Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW
Film Rating: /
Starring Voices of: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom
Written by: Matt Groening and others
Directed by: Dwayne Carey-Hill
All-New Feature-Length Epic!
After a two year absence, the characters of Futurama are back for their first full-length movie titled Bender’s Big Score. The movie has the show’s typical crude humour, mostly spoken and acted by Bender, so fans of the cancelled series shouldn’t be disappointed with the direction of the film.
Planet Express is taken hostage by scam artists. The Futurama crew all fall for email phishing scams by entering personal information to collect their Spanish lottery winnings or to order anti-depressants. Little does the Professor know that his entering of information signs off his company to the scam artists – a group of three ugly nude aliens. From this point the threaten to take over all of Planet Express with the help of Bender, who downloaded a virus into his brain from spam he was surfing in his head, and thus making him obey the aliens’ commands. Fry also finds himself as being an unwilling participant in this scam since he holds the key to time travel on the bottom on his buttocks.
Time travel becomes a big subplot in this film as it veers from millennium to millennium many times over a period of at least a half hour. While seemingly crucial to the story, I felt the story to somewhat lose its direction over the course of time travel. The movie also tries to get complex with itself with temporal doubles of characters in multiple amounts. While I can understand what the writers were trying to do, I think younger audiences will be confused.
VIDEO QUALITY: 4/5
The picture quality is good on DVD but in every case it lacks the stability, solidness, vividness, and depth of the high definition trailers on Fox’s Blu-ray disks. Animation can’t quite be graded the same way as live material, but there is nothing notably wrong or objectionable with the source material. The picture is bright in a darkened home theatre. White levels look dead-on accurate without a trace of clipping in the source. Since night time scenes are tinted blue rather than black or grey, “shadow detail” doesn’t really exist in this picture. Black levels do look deep when necessary and noise in the source doesn’t seem to show. This disc’s weak point would be the compression artefacts. After watching so much solid-performing HD transfers, the compression artefacts on DVDs are showing more than ever now.
AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5
This soundtrack is a bit boring for a 5.1 presentation. Futurama is an animation set in space and a creative sound design certainly could have been used here. Like virtually everything else, dialogue is placed firmly in the center channel. It’s never strained and is always intelligible; it stands out nicely without being too aggressive. Many sound effects also occupy the role of the center channel when sometimes they could have been used in the other channels to make a more immersive experience. This is a missed opportunity. Occasionally there sound effects do spread in the rest of the mix such as the space ships flying in the climatic ending. I wasn’t a fan of the music in this movie (and I detest the theme song) but its tone is balanced nicely and wraps around the viewer.
TACTILE FUN!! /
TACTILE TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
Laser blasts, explosions, and some heaving hitting sounds are added to the LFE and add a subtle but nice effect to the rumbling of the seat.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
Not a bad load of features on this disc for a straight-to-video release. We get:
Also included are 3D Models/Turnarounds, the original first draft of the script to read through, new character and design sketches, and the original 5-minute Comic-Con Promo for this movie (16:9, 4m56s).
Keep your eye open for an Easter Egg too.
IN THE END...
Keeping in the Futurama spirit, this movie will likely please fans but those not familiar with the series will probably pass on it since little, if any, back story is talked about. Prior knowledge of the series is almost a necessity. While I wasn’t a fan of the film, I felt that both the audio and video quality was acceptable for a straight-to-video release.
December 30, 2007.
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