Saturday, November 8, 2008

Futurama - Bender's Game review

I am a massive fan of Futurama. So when it was announced that a fifth season of Futurama beacons in the form of direct to DVD films, I was filled with hope. Bender's Game is the third of said features and to be honest after viewing this, I don't see much hope left in the franchise.

Bender's Big Score was a typical Futurama episode stretched to widescreen and length that while no where near as good as the series, was pretty enjoyable. The second, The Beast with a Billion Backs was less so. I was only capable of watching it a couple of times before permanently archiving it in the back of the bookcase for spiders to gnaw at. Bender's Game on the other hand... well I barely got through half of it before turning on my PC to begin ranting about it, while the none stop pop-referencing Dungeons & Dragons meets Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars filled the background noise. I had to re-watch the second half to write this because I missed so much.

The plot is nonsensical at best. I know, Futurama has always prided itself with silly (but still cohesive) plots, but what we have here is absolutely no plot. There were a couple of jokes and gags, but these were far in between, and those that appeared are weak. It's like a couple of awful Scary Movie films rolled into one, with Teletubbies thrown in for good measure. The film has a couple of con-current storylines: Bender being accused of having no imagination after his dabble with Dungeons & Dragons, Leela being fitted with a temper checking dog collar and Hubert Farnsworth's desire for vengeance against Mom. Sounds good on paper, except it doesn't...

For an episode that supposedly explores Bender's lack of imagination, Bender's Game is surprisingly lacking. The over reliance on parodying genre favourites like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings just proves that. Gags are often unfunny and made of cheap predictable puns and seemingly random. Even the quality of the animation seems a bit off. About the only thing worth about Bender's Game is we finally get to see Leela and Amy getting it on, something I am sure many of you were wishing since The Series Has Landed (don't lie now).

The picture quality is great and you do get audio commentary by the makers of the show with your purchase. In addition to that a slew of bonus features is included such as deleted scenes, storyboard animation, bloopers by the voice casts etc. Unfortunately that doesn't change the fact that I personally think Bender's Game is an awful awful Futurama episode. Perhaps if you are a D&D nerd who takes pride in spotting mathematical references, then this film may be for you. A rent at best, but don't blame yourself if you decided to give this a miss.


Bender's Game is available on DVD and Blu-Ray


RichardAM said...

That's a shame. For completion I suppose i'd better watch it, but from what i've heard from other sources, things aren't sounding too good at all.

Jon said...

Not good at all. But do watch it for the sake of completion. Then weep.

Jamison said...

What in the h happened to these guys. It's as if Futurama was in its twentieth season and a bunch of bored hacks had been hired to replace the old team. The Beast was an hour and a half long fart joke with a (tedious) moral, Bender's Game is just an hour and half long fart joke. Pbbbbbbbbbbbb. Score was a little crowded, story-wise, and a little sentimental, but when Fry had his epiphany ("My larynx!"), and took off running for Lela and the future, I was not only moved, but convinced that the series had a future as well. It doesn't. Thank God, though, for the brilliant gift of seasons one through four. God, and Groening.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd see the day when Futurama writers would write about D&D and yet come off as if they had no actual idea how to play it. I was floored by this alone, but it just got worse from there.

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