Futurama: Bender's Big Score

Futurama returns, in a straight-to-dvd full-length movie! But is the film Futurama: Bender's Big Score better or worse than the TV series? About the same, actually.

Just about everyone from the show is back: Fry (voiced by Billy West, who also does numerous other voices), Leela (Katey Segal), Bender (John Di Maggio), Dr. Zoidberg, Hermes, Professor Farnsworth, and so on. After a less-than-subtle jab at the show's cancellation -- the Planet Express crew is told they were cancelled by the Box Network (whose "B" flickers to a "F") -- the movie takes the Planet Express crew to the Nude Beach Planet, where the characters give their emails to a trio of nude aliens. These aliens send spam emails, which give the aliens control of Planet Express -- and Bender. They also notice that Fry has a tattoo of Bender on his buttock, and this tatoo contains a binary code letting anyone travel back in time (really) -- at the risk of creating a rip in the universe -- so the aliens send Bender back through history to steal everything valuable.

Also, Fry is jealous of Lars, the new man in Leela's life. And Hermes is upset because Barbados Slim is making a play for Hermes' wife after Hermes accidentally got his head cut off. And Fry went back to the 20th century, hunted down by Bender. Earth is owned by the nude aliens. And Al Gore's head is flying around!

Much like The Simpsons Movie, Futrama: Bender's Big Score feels like a good, slightly extended version of the TV show. Most of the jokes hit the mark, but the overall feel is chuckling instead of laughing out loud. There are some creative sci-fi touches (including how any paradoxical beings wind up dead pretty qucikly) and I look forward to the upcoming three movies that will wrap up this series -- The Beast With a Billion Backs, Bender's Game, and Into the Wild Green Yonder -- but anyone who's not a die-hard Futurama fan should be fine waiting for Futurama: Bender's Big Score to air on Cartoon Network.

Overall grade: B

Reviewed by James Lynch

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