Nathan (vovat) wrote,

  • Music:

Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly laser blasts instead of deadly slideshows!

Last night, I finally saw Bender's Big Score. I'd been considering buying it, but the prices I saw it sold for were mostly ridiculously high (come on, over $20 for one pseudo-movie that's less than an hour and a half long?), so I just got it from Netflix. Besides, I think there's a good chance they'll eventually release it with the other four movies, so it might make sense to just wait for that. Anyway, I might as well say what I thought of it, and that involves a goodly number of spoilers.

I liked it, but I have to say that I didn't laugh out loud all that much. I guess most of it was more clever than uproariously hilarious, but I'm sure the same could be said for a lot of the show's normal episodes. I also noticed a definite tendency toward explaining minor things from the show, like how Seymour was fossilized and the identity of one of the groups of flying saucers that attacked New York. Similarly, there were a lot of references to earlier episodes, and many reappearances. I enjoyed seeing Changstein El-Gamal and and Hedonism Bot again, not to mention the headless body of Spiro Agnew. That said, there were actually a fair number of semi-regular characters who DIDN'T show up, at least as far as I can remember--Amy's parents, Smitty and URL, Randy, Mom, etc. Granted, there was no need for them to appear, but with all the more obscure characters who did, it was kind of weird that they didn't. As for the plot, I think I'd accidentally seen a mention on someone else's journal that Lars was really Fry, which kind of spoiled that plot arc for me. Still, it was an interesting twist, and I think they were kind of hinting at the connection anyway, considering the voice and all. A few other things that I consider worth mentioning included:

The Good:
  • The riff on e-mail spam and scams
  • The alien nudists' sprungers
  • The one alien hooking up with his past self
  • Lars and Leela's bubble ride
  • The Terminator parody with Bender going back in time to kill Fry
  • Bender and Fry's ridiculous uses of the time travel code while at Applied Cryogenics
  • The head cleaner that the aliens used on Bender
  • Santa Claus becoming depressed and deciding to help out the good guys for his own purposes
  • Kwanzaabot and Chanukah Zombie
  • Al Gore's part in the space battle, not to mention the very fact that one of the Death Stars has an Achilles Vent
  • The ultimate paradox arising when all of the Benders eventually come out of the limestone cavern at the end, instead of when they were logically supposed to

The Bad:
  • I'm disappointed that there wasn't more of a follow-up to "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings." Yes, I know the ending of that episode was supposed to be ambiguous, and not necessarily an indication that Fry and Leela would get together, but it seems that the events of the episode were totally forgotten by both of them in the following two years.
  • Speaking of which, while the two-year gap mentioned at the beginning was amusing on a meta-humorous level, I would have liked to have seen more indication of what they were doing during that time. If they weren't making any deliveries, how did they manage to get by? Maybe there will more about that in the other three movies, but I wouldn't count on it. Besides, if the last few episodes of the show took place in 3004 and the movie started in 3007, shouldn't it have been a THREE-year gap?
  • One of the things that was totally skipped over was the 3004 presidential election (assuming the election schedule in the future is the same as in the present). Obviously Nixon was re-elected, since he shows up as President near the end, but I would have liked to have seen how he managed that. He won in the first place due to the robot vote, and you'd think a lot of the robots would have turned against him after he tried to kill them all in "Crimes of the Hot." I guess if they continue into 3008 with the other movies, they'll have no choice but to give Earth a new President, or at least an explanation as to how Nixon managed to circumvent the two-term rule again.
  • On the topic of elections, I'd heard that the movie was going to explain why Gore REALLY lost the 2000 election, and I was hoping for something more interesting than what we got. As it was, as soon as they set up the scene with the two boxes, it was pretty obvious what was going to happen.
  • Although there were a few really funny moments with the nudist aliens, I still thought they weren't really developed all that well. Most of the alien invaders that we'd seen in other episodes (the Omicronians, the Decapodians, the Brain Spawn) had their own unique motivations, but the nudists didn't seem to be motivated by anything other than greed, and while their methods were interesting, their personalities really weren't.
  • Come to think of it, nothing ever really came of all the thefts of historical treasures.
  • Fry's trip back to 2000 seemed a bit abrupt, but it was saved somewhat by Bender's comment that "that's where he always goes."
  • The songs weren't quite up to par with a lot of what we'd heard in other episodes, although I did like Coolio's part. It's possible they'll grow on me with repeat viewings, though, as that's happened with other TV-based songs (especially on The Simpsons).

And the Confusing:
  • If Bender put the tattoo on Fry's ass back in 2000, wouldn't somebody have noticed it during one of the nude scenes in previous episodes? Yeah, I know this is probably reading too much into it, since it isn't really supposed to make sense. But really, what else are nerdlinger fans for?
  • Since Fry went back to 2000 and lived for about twelve years, wouldn't that have changed the flashback sequences in "The Luck of the Fryrish" and "Jurassic Bark"? The latter is especially confusing, because the indication given is that Seymour wouldn't have been fossilized if it hadn't been for Bender going back to kill Fry, but the plot of "Jurassic Bark" is centered around Fry finding the fossilized Seymour after being missing since New Year's Day of 2000. Now THERE'S a paradox for you!
  • "The Cryonic Woman" also becomes a bit difficult. When Fry and Bender were working at Applied Cryogenics, wouldn't they have noticed another version of Bender in one of the tubes?
  • For that matter, the DNA scan at the lab would presumably have revealed that Lars was really Fry, but there are ways of getting around that one.

So yes, there were some flaws, but I have to imagine that the task of the writers was not an easy one. They had to reintroduce the show, come up with a plot that could carry a feature-length production, AND make it funny. I think it would have worked better if it had just come back as a regular TV show, but hey, you have to take what you can get. And even though this was made with the intention of splitting it up into separate episodes, it didn't feel as episodic as Family Guy's Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. Actually (and probably unsurprisingly), it seemed to me to flow more like the Simpsons Movie, starting out with a rather quick and chaotic succession of gags and subplot setups, then finally settling into a few main stories and switching back and forth between them, bringing it all together at the end. I'm curious as to whether the next movie will follow up on the same story (perhaps having Nibbler, who abandoned the Universe at the end of this one, attempting to restore normality?) or come up with something totally different. I'm hoping it won't focus on time travel again, since that's pretty much been done to death, but some resolution for the ending of this one would be nice.

I'm planning on watching it with commentary tomorrow, and maybe some of the stuff I mentioned is addressed therein. I guess now I can go back and read other people's reviews. I'm sure some of them covered a lot of the same things I did.

I'm cross-posting this to my own journal and futurama.
Tags: futurama, movies, television

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