Futurama - Bender's Big Score (2007)

Actors: Billy West, John Di Maggio, Katey Sagal, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr
Directors: Dwayne Carey-Hill
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Surround Sound
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
November 27, 2007
Run Time:
88 minutes



One of the best animated comedy TV shows "inspired" by The Simpsons throughout the years had been Futurama, which was ironically also created by Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

Featuring the same animation style and humor, but coupled to a feverish pace and packed with endless pop cultural - in particular science fiction - references, Futurama at best had a limited audience when one thinks about it. After all, how many viewers actually got all those Planet of the Apes and original Star Trek series gags? So, while it was sad to see the show go, it was a surprise that it actually managed to run a whole four seasons from 1999 to 2003.

The show followed the adventures of a hapless, bumbling pizza delivery boy named Fry who inadvertently got frozen in the 20th century only to be revived in a Jetsons-like future of the Year 3000. Most memorable of the many human and alien characters he meets up with a cigar chomping sociopath (but in a good way of course) robot named Bender.

The Futurama crew is back with this straight-to-DVD full-length movie, the first of four such movies apparently. Word has it that each movie will be chopped into four episodes which will make up what will in effect be the show's fifth season on the Comedy Channel eventually.

This may make Bender's Big Score sound episodic, but don't fear. Bender's Big Score has a single plot line, even though that plot line tends to careen wildly from one end to the other in typical Futurama style. It is as if the scriptwriters had too much Cola to drink and in their sugar rush thought up all kinds of inspired stuff, but failed to come up with a single plot line to satisfyingly string them all together.

Planet Express - the intergalactic delivery company for which the Futurama heroes work - is taken over by nudist alien scammers using techniques which would be familiar to any Internet user today. Eventually the aliens also manage to take over the entire planet Earth using the same tactics and along the way they also travel back in time to plunder treasures from Earth's past using a reprogrammed Bender.

The plot is inventive and clever albeit convoluted. Unfortunately it relies too much on the original series' back story to make it truly accessible to newcomers. Long-time fans at whom the movie is aimed at in any case will have a blast though as the movie plays like a greatest hits compilation in that as many as possible of the show's characters are dragged back from retirement.

Still, whilst Bender's Big Score is a fun outing, it never quite soars to the heights that the best episodes in the series managed to. Newcomers are advised to check out the first few seasons before checking out Bender's Big Score.



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