Monday, February 25, 2008

REVIEW: Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Year: 2007
Director: Dwayne Carey-Hill
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Not Rated

2003 saw the cancellation of the popular animated series, Futurama. The series that was crafted by Simpson's creator Matt Groening was officially considered dead after 72 episodes. Fans all around the world were furious and sad by Fox's decision to bail out on one of the most talented animated series ever. After watching the reruns on adult swim for oh so long, Fox finally announced that Futurama will return. The series was picked up in 2007 as four straight-to-DVD films that will be split into a sixteen episodes that will make the fifth season. These episodes will be aired on Comedy Central as part of an agreement reached by Fox. As a huge fan I am of The Simpsons, it was only natural that I love Futurama too. Futurama to me is the best animated series ever created, I love it more than The Simpsons. So I was extremely saddened by the news of its cancellations, but also very happy for its inevitable return.

Plot Outline:
When the evil naked aliens launch a cyber attack on Planet Express, they make a shocking discovery: the secret of time travel, mysteriously tattooed on Fry's (Billy West) buttocks. Using their devious nudist software to control Bender (John Di Maggio), they repeatedly send the beer fueled robot back in time to loot Earth of its greatest treasures. Bender's rampage through history has shocking repercussions when he encounters Al Gore (guest starring as himself) during the 2000 Presidential recount. Meanwhile, Leela (Katey Sagal) finds true love, a beloved crew member suffers an embarrassing decapitation and Fry learns deep secrets about his destiny and his buttocks.

The story of Bender's Big Score is pretty good. While I had my doubts that the movie was actually going to be good, I was quite surprised to see that it was. The story centers on these new aliens who take over the world by using spam. The story often comes close to episode 43 "Time Keeps on Slipping" of the show. They both feature time travel in their story. So the movie doesn't offer anything new we haven't seen before. Since the movie focuses on time travel we get to see the many things about the past, every little piece some how gets branched into another thing. Their are alot of references to the actual show with alot of the previous episodes being remembered in this film. While Bender's Big Score is good for the most part, it still has its problems. As you might have guessed, when a movie's story is about time travel alot of the times their tends to be plot holes and that same loop continues here. Their are parts where the story falls short of being funny into more serious. While I enjoyed the story for the movie, I wouldn't put it near some of the best episodes in Futurama.

The cast of Bender's Big Score is great. Everyone from the main TV show returns. While this is an animated film where their isn't any live action acting involved, I will have to base my review on their voice work. So far everyone seemed to sound great. I'm glad that the main cast of the TV show returned because with out them, Futurama wouldn't even exist. Whats even better is that their voices don't sound changed or different. There the same as they were in the TV show.

The visual look of Bender's Big Score is good. The movie like the TV show is in 2D animation just like The Simpsons. This is the first time the series is presented in wide screen 16:9. So everything is a big improvement from the TV show. Colors are brighter, image seems more crisper and cleaner. I never knew DVD's could have this much of an impact on animated TV shows like Futurama. This is the best Futurama has ever looked. While I don't know if its as great looking as The Simpsons Movie, its definitely better than the DVD releases.

The music in Bender's Big Score is also great. Composer Christopher Tyng who also composed the Futurama TV show also returns to compose this film. The music sounds so much better than it did on TV. The intro music has been remixed in a way and it sounds much cooler to listen to. The movie is also presented in 5.1 surround sound with the soundtrack really benefiting from the bigger space. Bass is also pretty good with some moments receiving a big boost from the bass. Overall, I'm very pleased with the music in the movie. I cant stop listening to the remixed version of the introduction. Its simply that much better than its TV counterpart and its also something the fans will get excited about.

Futurama: Bender's Big Score is the first Futurama movie to debut on DVD even though its simply the episodes that will be airing on Comedy Central, but made into a movie. The story is pretty good for the most part even though its got some plot holes. The cast is great with everyone from the TV show returning. The visual look of the movie is more cleaner and colorful than it has ever looked. The music sounds great with the intro music definitely getting some props from me. While I enjoyed Bender's Big Score, I wasn't as impressed with it as I was with some of the episodes from the TV show. I would easily recommend this to any Futurama fan out their.

Grade: B-

1 comment:

Omair said...

Good review Farzan. I loved this movie too