Noise To Signal

» Review: Bender's Big Score

Matt Groening fans have had a good year: both of his most popular creations made the leap to feature-length films. But as The Simpsons arrived with a huge budget, a global release and an advertising blitz that spared nobody, Futurama snuck directly onto retailer shelves and waited patiently.

This has always been the case. The Simpsons saturates...Futurama simmers quietly. The Simpsons finds find Futurama.

Anyone who's seen Futurama knows that while it's always destined to be The Simpsons' less-popular little brother, it's a consistently rewarding program, mind-bending at times, tear-jerking at others, and always painfully sharp in its humor. Ratings aside, it's the better show of the two. But is it also the better film?

Well, spluh.

The Movie:
It's important that I start out by saying I am a huge fan of Futurama. I'd be lying if I said that won't be a factor in my review.

Scruffy dropping some phat bombs, yo.
Scruffy and Zoidberg
Unfair? Well, probably. But it's not exactly something that can be helped. Futurama ran for 72 episodes. I've seen them all. Numerous times. I own the DVD sets. I've listened to the commentaries. I've read the interviews. I've doodled Bender when I'm on the telephone and somebody puts me on hold. I can't very well blank the show from my mind when watching the film. Nor would I like to.

Of course, I'm sure there are also people who abhor Futurama, who don't find it funny or clever at all, and who might even be annoyed by it. They won't be able to blank the show from their minds while watching the film, either. That's what happens when you make a film about characters and situations people already know: you've got a whole audience addled with preconceived notions.

This places a great deal of stress upon the project before it even surfaces...particularly in this case, as it's the first new Futurama (barring comics) in years. It's something the fans have been waiting'd better not disappoint them. It should also justify its re-emergence to passive viewers who might have enjoyed the show but weren't exactly pulling for a revival. Basically, yes, new Futurama comes with a built-in audience...but it's a demanding one.

Second Opinion

Okay, not so much “Second Opinion” as “Same Opinion.” Nevertheless, it's part of the review, so I expect you to read what I have to say. Or at the very least quickly skim the box and immediately forget everything I wrote. You owe me that much.

Anyway, the film. I don't even attempt to hide the fact that I am a fan of Futurama. I love it to death. It's always impressive, and this film is not lacking anything that the show did so wonderfully - unlike a few other cartoon rebirths in recent years. Nevertheless, as Phil said, it's not a perfect movie. (I am surprised, however, that Phil didn't add David Cohen Splits the Adam to his list of perfect movies. I know how much he loves that thing.) I thought it started off a little slowly, with the introduction of all the characters – but I'm approaching this movie as someone who is already a fan. It was very likely a smart move for Cohen & Co. (someone found this company!) to reintroduce characters for those who are not familiar with Futurama.

I had a little problem with the alien characters, as well. Or, rather, at first I had a problem with them. I didn't find them to be particularly engaging as characters on first viewing...but, well, they don't have to be. This is a cartoon, after all, but more importantly, they fulfill a different function for the story. Their purpose is to serve as foils for our main characters. Despite their lack of in-depth characterization (admittedly, not a huge fault), I will admit that the entire concept of the “sprunger” organ was equally brilliant and disgusting.

Futurama is a franchise that deserves to live on. The Simpsons has outlived its brilliance (though we will always have those first eight-or-so series to worship), but Futurama remains. It deserves to continue, and – as much as I was doubting the quality of these movies – it has proven that it can continue through different forms and mediums; through comics, through television, and now, through film.

In closing, not only does the DVD packaging contribute to saving the environment, but, well - let's just say that this movie saves the space-time continuum, and forty percent of your rectum. And that's all you need.

Which is why it's so refreshing (so, so refreshing) to see that the writers (principally David X. Cohen [The Why of Fry] and Ken Keeler [Time Keeps On Slippin']) managed to create not just a portal back into the Futurama universe, and not just an hour and a half of entertainment...but a really, really great film. Tremendous care must have been taken at every step of the project, because even at its weakest, Bender's Big Score positively bulges with love and precision.

Though, at times, it might seem to bulge just a bit too much. It's not a perfect film. It would have been unfair to expect a perfect film (Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove and The Royal Tenenbaums being perhaps the only truly perfect films to date), but it's not unfair to expect that whatever flaws do exist will be balanced out by other, wonderful things in the film. Bender's Big Score balances out its weaknesses. All of them. And then some.

If I'm reluctant to discuss the plot, it's because I wouldn't want any of it spoiled for you. You could, of course, read a complete plot summary and still enjoy the film quite a lot (knowing which twists are coming doesn't make any of the jokes less funny, or any of the animation less impressive, or any of the performances less wonderful), but it's better to let it happen naturally, and feel it unfold for yourself.

Suffice it to say that it involves a lot of time-travel, a lot of resultant duplication of characters (Fry and Bender, mainly), a looming universal catastrophe, a mathematical intervention by the Harlem Globetrotters, and a chance for Fry to re-live his life again in his original time period.

In fact, Fry's return to the year 2000 leaves a lot of room for some real emotion, and the film uses that space brilliantly. It doesn't dwell too much, which would dull the effect...we are content with brief snatches of his now-uninterrupted life back in New York City...a kiss on his mother's cheek, a ride on his bicycle with Seymour in the basket...and then a dark, lonely night that Fry spends mourning the life in the future that he left behind. So much is much is unspecified. It's beautiful. It's lovely. It's real.

There's a lot more emotion in the film, but, as I mentioned, I'd rather you experience it for yourself. (I do have to mention, however, that a cover version of Scott Walker's "30 Century Man" is used to tremendous, wonderful effect.)

All of your favorite characters put in some face-time, at least. (Well, nearly all of them. I missed Calculon and the Hyperchicken, personally.) Some are given a token line or scene (Zapp, Hedonism Bot), some appear somewhere in the background (the Omicronians, Mayor Poopenmeyer), but, pleasingly, others are integral to the plot (Barbados Slim, Mr. Panucci). In fact, between this and all of the little "fillings in" of plot-holes past, Bender's Big Score comes across like one great big love-note to the fans. There seems to be a real, honest, genuine appreciation for all of us who watched the show in syndication, made it popular again, bought the DVDs, told our friends...

Groening, Cohen and the rest know that is we who have brought the show back from the dead...FOX never would have done it without our making it profitable for them to do so. Bender's Big Score is a good film and a great reintroduction, but it's also a great big appreciative hug for everyone who pulled together to give this show the second chance it deserved.

I mentioned the plot holes from past of the things Bender's Big Score does with its time-travel-reliant plot is go back and layer some more detail into certain scenes and situations we already know. Sometimes it makes us see them differently (Space Pilot 3000, Luck of the Fryrish) and other times it answers questions we should have had the first time through (Jurassic Bark, Godfellas). The best thing is that it works. It could have been done hollowly...limply...pointlessly. An easy but unrewarding laugh. Instead we get intelligent resolutions and reinterpretations. A show mucking about with its own history is not often (well, ever) well-received by fans, but it's done so lovingly and convincingly here that I honestly can't imagine anyone complaining about it.

(And maybe some of it was planned from the start. After all, Cohen has gone on record many times about how much in-show history they never got the chance to explore while on the air. Who knows?)

Let the complexity
Fry, Bender and Fry.  (Not pictured:  Fry, Bender, Bender, Bender, Fry, Fry, Bender, Fry, Bender)
The film also takes great care to ensure that its own elaborate time-travel plot makes mean feat, considering how many Frys and Benders we have running around, bumping into each other, altering their own pasts. It's confusing. But damned if it isn't a thousand times more logical than it could have been. Keeler and Cohen took the time to keep the reality of the piece consistent within itself, and it pays off. It's always a good feeling to watch a time-travel film a second time and find that your initial questions are being answered rather than added to. This film layers itself well and takes itself seriously without ever--even once--sacrificing the humor.

But, anyway, enough gushing. You already know I recommend the film. You probably already know I love it. There are great moments all throughout the film, and, unlike The Simpsons Movie, it's every bit as quotable as any of the best episodes in the series. ("It's like looking at a smelly mirror." "To the mandatorium!" "I can do more than talk...I can pontificate!" "Hold on, Scruffy!" "Paradox resolved." "Are you urinating?" "No I mightn't!" "ONE GALLON OF GAS." I'm sorry. The list goes on...but I'll spare you.)

The Packaging:
Ah, alright, alright. Back to reality.

Bender's Big Score packagingBender's Big Score is a single-disc release (but packed to the brim...see below), presented with a cardboard slipcase that fits over a single-fold cardboard envelope. the cover-art is one of those lenticular angle-it-to-see-the-picture-move things. Which...I'll be honest here...I don't like.

It's nothing to do with the design or the artwork itself, which is first-class, it's just that I can't stand those types of moving-art things. They are difficult to position without seeing one frame bleed into the other, you can't look at it straight-on without it looking like a mess, and when you do manage to look at it properly it doesn't look nearly as good as one single design would have looked.

All of that is personal-preference. Other people love it. I'm sure someone out there thinks the lenticular motion cover is a great bonus. More power to that person. I assure you he and I have little in common, but I wish him well.

Anyway, the inner cardboard case opens to reveal some excellent artwork (as always, with this series), a flyer for Futurama comic collections and an offer for hand-painted studio art. I must check that out. On the right-hand side you'll find your DVD...not on a hub, but slotted right into the cardboard case.

Why is that? Well, Bender's Big Score is a carbon-neutral release (very admirable, I admit, and single-handedly puts any of my misgivings about the design to bed) and they want to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Of course, the argument here is that items like DVDs probably don't end up in landfills very frequently anyway...they're owned and re-sold, maybe, but I don't think very many of them are just out-and-out disposed of...but, well, I'm no environmental scientist so who knows.

Anyway, it's covered in beautiful artwork (Nibbler riding the guinea pig is delightful). I just hope it still looks as good as my other, traditionally-packaged DVDs do in a few years.

The disc itself is designed to look like one of the solid-gold Death Stars from the film. It's wonderfully gaudy.

The Menus:
Nothing too special here. They're clean and easy to navigate. You get a few comments from Bender if you take too long to pick something. They look good, but with the menus we've gotten from this series in the past that's not surprising. The most important thing is that you're able to find and access what you're looking for, and these menus serve that purpose just fine. Especially since you'll want easy access to a selection of really, really great bonus features...

This is the flagship bonus feature, and rightly so, as Futurama commentaries are second only to League of Gentlemen commentaries as the most exciting, informative and hilarious on the planet.

Brannigan's cameo is like Brannigan's love: hard and fast. (...Mainly fast.)
Brannigan takes command.
We have Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Ken Keeler, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, Claudia Katz and Dwayne Carey-Hill, which means the stages of creation, writing, production and voice-acting are all represented here.

It's very funny stuff, on the whole, as you might have guessed if you've listened to the commentaries on the DVD sets. (If you haven't, you should. Now.) It also gives you a great idea of how much care went into crafting the story, and how, in the end, respect for causal logic won out over hilarious time-destroying chaos. (A wise decision for many reasons, not least because the more logical and respectful story we ended up with is by no means light on comedy.) It also reveals a few interesting tidbits about the three DVD films to follow...though no out-and-out spoilers that I'm aware of. Listen without's nearly as good as the feature itself.

Also, I have a crush on David X. Cohen. I can admit that now. I think I honestly and truly love that man. If I had breasts I wouldn't mind letting him have a go on them for a ride in his helicopter.

Futurama Returns!:
A live comic-book reading by the principal voice cast (and Cohen and Keeler!) from last year's Comic Con. They perform the contents of a comic produced specially for the occasion, and it (a bit heavy-handedly) fills in the gap between the end of the series and this movie. (Seriously...what other show has ever tried to make the fact that episodes repeat themselves fit into its own canon?)

This is a brilliant feature, and I never would have thought it'd be included here. Kudos to whomever took the time to put it together. One thing I'm slightly disappointed by is the lack of another it stands you hear the voice cast as the pages of the comic flip by on the screen. Lovely, yes, very, but I'd also like to have the option to see the cast themselves performing.

I don't have the heart to call this an oversight since we should be happy with anything we get, especially when it's this rare and interesting, but those are my two cents. Spend them as you please.

Full-length Episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad:
Yes, it's really 22 minutes long. Yes, I watched the whole thing. Yes, all 22 minutes. Yes, I do recommend you do the same thing.

I've read reviews that have suggested fast-forwarding it and stopping to watch when you see something interesting happen. If you do that, you'll miss quite a few audio-only jokes that don't coincide with a visual cue. I say watch it all the way through. But I wouldn't recommend you watch it more than once. Once is...enough.

It's very funny. Does it justify 22 minutes, though? Well, no. But that's part of the joke. Enjoy it. It's worth experiencing.

(Maybe next time we'll get a full episode of The Scary Door? Entertainment and Earth Invasion Tonight? Late Night With Humorbot 5.0? Nah, didn't think so. A man can dream, though. A man can dream...)

Deleted Scenes:
Three, all from the animatic stage, which means the voice-acting is in place, but the animation is incomplete. Nothing too exciting, but definitely great to have. In one Bender spends some time in Monte Carlo trying to get people to bare their butts. In another Hermes and Barbados Slim have a limbo competition. In the third, the robot mafia turns up for no reason in a scene that really wouldn't have had a place in the film anyway and does something that doesn't matter to anyone. I wonder why it was cut!

A Terrifying Message From Al Gore:
The animated promo for An Inconvenient Truth that Rough Draft Studios (along with some Futurama actors and writers) produced and released online.

In answer to your question, Bender: most definitely hot.
Bender beside (and on) Fry's ass
It's great to have here, especially since Gore appears so memorably in the film, and also because of the carbon-neutrality of the release. Gore and Futurama have a clear and ongoing mutual endorsement, and it's interesting to see it explored here.

You can also watch this with commentary, which runs a bit longer than the feature itself. Probably because of that, the commentary is visual, and you'll see Gore, Cohen and Groening recording it in the corner of your screen. Interesting? Of course! But it's a bit too brief to really get anything interesting across; I would have preferred a simple chat featurette instead. But we do get to see some hilarious Cohen mis-speakings at the beginning, so all is forgiven.

Bite My Shiny Metal X:
This is definitely a polarizing extra. It's about a half hour of explanation regarding the mathematical themes and jokes that recur in Futurama, including a few from this movie itself. A lot of reviewers seem to look down upon it...they find it boring, or worthless, or some such thing.

I think it's an utter delight...and this is from somebody who still has nightmares about finding himself back in math class. Not only is it presented clearly and helpfully (some of it even made sense to me!) but we get to see the Futurama team participating in the lecture, and helping to teach it. (Finally somebody has explained to me how alien language #2 works!)

I loved it. I loved, loved, loved it. I thought it was hilarious and a perfect addition to this set. It's so reassuring that they produced something like this specifically for the DVD when they didn't, strictly, have to do anything at all. Between this and Hypnotoad I'm absolutely sure the next three releases will be phenomenal.

3D Models and Turnarounds:
Some raw footage from Rough Draft regarding three of the new ships designed for the film. Nothing to write home about, but fascinating, and, again, it's just great that they included them. You'll see each ship rotate completely in both its finished and wire-frame stage.

First Draft Script:
At this point, I can say that I love everyone involved with the DVD. We not only have a great movie, but we have some specially-produced features to back it up, and historical aspects of the film itself.

I've only read half the script so far, but I didn't think it was worth holding up a review of the set based on that, especially since the quality of the first draft script doesn't change the fact that it's just a delight to have it at all. Some very funny stuff was omitted (mainly just lines here and there...Leela's "a date with me" is much funnier than what she actually said in the film, and I think the first scene at Elzar's was handled better here as well) but some other scenes were clearly changed for the better (Fry getting his butt-tattoo is far, far better executed in the final film).

Not everyone will take the time to read this. That's okay...they're not obligated to do so. But for everyone interested in the writing process, this is required reading, and I positively love having it. In lieu of another wonderful table-read audio extra (which may or may not have even happened for this film), this is the next best thing.

New Character/Design Sketches:
Some comparative drawings of new characters, objects and locations in the film, arranged as a gallery. Not much to say except, again, I love, love, love this DVD set.

Original 5-Minute Comic-Con Promo:
A shorter version of this was released onto the net (first unofficially, and then officially), and that truncated version is much better. It's got a stronger, more urgent pace than this overstuffed, plodding beast. If anything, it makes the film seem less funny and interesting than it really is! It's no wonder they trimmed it severely for the final trailer (which is not, incidentally, included here). Still, great to have. I am not--and will never be--complaining about including things like this. They're interesting for their historical value.

A made-for-DVD film has never been this strong. Ever. This is the best.

It's the old boy-sees-girl-in-soap-bubble-with-other-boy-from-his-own-lonely-soap-bubble story. But this time with a twist!
The boy in the bubble
(At least so far. There are three more to come, after all.)

Yes, you can download it online. But it's worth the purchase. Not only are you supporting such a grateful and deserving franchise, you're also supporting carbon-neutral film production, and you get a huge assortment of completely wonderful bonus features taboot.

But it for yourself, and pick up another one for someone on your Xmas list. Let's convince FOX that the show is profitable enough to warrant an all-out revival for season five. It can be done. It has been done. And if this movie proves anything, it's that Futurama isn't going to settle for a more-of-the-same Family Guy-style comeback.

Let's see what they've got up their sleeves.

5 Stars


Okay, you convinced me... *off to amazon*

By Marleen on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 11:48

> Of course, the argument here is that items like DVDs probably don't end up in landfills very frequently anyway...they're owned and re-sold, maybe, but I don't think very many of them are just out-and-out disposed of...but, well, I'm no environmental scientist so who knows.

Surely the "carbon-neutral" argument is about production rather than just what happens to the product in the end? Otherwise they could claim it's a recyclable/decomposable product but that would be about it.

I mean perhaps the law is flexible as to what it means but how *could* a film or its DVD release be carbon-neutral? I suppose the animating itself was done on computer so didn't use any paper, and the film has hardly been advertised, but how can the carbon damage of something like this even be measured, let alone offset? Did Fox and/or Groening plant trees to compensate for the electricity used in the process or something? Or for the plastic used in the DVD manufacturing? What do they say they do and how is it claimed it makes for carbon neutrality?

By Bertrand Russell on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 14:03

Good review, by the way. Should have said that first of all.

By Bertrand Russell on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 14:05

>Surely the "carbon-neutral" argument is about production rather than just what happens to the product in the end?

I was less than clear in the review. My chain of reasoning wasn't tight enough to make it clear that I was discussing the cardboard (as opposed to plastic) packaging rather than carbon-neutrality. Chalk that up to my having too much to say without stopping to consider whether or not I was saying any of it usefully.

The cardboard packaging makes it more easily recyclable, but also far more biodegradable should it end up in a landfill. Which is why this release, with its environmental-friendliness, is packaged differently than the standard DVD sets.

>how can the carbon damage of something like this even be measured, let alone offset?

You can really only approximate it. No, you'll never get an accurate reading (at least not completely accurate) but it has good intentions, at least, and surely off-setting a good deal of your production with a main goal of 100% is better than nothing.

>Did Fox and/or Groening plant trees to compensate for the electricity used in the process or something?

There are services that fulfill the foliage planting...I'm positive the production staff wasn't planting trees on their days off. You'll find that a few music festivals are hiring services of this type (Live Earth, Bumbershoot) and FOX studios has the goal of becomming entirely carbon-neutral in the near future. Likewise, No Country For Old Men is one of the first carbon-neutral major cinema releases. It's a great path for studios to follow, especially since they haven't yet been forced into doing so. It's an optional expense, and I'm glad to see so many taking advantage of it.

>What do they say they do and how is it claimed it makes for carbon neutrality?

Those would all be questions for FOX's consumer response department rather than myself...I can answer your question in a general sense as I am moderately familiar with the process, but as far as the specific steps taken with individual releases...I can't claim any special knowledge.

It's a fascinating subject though, and there's a good deal of debate on both sides regarding offsetting. Clearly there is a positive net gain to planting x amount of trees versus planting none at all...but the debate is over how much of a gain there is, and how worthwhile the endeavor.

By Miguel Sanchez on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 15:52

> but the debate is over how much of a gain there is, and how worthwhile the endeavor.

And also, I would say, whether to some extent a concept like "carbon-neutral" might end up being one of those moral smokescreens that ends up meaning less than one would hope. "Organic" is similar - there's a legal bare-minimum a company needs to do to make a product "organic" which means that it's possible for a company like Nestle to say "this is organic" when production probably involves poor people getting paid not very well, as well as considerable environmental damage through transportation etc. And it ends up making consumers feel very good because they're putting their two pence in, with the potential side effect that things requiring actual *effort* might not be done.

Could the term "carbon-neutral" do more harm than good? I doubt it, and I'm not sure what I want to say. Just as people don't buy lots of things "to make a saving" in the belief that they end up ultimately spending less money, I'm sure people won't buy more DVDs in the belief that they're somehow saving the environment. And if it's the correct trees and it's somewhere like the Brazilian rainforest then it's actually very good indeed. Perhaps I just have trouble with the ability to say "I'm carbon-neutral" (and the kind of people who might feel inclined to say this), much as I do with the promise of a "bag for life".

By Bertrand Russell on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 18:55

>I'm sure people won't buy more DVDs in the belief that they're somehow saving the environment

Well, absolutely. I don't think the idea is that people without an interest in the show will suddenly want to buy the film just because it's offset its carbon footprint. I doubt that's what anybody had in mind when they decided to go green.

The idea is that the film is going to be produced *anyway,* so why not do their part environmentally? Whether the DVD sells zero copies or a million copies there are a certain number that are manufactured...sales don't dictate that...sales will only dictate further printings. The idea is to offset that production (and possibly distribution...again, I'm not sure about this specific instance but that's usually taken into account as well), and that's a noble goal no matter what.

>And also, I would say, whether to some extent a concept like "carbon-neutral" might end up being one of those moral smokescreens that ends up meaning less than one would hope

This is still a question of the effectiveness of offsetting, though. Nobody's really going to have an issue with a company if their "moral smokescreen" is actually legitimately doing the planet good. We know our major coporations are not run by saints; that comes as a revelation to nobody. The only hope is that somewhere, in their mad scramble to get to the top and stay on top, somebody in the organization is taking a look at the greater consequences of their actions.

Carbon offsetting is one way to handle that. I am not the person to engage in a debate on this subject, and without meaning to sound offensive, I'm not sure you are either. We're outsiders who can only view developments from the touchlines. This is an extremely recent innovation and only time will tell how much good it does. But that doesn't mean it's lacking in any way. Environmental reconstruction is a process, and a very long one--not an instant fix. If we DID have access to an instant fix, we wouldn't be in trouble we are right now.

I'm not saying I support the process whole-heartedly and empty-mindedly. But it IS a step, and it's ostensibly a step in the right direction, and I'm glad to see any instance of a major studio taking responsibility for itself.

Will I go see a film I'm not interested in on the basis that it's carbon-neutral? No. But it sure makes me happy to see one that is, whether it's something I'll see or not. It shows that steps are being taken. Small steps, perhaps, but it gets the right message out there, and getting the message out is approximately half the battle.

By Miguel Sanchez on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 19:51

Before this gets too far away from the topic at hand, I encourage you to look further into the principles of carbon offsetting if you are interested (regardless of which side of the debate fuels your interest), and to raise your concerns in the appropriate circles.

Worst case scenario is that somebody's already voiced your same concerns and received an answer that they can share with you. Best case is that they haven't, and you can open the door for further discussion.

But as I am by no means an authority on the subject--and as it relates only in a technical sense to the product here reviewed--I'm not sure that getting into environmental politics here at Noise to Signal is going to do anybody much good. I encourage you to bring your concerns to an organization that claims to offset carbon footprints for other companies, and I'd be interested to hear what you find out...but for two only-moderately-informed individuals to go round and round in circles of's not a very productive mechanism.

By Miguel Sanchez on Monday, December 3, 2007 @ 20:28

As a UK citizen who can't be bothered with all that 'cheeky' downloading/importing/multi-region player lark, I'd resolved not to get excited by this release. Really, my mistake was reading the review, wasn't it. Not to worry, I'm sure we''l be told when we can get it at some point.

Ta for the review, by the way; NTS is unusually good at picking out the details of a release where others get by with 'there are some extras'. Which is nice.

By Rosti on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 @ 10:42

I really enjoyed BBS, though for the first 20 minutes or so I was a bit concerned by the presence of several "fan-pleasing" gags that were callbacks to the previous run of shows, though I'm buggered if I can quote any of them now.

Plot-wise, I did guess the twist, which I was quite pleased by, although I felt like the time travel elements were ultimately a bit of a hatchet job on Futurama's supposedly rather tight continuity. My only real criticism is that the use of almost every recurring character felt a bit too much, and I'd have preferred a tighter focus on the main crew for the first movie. Other than that, it was solid gold and the idea of them splitting it into 3 episodes as part of a new series seems like, er, a complete nightmare.

By James H on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 @ 13:35

>I did guess the twist

I did, too, which at first made me think they hadn't done a good enough job of keeping it secret...but listening to the commentary it strikes me that they probably DID want the viewer to guess's just a matter of when.

The real fun began when I was pretty confident I had guessed the twist...but then had absolutely no guess as to quite how it happened. It was a good twist from a story-telling standpoint because it actually rewards you for figuring it out a little bit early.

>it was solid gold and the idea of them splitting it into 3 episodes as part of a new series seems like, er, a complete nightmare.

I agree 100%...but we'll see how it goes. If you check out the first draft script you'll see it's divided into 4 pieces...presumably this is approximately how the show will end up being split. It'll give you some idea, I'd guess, of how the episode breaks will actually fall.

I'd definitely recommend people watch BBS as a film rather than wait for the splitting-into-episodes. Even if they do work as separate pieces, they won't work quite as well as they do as one continuous story.

By Miguel Sanchez on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 @ 14:11

> Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove and The Royal Tenenbaums being perhaps the only truly perfect films to date


Never properly latched onto Futurama. I suppose that's a combination of a) me being a complete tosscock, b) too many other shows taking my interest, c) seeing the first episode, not being too struck on it, and thinking 'did they just kind of rip off Dwarf...?' (I feel this links in with 'a)' somewhat...).

Any time I've started to watch an episode I always think 'I must get the DVDs and watch it all from the beginning' but I never do. Then I go and cry in a corner or something worse. Seasons 1-4 are £42 at Amazon. Surely it's a no-brainer?

Regarding some of the plot, I always wondered what Lister would do if his life before stasis was given back to him, if Holly could somehow send him back. That would have been a brilliant episode. He would help Rimmer seal the drive plate and the radiation leak would never have happened. But then things would start going wrong, Kochanski would go off with someone else, Lister's dreams of a farm on Fiji would be smashed when he was conned out of all his money. In the end he would miss his life 3 million years later with Rimmer and the Cat. Don't know how he'd get back. Maybe create a new leak, make it to the stasis booth. It wouldn't work like that due to all the paradox bollocks, but still...

By performingmonkey on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 @ 21:22

The best time-travel stories for me are the ones that work inventively with the notion that you can't change the past. Future Echoes and Status Leak are good Dwarf examples, where in the latter one, particularly, it's evident that all they're actually doing is *creating* the past that they know to have happened. So I'd only like performingmonkey's scenario if Lister realised it was his cocking around in the past that caused the misplaced drive plate in the first place, or something.

By Bertrand Russell on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 @ 11:55

>So I'd only like performingmonkey's scenario if Lister realised it was his cocking around in the past that caused the misplaced drive plate in the first place

I'm not one for all...but I admit that would potentially make for a pretty good one.

By Miguel Sanchez on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 @ 14:29

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