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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Futurama – Bender’s Game (Animated Feature/Fox Blu-ray)

Futurama – Bender’s Game (Animated Feature/Fox Blu-ray)

 

Picture: A-     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: B

 

 

As the 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.

 

Though 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.

 

The video 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.

 

The 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.

 

The 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 wonderful series.

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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