.S. President Schwarzenegger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to keep the town's pollution contained despite the "untold misery" each option would cause; Schwarzenegger randomly picks option three, enclosing Springfield in a large glass dome. When the police discover Homer's silo in the lake, a band of citizens approach the Simpsons' home and attempt to kill them, but the family escape through a sinkhole that leads to the outside of the dome but the sinkhole destroys their house shortly afterwards. As the EPA searches for the escapees, the Simpsons find a motel for the night and Homer tells them that he has a plan: flee to Alaska to start a new life.
The trapped citizens damage the dome over time and Dickson, not wanting news of what he has done to become widespread, manipulates Schwarzenegger into choosing option four: blowing up Springfield. In Alaska, the Simpsons see an advertisement starring Tom Hanks (himself), for a new Grand Canyon to be located on the site where Springfield once stood. Marge and the kids are shocked and want to return to save the town, but Homer refuses to help the people who tried to kill them much to the anger of the rest of the family. Homer later returns home to find the house empty and a message from Marge taped over their wedding video, explaining to him that she the kids and Santa's are leaving to go save their town and are never going to see Homer again. Alone, Homer is sent adrift on a piece of ice. Meanwhile, on a train heading to Seattle, Marge and the kids are captured by the EPA upon arrival and put back into the dome.
After a visit from a mysterious Inuit shaman (MacNielle) who saves him from a polar bear, Homer has an epiphany and believes he must save the town in order to save himself. As he arrives at Springfield to do so, a helicopter lowers a bomb suspended by rope through a hole in the dome. Homer climbs to the peak of the dome and descends the rope, knocking the escaping townspeople and bomb off. Homer takes the bomb and a motorcycle. After reconciling with Bart, they drive up the side of the dome and Bart throws the bomb through the hole, seconds before detonation. The bomb explodes, shattering the dome and freeing the town. Dickson, angry at them for ruining his plan, prepares to shoot Homer, but he gets killed by a boulder which Maggie drops on his head. The town finally praises Homer, who kisses Marge on the motorcycle before riding off into the sunset with her and Maggie. The townspeople begin restoring Springfield back to normal.
Homer thanking the Rebel for help him save Springfield when he take off his mask, The Rebel finally show his face as a good handsome man for the last moment before his regeneration.
- Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Abe Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Itchy, Pay and Chew owner, EPA Agent
- Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Patty and Selma Bouvier, Jacqueline Bouvier
- Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Kevin Swanson
- Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson
- Cate Blanchett as Maggie Simpson
- Seth MacFarlane as Brian, Glenn Quagmire, Tom Tucker, Peter Griffin, Seamus Levine, Canadian Guy, Dr. Hartman, EPA Driver, Stan Smith
- James Woods as Terrence Dickson
- Hank Azaria as Carl Carlson, Moe Szyslak, Comic Book Guy, Cletus Spuckler, Bumblebee Man, Lou, Professor Frink, Canadian Hunter, Scratchy
- Harry Shearer as Ned Flanders, Montgonomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Otto Man, Cheriff Clancy Wiggum, Dr. Julius Hibbert, Reverend Lovejoy, Principal Skinner
- Patrick Warburton as Joe Swanson, Troy McClure, Lionel Hultz, TV Man, Death Globe announcer
- Jennifer Tilly as Bonnie Swanson, TV Mom
- Tress MacNeillle as Inuit Woman, Crazy Cat Lady
- Mike Henry as Herbert, The Greased Up Deaf Guy, Bruce, Cleveland Brown
- Adam West as Mayor Adam West
- David Hermann as Scruffy Scruffington
- Danny Smith as Ernie the Giant Chicken
- Marcia Wallace as Edna Krappabel
- Christine Lakin as Joyce Kinney
- Thomas-Brodie Sangster as Colin
- TBA as The Rebel / the White's older twin brother who team up with homer to rescue her.
- TBA as The White / The Rebel's precious younger twin sister and the following time lord
- Pamela Hayden as Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as President Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Tom Hanks as Himself (cameo)
- Green Day as Themselves (cameo)
- Edward Norton as Guy Smashed by the Dome (cameo)
- Steve Downes as John-117 / Master Chief (cameo)
Groundskeeper Willie, Gary Chalmers, Jillian, Apu Nahasapeemapetilion, Manjula Nahasapeemapetilion, Opie, Tomak and Bellgarde, Elephant, Rainier Wolfcastle, Adrian, Helen Lovejoy, Mrs. Albright, Rex Banner, Ernie the Giant Chicken, Jasper Beardly, Benjamin, Gary, Blue Haired Lawnyer, Batman, Eddy, Lips, Legs, Booberella, Sam, Larry, Dr. Brentanammo, Frank Grimes, Jr., Wallace Brady, Charlie, Gerald, Dexter Colt, Garth Motherloving, Handsome Pete, Vinnie, Foghorn Leghorn, Chucky, Dr. Zoidberg, Mr. Costington, Mort Goldman, Muriel Goldman, Donald, Brandine del Roy, Declan Desmond, Trisha Takanawa, Duffman, Erin, The Grumple, Poochie, Judge Roy Snider, Judge Constance Harm, Baby Ducks, Santa Claus, Death, Klav Kalash Vendor, Jasper, Horatio McCallister, King Snorky, Gil Gunderson, Julio, Grady, Mr. Constington, Kang, Kodos, Hyman Krustofsky, Lindsey Neagle, Cookie Kwan, Jason Voorhees, Stewie Griffin, Kang, Kodos, Stan Smith, Francine Smith, Hayley Smith, Steve Smith, Roger, Klaus
The production staff had considered a film adaptation of The Simpsons Guy since early in the series. The show's creators, Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane felt a feature length film would allow them to increase the show's scale and animate sequences too complex for a TV series. He intended the film to be made after the show ended, "but that [...] was undone by good ratings". There were attempts to adapt the fourth season episode "Kamp Krusty" into a film, but difficulties were encountered in expanding the episode to feature-length. For a long time the project was held up. There was difficulty finding a story that was sufficient for a film, and the crew did not have enough time to complete such a project, as they already worked full-time on the show. Groening and MacFarlane also expressed a wish to make Simpstasia, a parody of Fantasia; it was never produced, partly because it would have been too difficult to write a feature-length script. Before his death, Phil Hartman had said he had wished to make a live action Troy McClure film, and several of the show's staff had expressed a desire to help create it.
The voice cast was signed on to do the film in 2001, and work then began on the script. The producers were initially worried that creating a film would have a negative effect on the series, as they did not have enough crew to focus their attention on both projects. As the series progressed, additional writers and animators were hired so that both the show and the film could be produced at the same time. Groening, MacFarlane and James L. Brooks invited back Mike Scully and Al Jean (who continued to work as showrunner on the television series) to produce the film with them. They then signed David Silverman (who, in anticipation of the project, had quit his job at Pixar) to direct the film. The "strongest possible" writing team was assembled, with many of the writers from the show's early seasons being chosen. David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, and Jon Vitti were selected. Ian Maxtone-Graham and Matt Selman joined later, and Brooks, Groening, Scully, and Jean also wrote parts of the script. Sam Simon did not return having left the show over creative differences in 1993. Former writer Conan O'Brien wanted to work with the Simpsons staff again, joking that "I worry that the Simpsons-writing portion of my brain has been destroyed after 14 years of talking to Lindsay Lohan and that guy from One Tree Hill, so maybe it's all for the best. "The same went for director Brad Bird who said he had "entertained fantasies of asking if [he] could work on the movie", but did not have enough time due to work on Ratatouille. The producers arranged a deal with Fox that would allow them to abandon production of the film at any point if they felt the script was unsatisfactory.
Work continued on the screenplay from 2003 onwards, taking place in the small bungalow where Groening first pitched The Simpsons in 1987. The writers spent six months discussing a plot, and each of them offered sketchy ideas. Jean suggested the family rescue manatees, which became the 2005 episode "Bonfire of the Manatees", and there was also a notion similar to that of The Truman Show where the characters discovered their lives were a TV show. Groening and MacFarlane both rejected this, as they felt that the Simpsons should "never become aware of themselves as celebrities". Groening read about a town that had to get rid of pig feces in their water supply, which inspired the plot of the film. The decision for Flanders to have an important role also came early on, as Jean wished to see Bart wonder what his life would be like if Flanders were his father. Having eventually decided on the basic outline of the plot for the film, the writers then separated it into seven sections. Jean, Scully, Reiss, Swartzwelder, Vitti, Mirkin, and Meyer wrote 25 pages each, and the group met one month later to merge the seven sections into one "very rough draft". The film's script was written in the same way as the television series: the writers sitting around a table, pitching ideas, and trying to make each other laugh. The script went through over 100 revisions, and at one point the film was a musical. However, the songs were continually being shortened and the idea was dropped. Groening and MacFarlane describe their desire to also make the film dramatically stronger than a TV episode, saying that they wanted to "give you something that you haven't seen before".
Animation for the film began in January 2006, with the Itchy & Scratchy short being the first scene to be storyboarded. Groening and MacFarlane rejected making either a live-action or a CGI film, as Matt calling the film's animation "deliberately imperfect" and "a tribute to the art of hand-drawn animation" and Seth syaing that the movie could get some 'live action' cuts, but the main focus was to let it felt like an tribute to animation. The film was produced in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, to distinguish it from the look of the television series, and colored with the largest palette the animators had ever had available to them. A lot of the animation was produced using Wacom Cintiq tablets, which allowed images to be drawn directly onto a computer monitor to facilitate production. Animation production work was divided among four studios around the world: Film Roman in Burbank, California, Rough Draft Studios in Glendale, California, and AKOM and Rough Draft's division in Seoul, South Korea. As with the television series, the storyboarding, characters, background layout, and animatic parts of production, were done in America. The overseas studios completed the animation, in-betweening, and digital ink and paint processes.
For inspiration for the crowd scenes in the film, the production staff referenced a poster featuring more than 320 Simpsons Guy characters. Groening said they tried to include every single character in the film, with 98 having speaking parts, and all members of the crowds being previously established characters instead of generic people. The series' regular voice actors: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Cate Blanchett, Seth MacFarlane, Hank Azaria, Mike Henry and Harry Shearer, as well as semi-regular performers Jennifer Tilly, Adam West, Tress MacNeille, David Hermann, Christine Lakin, Pamela Hayden, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, Russi Taylor, and Karl Wiedergott, reprised their roles. Joe Mantegna returned as Fat Tony, while James Woods, who supplied many guest voices in episodes, was hired as Terrence Dickson, after he told the staff that he wanted to be part of the film. For "about a week", he was to reprise the role of himself from the episode "You Only Move Twice", but the staff felt that creating a new character was a better idea.
The cast did the first of three table readings in May 2005, and began recording every week from June 2006 until the end of production. James L. Brooks directed them for the first time since the television show's early seasons. Castellaneta found the recording sessions "more intense" than recording the television series, and "more emotionally dramatic". Some scenes, such as Marge's video message to Homer, were recorded over one hundred times, leaving the voice cast exhausted.
The writers had written the opening concert scene without a specific band in mind. Green Day were cast in that role having requested to guest star in the show. Tom Hanks also appears as himself in the film and accepted the offer after just one phone call. Everybody Loves Raymond creator Philip Rosenthal provides the voice of the father in the "new Grand Canyon" commercial with Hanks. Minnie Driver recorded the part of a patronizing grievance counselor. Edward Norton recorded the part of the man who gets crushed as the dome. Isla Fisher and Erin Brockovich also recorded cameos. Kelsey Grammer recorded lines for Sideshow Bob, who appear at several different points. Johnny Knoxville was also touted as a possible guest star.
Although he does not provide the voice, Arnold Schwarzenegger is President of the United States in the film (whom after the film became an semi-regular character in the series). He was chosen instead of the then President George W. Bush because then, "in two years [...] the film [would be] out of date". Brooks was nervous about the idea, noting that "[Schwarzenegger's] opinion polls were way down", and has said that they "were [hoping] he'd make a political comeback". The animators began by drawing an accurate caricature of Schwarzenegger, but one of the staff instead suggested an altered version of recurring character Rainier Wolfcastle as President. This idea was developed, with the design of Wolfcastle, himself also a caricature of Schwarzenegger, being given more wrinkles under his eyes and a different hairstyle.
Many cultural references and allusions are made throughout the film. Green Day play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" on violins as their barge sinks, in a sequence parodying the film Titanic. When Bart is riding his skateboard naked, different passing objects are constantly covering his genitalia, a nod to similar techniques used in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Homer and Marge's love scene parodies many Disney films, including Cinderella, with Disney-style animals helping them undress. Originally, the music from The Wizard of Oz was used in that scene, and the fawn had white spots; these were removed because the animators felt it resembled Bambi too clearly. Bart impersonates Mickey Mouse on the train, calling himself "the mascot of an evil corporation". Homer plays Grand Theft Walrus, an allusion to the video game series Grand Theft Auto. In the game, his character shoots a tap-dancing penguin in reference to the film Happy Feet. The "Spider-Pig" song is a parody of the theme song of the 1967 Spider-Man TV series, and the name of Lisa's lecture is An Irritating Truth, a play on Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. The bomb disposal robot was based on Vincent D'Onofrio's character Leonard "Pyle" Lawrence from the film Full Metal Jacket, who commits suicide in a similar way. At the end of the film, the crowd's celebration is similar to the conclusion of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, with Carl performing exactly the same hand gestures as Lando Calrissian.
The $1,000 Homer received when entering Alaska is a reference to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. As Homer leaves Eski-Moe's Drunken Krill he grabs on to a passing truck and uses it to propel himself back to the house, a tribute to actor Buster Keaton, while the epiphany scene features homages to the film Brazil and the works of Salvador Dalí. Hillary Clinton appears as Itchy's vice president, while an Orc from The Lord of the Rings appears in the mob scene. A scene that has Marge and the kids appear on the TV talk show The View to spread the news of Springfield's impending doom. Parts were written for the show's entire panel and the scene was planned to feature Terrence Dickson having a gunfight with Joy Behar. Another scene features Moe describing Springfield's varying physical states inside the dome, one of which was the Disneyland ride Autopia. There are several references to events in previous TV episodes of The Simpsons. These include the wreckage of the ambulance from the episode "Bart the Daredevil" crashed into a tree next to Springfield Gorge. The Carpenters' song "(They Long to Be) Close to You" was used in Homer and Marge's wedding video and had also been used in several emotional moments between them in the TV series.
The Simpsons Guy Movie received critical acclaim from media critics. It garnered a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 171 of a total 191 reviews being determined as positive. It received a rating of 80 out of 100 (signifying "generally favorable reviews") on Metacritic from 36 reviews. British newspapers The Guardian and The Times both gave the film four out of five stars. The Times' James Bone said that it "boasts the same sly cultural references and flashes of brilliance that have earned the television series a following that ranges from tots to comparative literature PhDs". The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw stated that it "gives you everything you could possibly want" and that he thought, "Eighty-five minutes [was] not long enough to do justice to 17 years of comedy genius". Ed Gonzalez praised the film for its political message, likening the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon at the beginning to President Schwarzenegger's situation later on, as well as the film's visual gags. Randy Shulman praised the cast, and described them as having "elevated their vocal work to a craft that goes way beyond simple line readings", and particularly praised Kavner who he said "gave what must be the most heartfelt performance ever". Roger Ebert gave a positive review, but admitted he was "generally [not] a fan of movies spun off from TV animation". He called it "radical and simple at the same time, subversive and good-hearted, offensive without really meaning to be". Richard Corliss of Time said that the film "doesn't try to be ruder or kinkier, just bigger and better".