Sunday, March 10, 2013

MR Bender's Big Score

You thought the series dead, but FUTURAMA came a series of films!
Here's the first one of these direct-to-video movies.
 The future is here, with all these Futurama-related reviews!

Movie: Futurama: Bender's Big Score
Directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill
Release date 2007
Genre Animated science-fiction/comedy
Country USA

Futurama was canceled in 2003.
After being threatened to be canceled several times by 20th Century Fox, they actually pulled the plug after the 4th Season. They wanted the show to be the "next Simpsons", but while it never pulled the same impressive numbers it faired pretty good with good reviews and great receptions by fans of animated series and science fiction alike.

Thanks to the very high number of DVD sales, all the sales from the various merchandising and the fantastic ratings from the many reruns on [adult swim], Futurama was able to pull out an unexpected comeback, with several straight to video animated movies commissioned by Fox.
Futurama: Bender's Big Score was the first one, released in late 2007.

Bender's Big Score was written by Ken Keeler and David X. Cohen.
It features a feature length story that in true Futurama fashion is able to recapture the feel of the entire story while focusing on the heart of its main characters.

The movie opens with a perfect meta opening!
Professor Farnsworth tells the gang the people who fired them 2 years ago at "Box Network" (ha, I see what you did there...) where themselves shut down.

Looks like things could be back for normal for the Planet Express crew, right?
But after a delivery on a nude beach, some nudist aliens scam our heroes and get hold of Planet Express.
They force Bender into obeying their demands, and with the help from an hidden tattoo on Fry's ass (!) they are able to time travel into the past and avoid paradoxes.
Bender is forced (well, not like he would complain really..) to steal stuff in the past from the history.

Meanwhile Leela finds true love with Lards - not to Fry's liking.
Hermes loses his head! Literally!
Also the return of Nibblonians, Robot Santa, Al Gore, and Zapp Brannigan!!

This movie is truly a work of love, for fans of the series.
They made the return of the show possible.
There's lots of references of past seasons. But still plenty entertaining and watchable for more casual fans.

Well crafted, the movie revisits some familiar themes from Futurama.
It starts a bit silly and goofy, but then jumps right into pure science fiction, while not forgetting some sadder/character driven moments like only Futurama is able to switch around.
There's a lot of surprises in this first film, great twists. And yet plenty of jokes and slapstick.

I'd like to also point out this is the first time Futurama's been in widescreen!
And it looks great!
They did step up the quality a notch for the occasion. The blend 2D cartoons/3D vehicles looks seamless. The picture looks as crisp and clear as ever, great colors and production value.

There's also some unexpected guest surprises such as Al Gore as himself, Mark Hamill as the Chanukah Zombie or even Sarah Silverman!

Christopher Tyng was back once again for the music, recycling the main theme from the game (as he would do the same on all 4 movies) and some fresh new musical cues.

Overall, I really enjoyed this animated movie!
Such a fun remainder of how great and fun Futurama was.
I remember thinking how I missed the series when it came out....

Fun DVD factoid: It was the first release 20th Century Fox produced following very specific measures intended to reduce the total carbon footprint of the production, manufacturing, and distribution processes. The box was entirely carbon neutral. (it looks nice and doesn't pollute!)

There's some little bonus on the disc.
My favorite being the AWESOME "Everyone Loves Hypnotoad" episode.
A full 22 minutes episode!!
With commercial breaks, a laugh track and all~

You can just complain the way the movie ends... on a cliffhanger!
To be continued!
That's a pretty smart way to get us buying the following feature length Futurama movies!

Before the show was brought back on Comedy Central, there were three more movies after this one....

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Felixes!

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