Bender’s Big Score–Retrospective Review (Also, BEDA!)

A while back, I rewatched the 2007 direct-to-DVD film Bender’s Big Score. It was the first trip back to the year 3000 that fans of the great TV show Futurama had taken in four years, since the show’s unceremonious cancellation in 2003.

It’s not my favorite of the four Futurama films that Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and co. made, but I was excited to see it again. Recently, I’ve gotten a great number of my friends hooked on the show itself. Our idea of a good Saturday night is pizza from Papa John’s and marathons consisting of the first four season boxsets of the show on DVD. We have a lot of fun, and even though I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times, I still get a kick out of my friends seeing it for the first time and I find myself more able to laugh.

I warned them that going in that the film would be a little more risque then the show. There’s 2 reasons for this: 1. Being direct-to-DVD, it didn’t have to conform to broadcast network standards because of the fact that Comedy Central–a cable channel–was financing production and 2. Because Comedy Central eventually aired this and the other three films (The Beast With A Billion Backs, the aforementioned Bender’s Game, and Into The Wild Green Yonder) on TV, they allowed the production stuff to make sure it had the same freedom as their other programming, though not quite at South Park levels.

So yeah, first time I’ve seen the film in 5 years; how does it hold up? Well, I mean, it’s Futurama, man. It’s great!

See, unlike The Simpsons, Futurama, mostly because of its futuristic setting, has always been relatively timeless. By having to keep up with current trends in society and culture, The Simpsons can become dated pretty quickly simply by the fact that it takes 8 months to animate a single episode. (The show now really isn’t that dated, but some episodes of the series’ middle seasons are pretty easy to groan at when you see them in syndication.)

Futurama takes just as long–possibly longer due to the amount of CGI used–but because of its setting and commitment to out-there SF, the pilot can feel just as fresh today just as it did on Dec. 31, 1999. The film is just as smart and great today, even if the creators do make some weird choices.

The film involves a copious amount of time-travel, nude scammer aliens who take over Planet Express, and the mystery of how a tattoo of Bender wound up on Fry’s butt.

There are instances where it feels like the creators reveled a little bit too much in their freedom at being direct-to-DVD, but they’re minor and this film is well worth watching.

However, it does have some issues. The whole thing with aliens that exclusively deal in e-mail spam felt a bit out-of-touch but it’s done well, particularly by David Herman as the lead baddie Nudar. The regular characters are just as they were in the classic run of the show and there’s even some surprise cameos that call out to the show’s history.

I liked seeing this film again and my friends, for the most part, enjoyed it. Though they did get a little mad at me because of the bawdiness of some material.

But I say “Hey, if you were given an opportunity to bring your labor of love back to life, wouldn’t you want to take things as far as you could, just to stick it to the haters?”

I know I would.

So yeah, this is the first entry for BEDA, which, according to the Internet, is Blog Every Day In April. So yeah, hopefully, I can do that and start posting with some regularity for the five (ten?) of you that read this.

Also, there’s a new theme! Yay for new themes!

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