Futurama: Bender's Game is the third straight-to-DVD Futurama movie, with the first being Bender's Big Score and the second being The Beast with a Billion Backs. The first film was enjoyable enough, while the second film turned out to be a big disappointment. So how does this one stack up? Personally, I'd say it's somewhere in between. Not as good as the first one, but better than the second one.
The story is rather convoluted. Actually, there are two separate stories which eventually come together through a weird series of events. The first involves Bender getting in on a game of Dungeons and Dragons that a bunch of kids are playing at the Planet Express building. Problem is, he can't play because he isn't programmed with an imagination. And yet, he does play, so I guess he was. Except that using his imagination makes him go crazy or something. Yeah, this leans heavily to the nonsensical side.
The other story involves high fuel prices for spaceships, which are powered by dark matter, a substance that their alien pet, Nibbler, defecates for free. But it's not enough to run the ship, so Professor Farnsworth tells this strange story of how he used to work for Mother, the sweet-to-the-public-but-truly-evil lady who owns and runs the corporation responsible for mining all the Dark Matter in the universe. Apparently, Professor Farnsworth did some kind of experiment which created two small hexagonal materials about the size of a Dungeons and Dragons die, and these two elements being separated caused all the dark matter in the universe to become usable as fuel.
That story really feels like the main story of this movie, with the Bender story being nothing more than a subplot. However, when Professor Farnsworth comes up with a plan to merge the two elements back together in order to render all dark matter inert (and thus unusable as spaceship fuel), the Bender imagination thing comes back into play, but probably not like you'd expect... if you had any expectations. Somehow, every is yanked into an alternate universe which happens to be Bender's imagination. This gives a lot of room for geek parodies, such as Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc., even if it doesn't make any sense.
There are so many plot holes here that it's not even worth counting them all. The professor's plan is absolutely absurd, since he owns a delivery business that uses a spaceship. Sure, high prices suck, but how does making your fuel worthless help anything? The idea is that it will force people to come up with alternative fuels. Kinda hard to do that when you essentially shut everyone down. And how will you stay in business until that actually comes to pass?
Plot holes is definitely nothing new for Futurama, but it's one reason I always found it not as enjoyable as The Simpsons. Yeah, it's funny, but also feels kinda like lazy writing. Of course, The Simpsons haven't been doing any better for quite a while. So comparing to the recent season of The Simpsons, I'd have to say I liked this movie more. There were a lot of funny jokes, and I'm sure there were a bunch that went over my head because I've never played Dungeons and Dragons.
The DVD is loaded with extra features, though most were boring to just okay. The exception is Bender's Anti-Piracy Warning, which was hilarious. And I haven't re-watched the movie with the commentary yet, so I don't know if that's worth listening to.
- Movie Commentary
- Storyboard Animatic for part one
- Futurama Genetics lab
- Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama
- How to draw Fry, Bender/Flexo, Leela, & Zoidberg
- 3-D modeling of various ships in the series
- Deleted scene
- "Blooperama," outtakes from the movie
- Bender's Anti-Piracy Warning
- Trailer for the fourth movie: "Into the Wild Green Yonder"