Futurama: Bender's Game (2008)

Actors: John Di Maggio, George Takei, Kath Soucie, Lauren Tom, Billy West (II)
Dwayne Carey-Hill
AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date:
November 4, 2008
Run Time:
90 minutes


To paraphrase Woody Allen: Futurama is like sex - even mediocre sex is better than no sex at all!

With this in mind it is difficult to outright dislike the third full-length made-for-DVD Futurama movie, Bender's Game. But there is no disguising the fact that it is definitely mediocre not even just by the show's own high standards.

With fuel prices skyrocketing the Planet Express crew sets off to wean humanity from its dark matter dependency by, um, destroying the entire Earth's supply of the stuff. All of which is a bit like Green types blowing up all the oil fields so that we can use clean alternative fuels instead of wasteful oil. Hey, it doesn't really make any sense, but this is a Futurama movie, a franchise (like The Simpsons) known for its wild leaps in plot logic. An even wilder leap is that our heroes are somehow transported to a medieval land of dragons and sorcery, all of which serves as a clothesline onto which to hang some lame Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons jokes.

Okay, the Lord of the Rings gags are several years too late, but the truth is that the writing in this latest installment of this otherwise stellar animated comedy franchise is on the lazy and uninspired side (especially on the medieval bits). Laughs are simply way too far in-between and the plot lacks the inspired and outright lunacy of this sadly cancelled show.

The usual caveats apply: newbies should check out the brilliant first season and Bender's Game is only recommended for die-hard fans. The best thing about it is its title which has its own air of inevitability about it . . .

One can only hope that Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder, the fourth - and final - movie scheduled for a 24th of February 2008 DVD release date, will improve on Bender's Game and end the series on the high note it deserves to go out onto.



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