A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Futurama: Bender’s Game

June 23, 2010

Futurama: Bender’s Game

Okay! We’re back on track today with another great Futurama movie. Indeed as I watch this one for the fourth or fifth time it’s quite hard to say if I actually prefer this movie or the first one. Both have innumerable references to the old show, but whereas Bender’s Big Score deals primarily with time travel Bender’s Game deals with Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings.

Right from the very beginning with this movie you can tell that you’re in for a treat. The Futurama opening credits end with a fantastic Yellow Submarine tribute that sets the slightly fantastical mood for the movie to come. After that the movie starts out fairly tangentially, re-introducing dark matter (the rocket fuel used in the Futurama universe) and stressing how rare and expensive it is when the professor is more upset that the crew has used half a ball of dark matter than that they destroyed the Planet Express ship in a demolition derby. It’s pretty cool how they work a lot of the plot exposition so that it fits with established show history. They reprise Nibler’s origin from way back in season one as they explain how Mom (of Mom’s friendly robot factory) attained a monopoly on dark matter. And they go back to explore more about the torrid on-again and off-again romance between Mom and the professor, which has been the source of much amusement in the show. And there’s a dark and terrible secret revealed in this movie which, in retrospect, Matt and David must have planned years in advance.

But it isn’t until about halfway through the movie that things truly get strange. Through an unlikely series of events involving Bender going insane playing D&D and a quantum distortion from some dark matter he has hidden in his chest cavity the entire cast gets warped into a Lord of the Rings inspired alternate universe. Fry becomes Frydo, Leela becomes the centaur Leegola, Bender is Titanius Englebert (Fancy Man of Cornwood) and so on. And everybody is now suddenly on a quest to destroy the ultimate twelve sided die.

It’s fertile ground to be mined by the writers of Futurama, which has always been a show steeped in nerd lore. Perhaps it is a little strange that a show traditionally rooted in science fiction should take such a fantastical detour, but really it works perfectly with the whole Futurama sensibility and humor. It’s pretty clear that the writers had a fantastic time with things like Wipe Castle and Gynacaladrial. There’s epic battles with orks, Morks, and yes there are even Dungeons and Dragons.

This whole movie is a nerdgasm. Sort of like the fantastic Star Trek episode of Futurama this movie brings so much fun stuff to the table. If there’s one thing that Futurama does well it’s pandering to their nerdish fan base, and as part of that nerdish base I’d like to thank them for it.

June 23, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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