I have a confession to make.
I have never watched a single episode of The Simpsons.
(this is where you gasp and recoil in shock)
Yet due to the extent to which the series has permeated American pop culture (and particularly the Internet nerd/geek subculture), I still know pretty much all there is to know about the show. I know who everyone is. I know the relationships between the characters. I know that Smithers can't get enough of Mister Burns and why Sideshow Bob is public enemy number one. Yet I've never actually sat through a whole episode of the show itself.
So The Simpsons Movie was an odd experience for me in that going in I knew everything on paper but not in practice.
I liked it, honestly, but I get the feeling that I would have liked it more if I'd been tuning in every week for the last twenty years. I've heard it criticized as being like just another episode of the show only extra long, but I wouldn't know. It was sad watching Bart's growing rift with his dad and Homer coming to grips with how much of a jerk he was, but I think I would have gotten more out of it if I'd invested more into the franchise before now.
Still, the movie worked on a more basic level as far as jokes and gags went. ("Of course I'm going mad with power! Have you ever tried going mad without power? It's boring, nobody listens to you.") I had a smile on my face from beginning to end, and that's what matters.
It was also nice to see a successful 2D animated feature film afloat in the sea of lucrative yet mediocre CGI films about wisecracking talking animals that keep getting thrown at us. I like CGI, but not as much as I like traditional animation. They're really separate art forms that should judged by separate standards, so it saddens me that there's this feeling of competition between them.
Anyway, I recommend the movie to pretty much everyone, Simpsons fans and otherwise. Give it a watch if you have the chance - it's worth it.