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Futurama: Bender's Game - Dungeons and Dragons Meets Futurama
Written: Dec 21, 2008 (Updated Sep 12, 2010)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Fun, entertaining movie with Futurama characters.
Cons:Case could be better. Some characters under used or missing.
The Bottom Line: Futurama: Bender’s Game was another fun, entertaining addition to Futurama that fans of the series should enjoy.
In 1999, Futurama began to air on FOX. I loved the show, but unfortunately FOX didn't treat it well, changing the time slot many times before ultimately cancelling the show. I'm still irked about that. Futurama had good ratings when it aired on Cartoon Network which eventually led to the decision being made to make four direct to video movies. I recently watched the third of those movies, Futurama: Bender's Game.
The first two movies, Futurama: Bender's Big Score and Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs were connected by a plot. There was something left unresolved from the first movie that played an important part in the second movie. Nothing carried into Futurama: Bender's Game, so it stands alone better than the second movie. The movie will make the most sense to people who have seen Futurama before. I really don't think it would even appeal to people who haven't seen the show.
The universe was dealing with a dark matter shortage. That was a problem because dark matter was used as fuel for spaceships. The prices continued to climb and Professor Farnsworth decided to save money by not letting the crew use the ship unless it was absolutely necessary. Leela, who was have some anger management issues, decided to ignore him and enter the ship in a demolition derby after two idiots insulted the ship. The Professor wasn't happy when he found out and came up with the idea of Leela wearing a shock collar to help control her anger. While that was going on, Bender became obsessed with discovering his imagination so he could play Dungeons & Dragons. Since he wasn't designed to have an imagination to begin with, once Bender managed to imagine a character, he was convinced that the real world was the world of the game and he ended up in a robot asylum.
Mom controlled the dark matter market and was making record profits because of the skyrocketing prices. The Professor came up with a plan to end Mom's monopoly and the crew headed to Mom's dark matter mine. Bender was under going a treatment to remove his imagination at that point. His imagination reacted oddly with some dark matter he had picked up as treasure, which created an alternate universe where Dungeons & Dragons was real. Everyone was transported to that universe and they took on the appearance of characters from the game or other fantasy creatures. In that world, they had to travel to the Geysers of Gygax to destroy the Die of Power.
When Comedy Central picked up the rights to air Futurama, they also decided to have some new episodes made as well. I was very excited when I heard that since I loved the show. The plans were modified a bit and the sixteen new episodes that were ordered are what make up the DVD movies. A few months after the release of each DVD, the movies are aired as episodes on Comedy Central. I think that has been part of why the plots for the movies have had several different things going on. I felt the plot in Futurama: Bender's Game worked well as a movie and I think it will work as individual episodes as well. There was a lot going on, but that didn't make the movie overly complicated or hard to follow. Anyone who hasn't seen Futurama before would be more likely to be lost or confused by certain things.
I thought that Futurama: Bender's Game was an action adventure type of movie. Most of the adventure aspects happened once the other world was created and the crew ended up really living a Dungeons & Dragons game. I thought that the adventure worked well overall and really tied into the idea of having the plot connected to Dungeons & Dragons. I thought that the adventure was fun overall, much like the adventure from the episodes of the series had been. There was a bit of violence in some scenes, usually when Leela was annoyed and beating someone up. The violence wasn't extreme. There were certain things that were said or done that were more adult in nature, like when Leela started to get a thrill from the shock collar. Those things may give parents some concerns, so they may want to watch the movie before letting their kids watch.
Futurama: Bender's Game included the same type of humor that was used in the series and the first two movies. There was a lot of slapstick type of humor that had someone, usually Fry, getting hurt in some way. There were a few gross jokes, but it wasn't anything too extreme. Some of what was done for laughs was just silly, which could bother some viewers. I thought that all the humor worked very well. People that don't care for silly humor probably won't enjoy this movie. The movie had a lot of references to the game Dungeons & Dragons and Gary Gygax, the man who created the game. I also noticed several references to The Lord of the Rings once the characters were in the fantasy world. There might have been some references to some other fantasy things that I wasn't as familiar with. I did think the things connected to Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings worked well together to make an interesting story.
The same type of animation that was used for the series was used for Futurama: Bender's Game. The locations that turned up again looked the same and the characters also remained consistent in their looks. Bright, vibrant colors were used which did help to make everything come to life and stand out. Some new locations were also introduced. The opening sequence was mostly the same as it had been during the cartoon, though there was a new bit of animation added when the ship flew into the screen near the end of the opening sequence. That section of the opening credits changed for every episode of the series.
All the main characters from the series were back in Futurama: Bender's Game along with some of the supporting characters. There were several supporting characters who weren't used at all, which might disappoint some fans. Even with the main characters, some of them weren't used as much. Fry and Bender probably ended up with the most to do, something that tended to happen in the series as well. The characters were the same as they had been in the series, though there were also a few new things added as well, like how Bender became obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. Leela has always had some aggression and anger issues, but they did seem to be getting out of control. Professor Farnsworth was a bit more important to what was going on since he had a connection to dark matter and it being used for fuel.
Mom had been in different episodes of the series. During the series, she was known for owning the company that made all the robots. She had a nice, motherly public image, but she was really aggressive and ruthless. She was willing to do anything to get her way and she generally didn't care who she hurt or upset. Given what she had done in the past, it wasn't surprising that she was monopolizing the dark matter market. It was interesting to see her play a bigger role again. Her three sons were also around doing her dirty work. All of the voice cast returned to voice the characters again. They all provided voices for several characters, except for Katey Sagal who only provided the voice for Leela.
Main Voice Cast
John DiMaggio - Bender/Igner
Gary Gygax - Himself from Archive Footage
David Herman - Larry/Scruffy/Turanga Morris/Dr. Wernstrom
Maurice LaMarche - Walt/Morbo/Calculon
Phil LaMarr - Hermes Conrad
Tress MacNeille - Mom/Turanga Munda/Linda
Katey Sagal - Turanga Leela
Kath Soucie - Cubert Farnsworth
Lauren Tom - Amy Wong
Frank Welker - Nibbler
Billy West - Philip J. Fry/Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth/Dr. Zoidberg
Dwayne Carey-Hill - Director
Futurama: Bender's Game came out on DVD on November 4, 2008. The movie has the same sort of case that was used for the first two movies that I think is more flimsy and doesn't offer enough protection for the disc. The inner part of the case, that actually holds the DVD, does come out of the slip case very easy, and every time I move the case, I'm worried that the disc will fall out like has happened a few times with Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs. It does say on the back of the case that it is carbon neutral. I understand the makers wanting to do that, I just would like the case to also be more secure and offer more protection for the disc.
The special features include a commentary with Matt Groening, Dwayne Carey-Hill and several members of the voice cast that I haven't had a chance to listen to yet. There was a storyboard animatic that was interesting. Futurama Genetics Lab was basically a little game where you select two characters and see what the result would be if they were combined. Some of the ones I tried were very funny looking. There were some 3-D models of different things along with some explanations from animators. D & D & F (Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama) Featurette had a lot of information about how elements from Dungeons & Dragons were added to Futurama. Some things that had been done during the series were also pointed out.
How to Draw Futurama in 83 Easy Steps showed a few animators demonstrating how a few of the characters are drawn. There was a deleted scenes and some bloopers from the voice recording sessions. The entire cast was together for the recordings and some of the bloopers were very funny. I thought it was interesting to see the people behind the voices, though it was kind of strange to hear Bender's voice coming out of a person instead of an animated robot. There was also a short preview of Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder, the next Futurama movie that is due to be released in 2009.
Futurama: Bender's Game was a very fun, entertaining movie with a good adventure. Fans of Futurama will probably enjoy this movie.
Futurama - Volume 1 ~ Futurama - Volume 2 ~ Futurama - Volume 3 ~ Futurama - Volume 4 ~ Futurama: Bender's Big Score ~ Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs ~ Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder ~
The Simpsons - The Complete First Season ~ The Simpsons - The Complete Second Season ~ The Simpsons - The Complete Third Season ~ The Simpsons - The Complete Fourth Season ~ The Simpsons - Season 5 ~ The Simpsons - Season 6 ~ The Simpsons - Season 7 ~ The Simpsons - Season 8 ~The Simpsons - Season 9 ~ The Simpsons - Season 10 ~ The Simpsons - Season 11 ~ The Simpsons - Season 12 ~ The Simpsons - Season 13 ~ The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season ~ The Simpsons Movie ~ The Simpsons Clue ~
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