Rating: Not Rated
Length: 88 minutes
Director: Dwayne Carey-Hill (“Futurama”; “Drawn Together”)
Writers: Ken Keeler (“Futurama”; “The Simpsons”) and Michael Rowe (“Futurama”; “Family Guy”)
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Sarah Silverman, Mark Hamill, Al Gore, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, Frank Welker, Coolio, Tom Kenny
“Futurama” started off as a nerdy kid brother to “The Simpsons”, never quite got it’s proper due, and Fox sent it the way of “Family Guy” after four years. Now four years have passed and “Family Guy” is back on the air and “The Simpsons” made a movie that blew up at the summer box office. “Futurama” seems to have taken what it was given. A cult fan base started to build (much like with “Family Guy”) thanks to re-runs on the Cartoon Network. So while the series didn’t technically get renewed (though there will be three more brand new movies) and it didn’t get a huge theatrical release, “Futurama” has finally been given life again in the form of a direct-to-DVD movie, “Bender’s Big Score”. Part of the reason the show failed is because it’s brainier than “The Simpsons”. Right from the beginning, “Futurama” had cult status stamped on it. The suits at Fox (mocked in a hilarious intro where Professor Farnsworth explains what happened to the bastards at the “Box” network that had fired them) actually were generous with the four year run. People either got it or they didn’t and in the long run most of the people just didn’t get it. “Futurama” doesn’t have the moral implications “The Simpsons” does. It doesn’t require plots that teach us a lesson- not that “Simpsons” are always guilty of that, but there is always a heart to that show- “Futurama” just wants to make your brain laugh. And so, we have all of our favorite characters back after that long absence. Professor Farnsworth has his company up and running again after a convenient four year “hiatus”. Fry stills loves Leela, but she falls for a nerdy scientist named Lars. Hermes has lost his body and in turn his wife and child (when told that her husband’s head could be re-attached to his body in just three days, she scoffs “That’s too long”). While on their latest mission, a group of aliens commit online fraud and steal the company away from the Professor. The aliens also discover a code on Fry that allows Bender to go back in time. The aliens, of course, use this ability to make themselves rich and powerful and everyone is left powerless to help. That is until Bender finds a way to outsmart them. I enjoyed the “Futurama” series very much. It could never live up to “The Simpsons”, but I don’t think it was trying to. It knew it had an audience that would appreciate it and they did- enough to bring it back to life. Will average people who enjoyed “The Simpsons Movie” find themselves enjoying “Bender’s Big Score”? Maybe. This movie is more about it’s own quirky humor than “The Simpsons” was. If you didn’t care for the show then odds are you aren’t going to care for the movie. If you never gave the show a chance then maybe you should start here and if you like it- go back and re-discover one of the most underrated cartoon series of our time.
Buy the DVD here