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Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Futurama: Bender's Game

You know I don't consider straight-to-DVD movies worthy enough to be given full-blown movie reviews at my regular site, so they get stuck getting reviewed over here in the blog. I picked up my latest straight-to-DVD epic this weekend, so let's get reviewing!

Futurama: Bender's Game

Directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill

Starring the voices of Billy West, Katy Segal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, David Herman, Kath Soucie and the man, the legend, Frank Welker.

Backstory: All right, the third of the four Futurama straight-to-DVD movies has been unleashed upon us! The first one was awesome, the second one was good but not great, what will number 3 hold?

Plot: It's life as normal for the Planet Express crew. The rising price of dark matter (the substance that fuels spaceships in the Futurama-verse) is getting ridiculously high. This leads Professor Farnsworth to reveal the truth: dark matter was once a useless, inert substance until his experiments turned it into fuel. The Professor still has a crystal that could convert dark matter back into a useless substance. The crew then goes on a perilous quest to Mom's dark matter mine to destroy the dark matter and thus ruin Mom's monopoly on starship fuel. Meanwhile, Bender starts playing Dungeons and Dragons with Cubert and his friends, and his imagination goes into overdrive, making Bender believe that he actually exists in a magical realm called Cornwood. These two plotlines collide when a massive surge of energy from the dark matter turns our universe into Cornwood. Now stuck in a magical realm, Farnsworth's crystal has become a magical artifact of "One Ring"-type power, and its up to the crew to quest through this land and destroy the crystal. Can they do it? In various other subplots, the Planet Express ship gets trashed in a demolition derby, Leela gets outfitted with a shock collar that zaps her whenever her thoughts turn to violence, and we learn the shocking truth about Mom's son Igner.

What I Liked: There's a stronger plot in this one...it doesn't feel as episodic as The Beast with a Billion Backs. And there's something truly magical about George Takei screaming, "You ruined the franchise, Bakula!"

What I Didn't Like: The whole "Futurama" resurrection novelty is starting to wear off, and it feels like the creators aren't trying anymore. Let's hope they put their best foot forward for the fourth and final straight-to-video film.

Final Assesment: A good, solid Futurama outing.

3 Nibs

DVD Bonus Material:
  • Running commentary with the voice cast and crew
  • Animatics
  • Futurama Genetics Lab: Play "If They Mated" with the Futurama characters!
  • Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama: Featurette about making the film
  • How to Draw Futurama in 83 Simple Steps
  • 3D Models with Animator's Commentary
  • Deleted Scene
  • Blooperama 2: See the voice cast blowing their lines in the recording booth!
  • Bender's Anti-Piracy Warning
  • Trailer for the fourth and final film, Into the Wild Green Yonder, due out in the spring.

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