A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 115 – Futurama: Bender’s Game

Futurama: Bender’s Game – June 23rd, 2010

Thank goodness we’re back to a good Futurama movie tonight. This one doesn’t work quite as well as the first one did, but it’s still a lot of fun and the plotlines fit together pretty well, even if the fantasy quest section does make it do the episodic thing. But I forgive it that, because the plots really are well integrated and it has one of our favorite lines, from Igner: “We’re oooooowwwl exterminators!” Yeah, why do we love that so much? It’s all about delivery.

But the plots! I really hate to call them A and B or whatever, since they don’t stay separate. First there’s the introduction of rising fuel costs and Leela banging up the ship because she lets her temper get away from her. Then Bender comes across the kids playing Dungeons & Dragons and decides he wants to play too, but alas! He has no imagination! So he puts his mind to it and, of course, goes overboard and declares himself Sir Titanius Englesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood and starts running around attacking imaginary dragons and belching out fireballs. And then back to the fuel plot: We find out that the fuel costs are going up because of a dark matter shortage that Mom (of Mom’s Friendly Robots) has manufactured in order to make more money. But dark matter wasn’t always valuable! It was the Professer who, in his youth, accidentally transformed all dark matter into a fuel source. But he also made a crystal that would reverse the process, making dark matter worthless.

Thus the two plotlines combine when we discover that the crystal they need to turn dark matter worthless is being used as a d12 by the D&D players and end up sucked into a fantasy world of Bender’s making, transformed into fantasy creatures and characters and going on a quest to find it and defeat Mom.

The humor in this is probably even funnier to people who were really into D&D, but even my limited experience in addition to the fact that D&D and high fantasy novels share a goodly amount of tropes and references means that the humor isn’t hard to get. I mean, sure, the d12 is a D&D thing, and they make reference to Gary Gygax and there’s plenty of D&D to go around. But there’s also a line about a hobo and a rabbit making a hobbit, and there’s an Ent, and the d12 becomes the one die and brings along a whole pile of One Ring references. Really, if you’ve read, seen or heard of Lord of the Rings, you’re good to go. It’s almost enough to make me say we should do the LotR trilogy this weekend, but they’re three hours a piece and we’re kind of saving them.

Anyhow, it’s got plenty of fun stuff even if you’re not super into D&D or Lord of the Rings. Hell, it’s even got a Star Wars reference (an extended reference, really). And then there’s the title, which is a reference both to the D&D game and to the book Ender’s Game, which does have a weird little fantasy game as a plot point but is really science fiction. It’s all great stuff for them to use for loving parody, and it is loving. It’s clear that they’re riffing on these well-used fantasy themes the same way they do math jokes: With the true fondness of geeks who’ve spent years knowing the ins and outs of what they’re joking about. Listening to the commentary just confirms it more. A word about the commentaries for Futurama, both the show and the movies: Watch them. It’s well worth it not just for explanations of some of the more obscure jokes and math and jokes about math, but also to hear the voice actors goofing off. But even without the commentary, it’s a truly funny geekfest.

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

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