Futurama – Bender’s Game (Animated Feature/Fox Blu-ray)
A- Sound: B+ Extras: C Film: B
third installment of four straight to home video Futurama films, Bender’s
Game fits well into the quirky Futurama
universe, but often times feels like a collection of mini episodes rather
than a great standalone film. The fact
of the matter, however, is that the Futurama
films are in fact meant to later be split into 22 minute pieces to
collectively make up a new season. How
well will this idea work? Only time can
tell, but this reviewer’s guess is that it will only be a moderately successful
venture. Out of the three Futurama films to date, Bender’s Game is the one that will most
likely translate to individual episodes; as it seems somewhat haphazard in its
current state anyhow.
Bender’s Game features many hilarious story
arches that fit right in with the rest of the series, with moments that range
‘meh’ to up there with some of the best Futurama
moments ever produced. The story
generally starts off with a worldwide dark matter (rocket fuel) shortage,
causing fuel prices to skyrocket.
Professor Farnsworth and Hermes forbid the crew (Lela, Bender, and Fry)
from going anywhere in Planet Expresses ship unless it is business related and
completely necessary. Multiple subplots
develop around this main story device to thrust each character into their own
mini adventure. Lela is fitted with a shock collar that has some unexpected
results, Professor Farnsworth meets up once again with Mom of Mom’s Friendly
Robot Company, Bender nearly loses his mind playing Dungeons and Dragons (once
he develops an imagination), and Fry once more unwittingly becomes the
universes’ hero in a hilarious Lord of the Rings parody. Each of these subplots contributes to why Bender’s Game may seem a bit random,
but overall it works as a good hour and half of Futurama that we would not have otherwise.
the film is not as fluid as other animated films or even the grossly overrated Simpsons Movie, Bender’s Game is fun, hilariously funny, and carries with it all
the elements that have always made the series great. In this reviewer’s opinion Futurama overall is a much better
series than even *gasp* The Simpsons
on its best day. The series never had
“awkward years” or a wasted episode like The
Simpsons did; and yes I realize The
Simpsons has been on for 20 years.
If you liked the series then this movie is for you, no doubt.
on this futuristic animated series is presented in a 1080p/AVC-Enocoded @ 35 MBPS
that demonstrates a crisp image, bright/vibrant colors, and deep blacks
throughout. It is surprising how
wonderful animated series look on Blu-ray; whereas films flip-flop back and
forth on quality, animation continuously has a strong presence on Blu-ray. The image is sharp, sharp, and sharp in every
frame without any digital noise or artifacting; if it wasn’t for the occasional
banding issue here and there the picture quality would be nearly perfect. The sound is presented in a 5.1 DTS-HD Master
Audio that doesn’t disappoint with its powerful and dynamic surrounds as it
distinctly projects the series across the soundstage. The dialogue is crisp, the music is
boastfully fluid and a full range of noises can be heard from all the
speakers. The main complaint can be that
the dialogue is a bit too crisp at times and takes main priority over all else,
leaving the music and ambient noise on the bench at times; but this is me
grasping at straws on an excellent animated feature.
extras are not very exciting though there are quite a few available. The bonus features include a film audio
commentary, Production Featurettes that takes you inside the inspiration and
creative process of the series, Fun with Futurama which is a collection of 1
deleted scene, outtakes, and a few funny PSA with Bender. The extras also include a game called Genetics Lab that allows the viewer to
try out different combinations of their favorite series characters, and a
preview for the next film entitled Into
the Wild Green Yonder.
Blu-ray also includes one bonus special feature, which is a Video Audio
Commentary of the film that really just adds Picture-In-Picture to the already
available audio commentary.
Futurama: Bender’s Game will certainly please any Futurama fan and is a must have for any
Blu-ray collection. The film is
hilarious and it just adds even more dimension to an already overwhelming
- Michael P. Dougherty II