Sign up for our weekly newsletter
Framework - Power Up

15 Years Later: The Simpsons Movie

25 July 22 words: George White

Ever heard of The Simpsons? We thought so. Yet did you know they did a movie in 2007? Yeah, we thought that too. But if you want to reminisce on simpler times anyway, here's a look back at the film's release a decade-and-a-half later... 

Director: David Silverman
Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright
Running time: 87 minutes

Can you believe it’s been fifteen years since The Simpsons Movie pondered the most intellectually-challenging philosophical question of all - can Spider-Pig swing from a web? This isn’t the only deep theme covered in this animated classic, though; the impending threat of environmental catastrophe, the under-appreciation of working class communities and the influential nature of religion are also interrogated to impressive effect. In fact, this multi-layered satire is so profound that it triggered Empire magazine’s Ian Nathan to claim that, under the jokes and gags, there is an "overt political agenda [which] border[s] on polemic". Yes, a film critic actually criticised a Simpsons project for getting political. 

While this film deserves credit for exploring everything from spider-pigs to socio-political issues, though, what is perhaps more remarkable is that it is one of the few examples of a TV show finding a genuine reason to tell an extended, feature-length story - let alone to a noticeably high standard. More often than not, you see long-running, overwhelmingly successful programmes take the leap to the big screen and fail to make the same sort of impact - see The Many Saints of Newark, El Camino and, um, Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie

A lot has been said of the decline of the show over the years, but this release cemented the fact that, when it’s in top form, there is no better animation on our screens

Yet The Simpsons Movie is arguably one of the finest instalments in the cartoon’s world-dominating history, not only justifying its shift to the silver screen, but using it to dive into a genuinely emotional, delightfully sharp and painfully funny narrative. Matt Groening and co have always had a surprising soft spot for the importance of family, which regularly manages to hit hard amidst the absurdity of the show’s humour - think the famous ‘Do It for Her’ moment in series six - but this film ramps things up ten-fold. As much as you’re likely to stick The Simpsons Movie on for some light-hearted humour, it's scenes such as when Homer plays a video tape from Marge after she leaves with the kids, or he and Bart save the day in the final act (sorry, spoilers), that really stick with you. 

That said, the comedy in this film is incredibly memorable, too. From Homer literally getting stuck between a rock and a hard place, to the movie having an advert for a new Fox TV show right in the middle of its runtime, this is stocked full of the ludicrous humour that has made The Simpsons one of the most popular series across the globe over the past three decades. A lot has been said of the decline of the show over the years, and even by 2007 you could argue the quality had begun to drop, but this release cemented the fact that, when it’s in top form, there is no better animation on our screens. 

Leaving its mark on popular culture in the fifteen years since its release - with “the worst day of your life so far” still brought up on the regular - and proving that TV series can produce spin-off films that are more than worthwhile, The Simpsons Movie remains one of the undisputed highlights in this iconic show’s history, which is certainly no mean feat. 

Did you know? The script for the voice work was to be kept so secret that the producers personally shredded the script after every voicing session.

We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now

NTU Sustainability in Enterprise