Is it just me or has The Simpsons gone on a little too long? Conversely, Futurama was cancelled after just five seasons, half a billion light-years way from being past its sell-by date.
Clearly Matt Groening wasn’t really happy about being cancelled by Fox, and how much is made blatantly clear in the first five minutes of Bender’s Big Score. As Farnsworth puts it so succinctly, “those asinine morons who fired us have been fired themselves!” No, really?
The Big Score serves up the usual Futurama mix of geeky humour, clever cultural references but now on a super-sized, advert-free 90 minute DVD.
To be honest it does at times feel like three twenty minute stories welded together by Bender, but the quality of the animation is higher than the usual TV product, so I for one aren’t ready to complain. There must be enough room for the odd extra helping of Futurama in an infinite universe without bending then causing a time paradox that could ultimately destroy the fabric of space time – surely?
Not to be spoilerific about Bender’s Big Score, it combines a not unfamiliar combination of time travel, double-dealing aliens, psychopathic Santas and wanton stupidity. But then that hardly confronts expectations, does it? They’ve even thrown a couple of short musical numbers, and all the characters we’ve come to love, or at least recognise, and curiously Al Gore. The story not only goes on to explain Bender’s role in Al’s presidential failure, but he gets to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slide shows! As I’m always saying, what a twisted mistress probability is.
The main feature is as entertaining as any Futurama fan might reasonably hope, and the DVD extras on this disc are also not bad. They include deleted scenes, a comic book with cast voiceovers, promos, 3D models and the ubiquitous cast and crew commentary.
But my personal favourite was a satire of Everyone Hates Chris, called Everyone Loves Hypnotoad. It’s a full 22 minutes of the mesmerising Hypnotoad doing absolutely nothing…other than being ‘hypno’. There’s also a bizarre maths lecture entitled ‘Bite My Shiny Metal X’, given by a real maths professor.
But the highlight has to be a storyboard trailer for The Beast with a Billion Backs, the second of the new Futurama specials. According to Fox, this will be followed by more adventures with Bender’s Game, and Into the Wild Green Yonder – if enough people buy the first two.
For now, if you ever loved Futurama, then Bender’s Big Score hits just the right spot.
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