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Futurama - Bender's Big Score Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   9/10
Extras:   5/10

Welcome back, Futurama
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
12/05/2007

It's New Year's Eve, 1999, and Fry delivers a pizza to a cryogenic lab. When he gets there he discovers it was a phoney order so he kicks back to enjoy pizza and a drink. Being the clumsy oaf that he is, he falls backwards into an open chamber and is frozen for 1000 years. Waking up in the future without family or friends, he befriends Bender the robot and Leela the one-eyed alien. Together, they track down Professor Farnsworth, Fry's distant relative, and end up working for his delivery company, Planet Express. Also working at the delivery company is Hermes, the accountant; Amy, the intern; and Dr. Zoidberg, the doctor.

Futurama was canceled by Fox in 2002, though they had enough episodes stockpiled to last well into 2003. As fans of Family Guy can attest to, the cancelation of an animated show doesn't mean its death. In July, 2005, word started leaking out that direct-to-DVD movies were planned, and official confirmation came in 2006. "Bender's Big Score" marks the return of Futurama in the first of four direct-to-DVD movies planned for the series (the others haven't been announced yet).

    Uncancel your plans for the future - Futurama is back! In this all-new, feature-length epic, evil nudist aliens send Bender on a rampage through time, forcing him - slightly against his will - to steal all of Earth's priceless historic treasures. Will the heroic Planet Express crew save the planet? Will Leela find true love? Will the ancient and terrible secret of Fry's buttocks be revealed? Find out when you watch Bender's Big Score, the greatest adventure of our time, and also the greatest adventure of several other times! In the words of a certain beer-fueled robot... "We're back, baby!"
I'm not very impressed with the packaging for this set. It's a cardboard outer box, with a flimsy insert to hold the disc. The disc slides into a slit, which means it can be scratched if a spec of dust gets in there. I think the poor packaging is due to the set being carbon neutral; hopefully they can find a better carbon neutral package for future movies.

Disc 1 (1:28:45)
Bender's Big Score (1:28:45)

Video

Wow, this looks excellent, especially because it's in Anamorphic Widescreen. They mentioned the episode was animated in HD, so it could be broadcast or released in HD later. The picture is almost perfect, except for a few instances of shimmering. Otherwise, the picture is perfect.

Audio

I love the sound on Futurama because the sound designers go the extra mile. Futurama has many directional audio sound effects, and they aren't overdone either. The theme song sounds superb on DVD; the music can be heard through all the speakers and the bass from the sub really thumps. The dialog sounds crystal clear through the center speaker, and the two front speakers are used for music and sound effects, as are the two rears. The series had a few different audio tracks, but the movie is just an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, with English, Spanish and French subtitles.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary Track
There's a great commentary track featuring Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, Claudia Katz, Dwayne Carey-Hill and Ken Keeler.

Futurama Returns! (8:51)
A live comic book reading by the cast of the show. Cool!

Everybody Loves Hypnotoad (22:01)
A spellbinding episode of the future's most popular TV program, it's also the most useless "special feature" ever found on a DVD. A complete waste of time.

Deleted Storyboard Scenes (3:36)
Three deleted scenes can be found in this section.

A Terrifying Message From Al Gore (1:24)
An animated promo for An Inconvenient Truth, with video commentary by Al Gore, Matt Groening and David X Cohen (3:10).

Bite My Shiny Metal X (26:04)
An interesting lecture on the math used in Futurama. Warning: This is educational!

3D models/Turnarounds (1:12)
Get a look at the 3D models used in the movie.

Bender's Big Score Script
Use your remote to flip through the script pages.

New Characrter/Design Sketches
A bunch of character designs - navigate the still images with your remote.

Original 5-Minute Comic-Con Promo (4:56)
This was the promo shown at Comic-Con.

Summary

"Bender's Big Score" plays out like one long episode of Futurama, which is a good thing for fans of the show. I don't mean "one long episode" to imply that it's boring, I mean the movie has all the humor of an episode, and nothing is lost moving from 22 minutes to nearly an hour and a half.

I'm looking forward to the next Futurama movie, whenever that is.


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