Futurama: Bender’s Game

December 18th, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Before there was such a thing as Adult Swim and the more risqué animated offerings from Fox such as Family Guy and American Dad, Futurama was the first chance for an even edgier and more subversive satire than The Simpsons.

After its cancellation and fan outrage, the producers and network committed to producing four feature length DVD releases, and this is the third.

In hindsight the fates might have been kind, because judging by Bender’s Game, these last few Futurama movies might be the only chance the series has to go out with a bang instead of tapering off to a whimper.

The laughs are far less frequent than in the previous movie (The Beast With A Billion Backs), everything from the actual narrative eggs to the scattershot dialogue asides that used to be such a crack-up MIA.

It also feels a few decades too late to be making fun of the old Dungeons and Dragons controversy from the 80s, but Bender becomes obsessed with playing the titular dice game with a group of young nerds to the extent it drives him insane. Most Futurama fans won’t be old enough to remember the moral majority hand wringing at the height of the game’s popularity, at the thought of kids losing their grip on reality.

As the rest of the crew try to unravel a mystery surrounding the shady conglomerate that controls the supply of dark matter fuel, Bender falls deeper into psychosis until for some reason everyone ends up trapped in a fantasy world of his making, which cues another tiresome round of seen-’em-all Lord of the Rings digs.

The laughs come sluggishly and you’ll want to like it more than you will. Even the sixteen year old we were watching it with walked out. A few drab extras do little to improve the package.

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