25
Aug
10

“The Simpsons Movie” Makes Baby Jesus Cry (Part 2)

Itchy and Scratchy and Marge4

“No, make it a pie. Pies are easier to draw.” – Itchy & Scratch Animator
“Okay, a pie.” – Roger Meyers Jr.

After spending roughly seven weeks in the optical drive of my laptop, The Simpsons Movie is finally in the custody of the United States Postal Service and on its way back to Netflix.  (Which means “Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry” should start for Season 13 in the next few days.)  The second commentary was done by some of the animators and directors of the film, and while there is some interesting information in here, mostly it’s a blur of two ideas.

The first is, and coming from the other commentary this is no surprise, that there were many, many different versions of almost every scene. The constant reactions and overreactions to test screenings meant that lots of things that had already been animated were scrapped, and whole new sequences were jammed in, up to and including at the last minute.

The second is the term “beautifully animated” and variations thereof. Whatever else may be said about its timidity, its over-reliance on physical comedy, and its complete lack of anything that could be called a coherent story, The Simpsons Movie has a distinct and colorful look to its animation that served it well. This is, in many places, a very pretty film, and the animators are justifiably happy with how their work turned out.

The commenters here are David Silverman, Mike Anderson, Steve Moore, and Rich Moore. Since they don’t pause the movie, and since there’d be no point in my noting the many times they mention a specific animator and compliment their work, this one is a lot shorter than Part 1. So let’s get to it.

0:50 – Discussing Scratchy’s entrance, the animators were also looking for a big laugh when the audience recognized the character.

3:45 – Pointing out that all of the audience is made up of regular characters, no generic animations.

4:30 – More discussion about how many times all of these things got redone.

5:15 – Discussing another thing that got cut by test audiences: “It looked really good, and um, nobody laughed.”

7:00 – Discussing all the different people who did animation and layouts at two different studios.

12:00 – At this point I’m beginning to wonder if there’s use in doing this for the animation commentary. Basically they’re just mentioning who did a specific animation or background along with the occasional mention of whether or not something was redone after test audiences did or did not like it.

15:00 – Further underlining how much they got away from their usual editorial independence, someone asks how this was different than animating the show, and the answer is that they had to keep redoing things on account of rewrites.

18:30 – Here they’re discussing how they do transitions between all the completely unrelated scenes.

19:00 – Everybody loves Spider Pig.

19:45 – When they’re having Krusty, Cat Lady and Moe dump things in the lake, there was originally going to be a trunk labeled “Sperm Bank”, and then it would dump out furniture as a head fake. Just another example of things getting taken out that were more creative than the ones that got left in.

21:00 – The Fat Tony body dumping joke nearly got cut.

23:00 – This is about the third time they’ve mentioned that they had to make Homer less of a jerk. That’s right, he was even more Jerkass Homer earlier.

26:00 – Discussing Cargill, they had done a lot of revisions on his character and backstory, for two days it was going to be Hank Scorpio before none other than Albert Brooks talked them out of it.

28:05 – Once the dome is down they pull back for a wide shot of it, and if you look on the right you’ll see that the stadium is half in, half out of the dome. That’s because their used to be a joke about a baseball game half in, half out. (It’s on the deleted scenes.)

29:00 – Really glad they aren’t pausing the movie.

29:10 – More discussions of how many different Cargills there were.

30:00 – Springfield disappearing on the GPS had several fully animated sequences before it just became a little blip on the map.

31:00 – Long discussion about what the dome would look like and the reflections therein.

32:45 – Much talk about the massive pain that was the first shot with the mob and all the things they had to keep sending back to Korea to get reanimated.

34:00 – More discussion about the hands punching through the door. Jean talked about that on the other commentary, and, really, it was that much of a production?

34:30 – They cut out a scene where Lovejoy had gotten the mob to set the house on fire, which explains why the whole thing is on fire when Marge runs into it before they escape.

37:15 – The house going into the vortex on the sinkhole had so many people working on it that even these guys (for the most part) can’t remember who did what.

38:50 – As the family runs into the cornfield, they comment on how nice the corn looks before we find out again that something got cut here. Which is why this whole thing just disappears without explanation.

39:20 – Cargill’s line about going mad with power was one of the first things they animated (albeit with the original Cargill model instead). The line when it was Hank Scorpio: “You’re giving me that look. I know that look. You think I’ve gone mad with power.”

40:15 – Long discussion about how many things in the motel scene got changed, over and over.

43:00 – Oh, it’s my favorite scene, where Homer rides the motorcycle in the little ball. Not that any was needed, but we now have more confirmation that this thing was shoehorned in at the last minute.

44:50 – They did the doodles Bart does on the wanted poster in one day. It was just someone doodling and they used it.

45:45 – The token scene at Burns mansion was done Jonathan Demme style with everyone looking straight at the camera.

48:00 – They had a guy who worked for Don Bluth do the Disney animals that do the intro to the sex scene.

50:30 – The five plans Cargill presents was originally going to be a mystery box.

51:00 – Very half assed defense of the final quality of the film after all the rewrites. Someone actually uses the term “trust word”. Is that like “safe word”? Because BDSM is as good a metaphor as any for the perverse pain of this movie.

52:00 – Discussing Homer disappointing Marge and the family about going back to Springfield and how it was originally even worse, at one point the family attacked Homer and he had to dive out the window.

54:35 – Complimenting Kavner’s performance in the video tape scene that was discussed on the other commentary.

56:40 – The transition to the NSA building is yet another thing that used to be a lot longer.

57:30 – Talking about all the ins and outs and doubts about Homer’s hallucination.

58:35 – Unlike the writers, the animators actually have something to be proud of about the hallucination scene.

61:20 – Homer’s staggering through the snow is based on David Silverman acting it out in his office (without snow, of course).

62:30 – When Homer’s focusing his eyes like they were binoculars, one of the editors didn’t get it. He thought the binoculars were missing.

64:45 – Just like on the other commentary, they’re discussing the massive entrance scene they had planned for when the family wakes up in the dome.

68:00 – Now that we’ve gotten back to the dome, there are several discussions about things that they cut out, and a lot of those were animations that made things make a bit more sense, continuity wise.

70:30 – Long discussion about the police robot that commits suicide.

73:15 – They wanted to make the dome appear as big as possible.

75:20 – It was one of the animator’s ideas to include the ambulance on the gorge.

77:35 – In the background during the crowd celebration scene, Carl is acting like Lando Calrissian at the end of Return of the Jedi. I did not notice that.

79:00 – We’re in the credits now, and the little scene with Burns and Smithers was originally in the movie but got cut.

79:30 – More about how the Spider-Pig thing got bigger on account of Hans Zimmer.

82:25 – They’re still talking over the credits, but it’s mostly just shout outs to the names on the screen and discussion about how much work and or fun it was.

83:15 – Final interesting note: they decided to go with super widescreen instead of 1.85:1 very early after only a few test drawings.


11 Responses to ““The Simpsons Movie” Makes Baby Jesus Cry (Part 2)”


  1. 1 Anonymous
    26 August 2010 at 8:11 am

    That “Your giving me that look..” line would have probably been pretty funny with Albert Brooks saying it.

  2. 2 Lovejoy Fan
    26 August 2010 at 9:51 am

    “They cut out a scene where Lovejoy had gotten the mob to set the house on fire, which explains why the whole thing is on fire when Marge runs into it before they escape.”

    I don’t suppose they said why they cut it, did they? What was their excuse that time: “the test audience didn’t like it” or “Lovejoy already had his scene”?

    (bitter? Who, me? Well, my father watched this movie last night and I remembered how disappointed I was by it.)

    • 3 Charlie Sweatpants
      26 August 2010 at 11:07 am

      Lovejoy originally had some line about setting fire to the house or the baby’s crib, I don’t recall specifically. The gist of the conversation was that lots of little things about the mob scene got cut out, either because test audiences didn’t laugh at them or because they thought it slowed things down too much. The whole thing where the family is on the plank and Spider Pig pushes them off was a replacement for something else, and I’m sure at one time something probably explained how they managed to get to the car after all that anyway.

      • 4 Lovejoy Fan
        26 August 2010 at 2:55 pm

        Thanks. I was just wondering why that cut out, since it sounds like a key scene (it explains how the house got caught on fire, which was something that confused some of the people I saw it with). It still annoys me that all this stuff got cut.

  3. 26 August 2010 at 3:07 pm

    So it was Albert Brooks who convinced them not to have Scorpio? I must have been asleep when I listened to this (which isn’t suprising). Now if only he can convince them that bringing Scorpio back in season 22/23 is an awful idea.

    • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
      26 August 2010 at 4:49 pm

      It was on there. I’m not sure if it was that part or another, but they were joking that since Brooks is a pretty accomplished writer and movie director, he might be worth listening to.

      • 7 Cassidy
        26 August 2010 at 6:28 pm

        He might also be wrong. Obviously they can’t force him to voice a character he doesn’t want to but having him be Not Hank Scorpio was a misstep (one among many, true).

        Even for audiences unfamiliar with the episode, Scorpio is just a more interesting character and a more effective parody than a generic, power hungry bureaucrat. Well, at least I think he is.

        *pout*

        • 8 Charlie Sweatpants
          26 August 2010 at 6:49 pm

          It’s kind of a red herring. The day after I saw the movie I was explaining it to someone who hadn’t seen it, and I distinctly remember saying “The bad guy is basically Hank Scorpio.” He’s got two of the best lines (trapped like carrots and going mad with power), and if you made a list of this movie’s problems, whether it was “Russ Cargill” or “Hank Scorpio” wouldn’t be on the first six pages.

          Making him Scorpio may or may not have been an improvement, but it wouldn’t change the fact that this is a pretty awful movie that is utterly unworthy of its source material. At least this way it doesn’t taint “You Only Move Twice”.

          Agreed on *pout*.

  4. 3 September 2010 at 9:25 am

    Something I’ve always wondered about the movie, and wansn’t talked about in any of the DVD commentaries: why President Schwarzenegger, and not President Wolfcastle? Why?
    (remembered that because the Cargill/Scorpio talk)

    • 10 Charlie Sweatpants
      3 September 2010 at 10:20 am

      I’ve wondered about that same thing and, having listened to both commentaries recently, my strong suspicion is that they were afraid that if they made him “Wolfcastle” people wouldn’t get it.

  5. 11 ST
    7 September 2012 at 12:45 am

    They also cut some scenes with Sideshow Bob that were either fully or partially animated.

    I suspect they didn’t want any of the actually funny deleted scenes included in the special features.


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