Futurama: Bender’s Big Score [Time Travel Week]

“Everyone, out of the universe!”

The Scoop: 2007 NR, directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill and starring Billy West, Katey Sagal and John Di Maggio

Tagline: Just when you thought it was safe to watch something else!

Summary Capsule: Time travel and Futurama… what more of a summary do you need?

Lissa’s Rating: Bite my shiny metal [censored]!

Lissa’s Review: Once upon a time, there was a show called Futurama. It was funny and quirky and sarcastic, and I loved it very much.

Then it got canceled, for no good reason that I could see.

Once upon a time, there was a show called Firefly. It was funny and quirky and sarcastic, and many people loved it very much (I didn’t discover it until it was on DVD).

Then it got canceled, for no good reason that anyone could see.

Once upon a time, there was a show called Arrested Development. It was funny and quirky and sarcastic, and many people loved it very much.

You know, FOX really sucks sometimes. On the other hand, they did air these wonderful shows in the first place, so at least I have a nice stack of DVDs to watch when I want to. But part of my point is, if you feel like I do, you should at least watch the first five minutes of the Futurama movie, because it’s really, really funny, even if it is a bit juvenile. (But hey – didn’t that sum up the whole show?)

As a whole, I don’t hold out much hope or faith for movies made from TV shows. It just normally seems like a dumb idea to me. Of course, there are movies that prove me wrong; certain Trek movies and Serenity come to mind. But TV can actually be a better story-telling method than movies, just because you have so much more time. At least, that tends to be the case for these series that actually build on each episode, which tend to be the ones I like.

However, if you have a show that doesn’t really build on each episode and is still a strong series despite that, I kind of feel like the best you can expect from the movie is that it will be a good ninety minute episode of said show. And – good news, everyone! – that’s exactly what the Futurama movie is – a good, longer episode of the show. Don’t expect more than that, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

As always, the Planet Express crew has a mission that leads them into trouble. This time, they’re conned by nude super-scammer aliens into giving up the business and the secret of time traveling. Along the way, Leela gets a new guy (sending Fry spiraling into massive depression), Hermes gets his head cut off, and Al Gore helps save the world. The plot is exactly as you’d expect from a Futurama episode, and does leave you wondering a little bit if you’re meant to watch this stoned. Most of the major and minor characters are present, but a few are notably missing (like Lrrr, although one site says he was there). And oh yeah – there is singing.

I didn’t have high expectations, so I really enjoyed the movie. Like I said, it was like a good 88 minute episode of the show. The characters were all as I remembered them, but I could have handled a little more Professor and a little less Hermes, because he kind of annoyed me in as high a capacity as he was present in. In fact, the Professor, Amy, and Dr. Zoidberg were all a little more minor than some of their fans might prefer. (Of course, I’ve never been a huge Dr. Zoidberg fan, so I didn’t really mind a little less of him.) The jokes were pretty consistent, and the humor/occasional bittersweet moments were exactly what I liked about the series.

I did think that they handled the time travel aspect well. Normally I’m not much on time travel in movies, because it makes my head hurt. But like Bill and Ted, the Futurama crew treats time travel as something to be amused by and doesn’t try to take it too seriously, unlike sci-fi movies in general. The hows and whys are just glossed over (or, in this case, summed up by the Harlem Globetrotters) and time travel is just fun. And that’s exactly how I prefer it. Like mithril, the finer points of time travel just seem best left uncontemplated.

The only thing I’m not sure on is the ending of the Lars/Leela storyline. I can’t decide if I thought it was kind of clever and sweet, or if it was really corny. I’ll have to watch the movie again and see if I can see any reason I should have even suspected the ending, I don’t think there was, but that’s not necessarily a total turnoff.

All in all, I enjoyed it very much. I’m glad it didn’t go to the theaters first, because I wouldn’t have wanted to pay a small fortune to see it, but as a straight-to-DVD movie it was acceptable. Rumor has it the movie (and the other three) will be broken down into episode-sized chunks and broadcast, so if you’re on a super-tight budget (or really cheap) you can probably see it for “free” sometime soon anyway. (“Free” being an inaccurate descriptor of TV these days, given that most areas require cable to get any reception at all. But I digress.) And it did seem like there were some cool extras on the DVD itself, which I haven’t had a chance to watch yet. But overall, definitely entertaining enough to renew my hatred of FOX.

We're back, baby!

Intermission!

  • Mark Hamill voices the Hanukkah Zombie.
  • Al Gore is actually pretty darn funny.
  • 2012: 100 dollars for a gallon of gas. I wish I could say I thought that was funny.
  • Jon Stewart can be seen at the Head Museum.
  • This was the first of 4 original Futurama direct-to-DVD movies. They sold well enough that the series was revived on Comedy Central for another season that aired in 2010-2011, with yet another on tap for 2012-2013. Ironically, due to its cancellation and various uncertainties about the future, Futurama has aired 3 different intended series finales (“The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings”; “Into The Wild Green Yonder”; and “Overclockwise”), with at least one more to come.

Groovy Quotes:

Al Gore: Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slide shows!

Nibbler: Everyone, out of the universe!

Fry: I want what makes you happy, not what makes me happy.

Zoidberg: I thought you were happy, your tail was wagging!

Nixon: The Force is with us, but that’s about it.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Futurama on TV
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder | Mutant Reviewers

  2. Pingback: Futurama: Bender’s Game | Mutant Reviewers

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