The Show:I almost missed this release amongst all of the mayhem this month. But fortunately I didn't. Bender's Game is the third of the four Futurama DVD Movies and it's also the geekiest Futurama in existence by an absolute light year. The Futurama writers have made it no secret just how many of them are fans of Dungeons and Dragons, Anthology of Interest I from back in the second series included a guest appearance from the now desceased Gary Gygax and there have been numerous other references to the game in other episodes, including a Rust Monster in "I Second that Emotion" and a beholder in "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back".
It's possible that there are even more references, I don't know. I'm no expert as I only know these two monsters from that old Amiga classic 'Eye of the Beholder'. But anyway, I digress. The Futurama staff writers love Dungeons and Dragons, they even go as far as talking about their games of it on the commentary for some episodes, and this film is their tribute to both the game and to the man who created it.
Now I think it's fair to say that I enjoyed 'Bender's Big Score', but I wasn't so impressed with 'The Beast of a Billion Backs' so I went into watching this one with a little trepidation. But I shouldn't have worried, it's just brilliant, filled with great moments and jokes the film doesn't let up for a moment. It runs almost seamlessly from a just amazing Yellow Submarine spoof opening sequence and remains quality throughout. There are so many fantastic scenes it's hard to pick all of them out; but the space demolition derby, the multiple Lord of the Rings references, the farm scenes (especially the conversation in there) and the great way the show sweeps any potential 'consistency complaints' from the truly anal watcher with asides and throwaway comments are some of them.
It's just plain, simple, good old fun and a must watch for any fan of Futurama. It's also the best Role playing based film ever released, that's not saying much considering the competition is mainly the two Dungeons and Dragons movies, the two Gamers movies and that other movie called The GamerZ. But still, trust the Futurama writers to get it just right, and with a sci-fi show no less as well.
I can't wait for "Into the Wide Green Yonder."
The Other Stuff:Packaging:
There's not a lot to say about the Bender's Game packaging, it's very similar in style to the previous three single case DVD sets and it looks good on the shelf next to them. It's also carbon neutral just like the previous two movies are, so thumbs up on that front. It's environmentally conscious comedy!
As always this set is jammed to the gills with extras.
First up is this:
I could have talked about that in full, but I thought it was so good that it was worth just sharing and watching instead. It's about time that atrocious and annoying anti-piracy advert which exists only to annoy legitimate purchasers of a DVD was sent up. Why should I, the purchaser of a legitimate copy of your DVD be inflicted with your anti-piracy campaign advert Mr. FACT? Talk about preaching to the converted.
Also included on the set are the following:
Commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Michael Rowe, Claudia Katz and Dwayne Carey-Hill.
Futurama Genetics Lab - a fun little time waster that lets you see some combinations of various characters
D&D&F (Dungeons & Dragons & Futurama) Featurette
How to Draw Futurama in 83 Easy Steps Featurette
3-D Models with Animator Discussion
1 Deleted Scene "Cup or Nozzle"
Blooperama 2 - Outtakes
And a sneak peak of "Into the Wide Green Yonder", the fourth and possibly final Futurama film/outing/episode.
Runtime: 83 mins
Language: English Surround 5.1, Commentary Stereo in 2.0
Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and English H-O-H
Region: 1 and 2, also available in Blu-ray.
Play is the winner in the UK for the price of both versions, not only do they have the DVD version for a respectable £11.99 but they also have the Blu-ray one for £17.99. Now that's a price for Blu-ray that's approaching sensible. The ppm isn't very good mind you at 14.4, but that's not surprising considering this is a film rather than a series boxed set.
The Final Word:Bender's Game is a cracking addition to the Futurama mythos, it manages to spin off into a fantasy setting without feeling too jarring and then continues to lampoon many fantasy cliches effortlessly. It's brilliant.