It's tough to review a film like this, because it is for such a particular audience. If you know and love the Simpsons...you simply MUST go. If you've never seen the Simpsons, you probably wouldn't go to the movie anyway...but if you did, you'd certainly miss out on most of the fun. The movie TOTALLY assumes you already know all the people...there's no introduction, no easing into it. It's basically like 4 great episodes strung together.
But that's too simple. To me, the makers of the film had to overcome the obstacle of how to bring an 18 year old series to the screen and make it seem worthwhile...not just charging money to see something that we could see at home. So how did they succeed so well?
To me, many, many episodes of the Simpsons revolve around Homer screwing up something so bad that he's seriously in the dog-house with Marge, and must then try to win back her affections. Well, in the movie, Homer mananges his BIGGEST screw-up ever and it results in much, much more than simply ticking Marge off. Their marriage is truly threatened. When that moment sinks in for the two of them...it's touching filmmaking indeed. When did a couple of hapless cartoon characters become capable of bringing us to tears? (Years and years ago, actually...but the film drives it home).
Also, the animation is kicked up a notch...mostly because the backgrounds are much richer than the TV show. It's the Springfield we know...but it's also more textured. And there are a couple of scenes so monstrously huge (I don't want to spoil anything, but they involved Homer on a motorcycle inside a giant glass dome) that they BEG to be enjoyed on a big screen. It's kinda like wondering why a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie is better on a big screen. Just look at it, and you know why.
Also, even without these elements, I would now say that seeing a Simpsons "episode" in a theatre with a few hundred other fans is a beautiful experience. That alone was worth the money. It was a communal event. One drawback...I must now see the movie again, because we were all laughing so hard at times that I know I missed some stuff!!
The movie is funny, touching and inventive. It's a wonderful effort and I had a GREAT time!!
Couple of little things that seem to be of concern to some of the reviewers here. Remember, the movie is PG-13 and it should be. Don't take a five year old or ten year old. Do they fully appreciate the humor of the Simpsons anyway. But just so you know...Homer gets to flip the bird (VERY funny), Marge let's out a non-TV friendly obscenity and in a jaw-droppingly funny scene, Bart skateboards in the nude and we briefly see a bit more than we expected!! This scene also brought what is now the funniest Ralph Wiggums line ever (replacing "My cat's breath smells like cat food.")
Just writing this review, I want to go see the movie again right now.