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Futurama: Bender's Big Score - DVD review

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 16th 2007 11:01AM
Futurama: Bender's Big ScoreFuturama is back, and the future looks a whole lot brighter. Cliché, but true.

When I first heard that Family Guy was returning to the airwaves, I was wondering if/when other cancelled Fox animated shows would similarly rise from the dead. Then I heard Futurama was returning to Comedy Central (with a brief stop on DVD beforehand). Futurama can best be described as The Simpsons for sci-fi/fantasy fans (which makes sense consider that Matt Groening created both and uses the same animation style for both). I then thanked the gods of comedy for returning this gem.

The plan for Futurama is to release four direct-to-DVD movies which would make up a complete season of 16 half-hour episodes. "Bender's Big Score" is the first release and consists of the first four episodes (although I hear the individual episodes will contain extra footage not in the DVD release when they are eventually broadcast. How's that for a reversal of precedent?).

The plot is as follows: after learning that they were saved from cancellation from the evil and stupid Box Network, the familiar team of Fry, Bender, Leela, Amy, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Professor Farnsworth go to a nude beach planet for a delivery. While there, they get tricked into giving information to alien telemarketers. The telemarketers use this information to take over Planet Express. They even corrupt Bender's programming with a virus download so he obeys only them.

However, it turns out that the scammers can detect information. With this ability, they find the secret to time travel tattooed on Fry's butt (hidden in a picture of Bender). By speaking the formula of 1's and 0's on the tattoo, it makes a time sphere appear that can take anybody who enters it anywhere in space and time. Even worse, the spheres allow for any paradoxes that occur from time-traveling so we learn of the lives of various alternate Frys and Benders.

This is the part where the fun begins. The story is a celebration of virtually everything that has happened in the four seasons of the original series and there are many winks that fans will find familiar (non-fans will likely not notice and enjoy the show anyway). As a fan, I noticed the references and absolutely loved them.

Time travel has been done in the series before, but never at this complex a level. Trying to keep track of all the paradoxes and references would make a person dizzy. I tried to just sit back and enjoy them.

The highlights I enjoyed included: the return of Fry's ex-girlfriend Michelle (voiced by Sarah Silverman), an appearance by Professor Farnsworth's cloned son Cubert, the Harlem Globetrotters, Al Gore (playing a character remarkably similar to the one that recently appeared on 30 Rock), the Nibblonians, Fry's faithful dog Seymour (who had such a sad story in the original series that I'm glad Fry had a chance to meet him again), Fry's brother and namesake nephew (whom Fry never met in the original series. Remember I mentioned how the spheres allow for paradoxes?), the Santa Robot, Hannukah Zombie (voiced by Mark Hamill) and Kwanzaa-bot (voiced by Coolio),

The plot itself was quite silly, but I couldn't help but get excited when the Planet Express ship and a fleet of various vessels seen in the run of the series faced off against a fleet of solid gold Death Stars to reclaim the Earth.

The story also had sub-plots involving Hermes getting his head cut off and Leela dating a man she meets on the nudist planet (much to Fry's chagrin). The latter plot point becomes more important later in the story, but the main story with the incessant time travel is the most fun.

In short, I highly recommend this DVD. If you're a fan, you'll love it. If you're not, then you'll like it and want to buy the first four seasons on DVD (or check back here on Monday morning. *wink wink*). After watching them, you'll love it.

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I don't understand all of the comments left by those who viewed the new Futurama movie "Bender's big Score" and claimed it was actually good. We paid 20 bucks for this thing and actually suffered through it with barely a snicker. As the movie ended I looked over to my girlfriend to find her fast asleep. I immediately went to the official fox website seeking the "contact us" link so I could ask Fox who to talk to about getting the last 2 hours of my life back. This movie was rushed and it shows. The topic involving time travel allowed the animators to re-use footage over and over again with little variations to cover their tracks. I definately feel taken and have been parted from 20 dollars for a movie with about 2.50 worth of content. I liked the time travel thing in one aspect though, if I myself could travel through time I would go back to that day in the walmart and vigorously slap myself at the very thought of wanting to buy this movie in the first place. If you want to feel violated, cheated, angry, and taken than this movie is for you !!!

February 03 2008 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Hemsley

As a Futurama fan, I can say, this movie wholeheartedly sucked.

All it did was continually reference the original series. There were a splattering of new characters, and only one new exciting space location.

It relied totally on trying to please the old fans by just regurgitating what we have already seen.

Also it wasn't very funny.

January 20 2008 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Futurama is the best show! This DVD was awesome, and I loved the new story. It didn't disappoint me at all, provided me with some needed continuance of the Futurama Canon and is perfect for many viewings. I can watch them over and over again and see something new EVERY TIME! That is why Futurama is SO MUCH BETTER THAN FAMILY GUY!

December 10 2007 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't understand anyone that claims to be a futurama fan that says this movie is not good. This movie is excellent! Just to see all of the characters i loved in the original series again was enough, but the story was amazing as well. In my opinion, this movie fits in perfect with all of the episodes, plus the longer run time gives them a chance to tell a great story! For any futurama fan, i reccomend you go out an buy this! You won't be let down...

November 28 2007 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just picked it up today cant wait to watch it. I also got the the poster from my work about a month ago and hung it in my room.

November 27 2007 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved Futurama. I thought the humor was some of the best from the Simpsons writers. However, this movie really was a let down. It was basically a role-call of every guest appearance and kitschy funny moment from the original show, plus a heap of very non-Futurama violence humor. Now I love some good violence humor, but how many ways can you laugh at Hermes getting it?

Sad to say, I don't look forward to the other three if they are running this dry on the christening release.

November 22 2007 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian Boyle

I've already seen the movie and highly recommend it. Just go here.


November 22 2007 at 3:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

@beanspants: Zapp is there. Just about all the old characters show up, even if only briefly. But Zapp and Kif have a good scene or two. Remember, there are three other movies coming up, so there may be more Zapp-heavy plots soon.

November 17 2007 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

@ScottR: Thanks for pointing that out. I fixed the category for Brad.

November 17 2007 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cincinnati Mike

LMAO, Hiney!

November 16 2007 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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