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Review: Bender’s Game (Futurama)

Oh, Futurama writers. You know I love you more than most kinds of booze and various sinful activities. Yet, alas, I cannot pile on the raves for the most recent effort: Bender’s Game, and for that I am so sad I must resort to . . . to . . . well, I guess I’ll have to resort to most kinds of booze and various sinful activities.

Sure, you had plenty of jokes about nerdy dark matter, collapsing symmetry, and other astrophysics stuff. There were some great gags, and it was a pretty rad decision to include snippets of Kathy McCarty’s cover of Daniel Johnston’s Rocket Ship:

But seriously, guys. After two movies that were just as entertaining as the original series, the Futurama team has finally gone and completely ODed on fanservice. I don’t mean the sexy kind of fanservice, like when we get to see Fry’s butt crack multiple times or when Leela and Amy make out for an extended period (or like Bender’s Big Score where we get to see everyone on a nude beach . . . seriously, Futurama writers, stop inspiring future pervs with really weird cartoon fetishes). No, the overboard fanservice comes in the form of half the movie forming one long parody of role-playing games and fantasy movies, mostly Lord of the Rings.

Now, I enjoyed LotR, I really did. Saw them in the theater, bought the DVDs, all that, but an extended parody of them is not really my bag. One throwaway episode of a series? Sure, but please, don’t take up the few precious minutes we get of Futurama these days. It’s a limited resource that must be protected and treasured, not wasted on cheap parody.

So, I give it a big ‘meh’ overall. Still better than nearly every other new DVD at your local failing video rental store, but not up to my personal standards. Take that with a grain of salt, though: IMDB users apparently like this one better than Beast with a Billion Backs, while I would rate BBB the highest of the three released so far.

I’ll close with a few of my favorite quotes from Bender’s Game. There were a lot of funny moments, but as I took notes I realized that the Professor had just about all of them. Turn away now if you don’t want any lulz spoiled for you (though there aren’t any plot spoilers here):

Professor Farnsworth: As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum physics means anything can happen at any time for no reason. Also, eat plenty of oatmeal and animals never had a war. Who’s the real animals?

Professor Farnsworth: I pray to all powerful atheismo . . .

Professor Farnsworth: Instead of science we believe in crazy hocus pocus. It’s like Kansas.

Professor Farnsworth: It’s not a magical bug, it’s a magical arachnid you idiot. Can’t you count the legs?

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Previous reviews:

Bender’s Big Score Review

Beast With a Billion Backs Review

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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15 Comments

  1. The bad news:

    1. I have been fighting all day with a Mormon acquaintance who can’t understand why it might be even a teensy bit bigoted to support Prop 8.

    2. I really was let down by Bender’s Big Score and Beast With a Billion Backs to the point that I don’t even want to watch the new one.

    The good news:

    1. It’s my birthday.

    2. I JUST MET ED BRAYTON AND PZ MYERS! WOOOoOOOOooOoOoOoOOooOoOo!

    If I meet Rebecca, Steven, Jay, Bob, and Evan, I will have collected the whole set and I can die happy*.

    *Offer void in continental United States.

  2. Hmmm. One definitely-absolutely-not-Torrented movie later, I’d say that Bender’s Game was stronger on humour and plot than Beast With a Billion Backs, and stronger on jokes while somewhat weaker on plot than Bender’s Big Score.

    Oh, and Amy and Leela did not make out for long enough.

  3. I liked the long LotR parody, but then, I am a fantasy geek. Also, the plot slowed down at that point, which was nice, because I thought the first half of the movie was almost confusingly fast.

    Though I still think Bender’s Big Score is the best one so far. It’s probably the least funny, but I really liked the plot.

  4. Maybe it’s a UK thing, or maybe it’s just ME, but I thought the first two were pretty sucky, with David Cross phoning in a lacklustre performance and the writing about as good as the worst episodes from Season 4.

    So either that means I’ll REALLY hate this one, or I’ll totally love it :D

  5. I have to say be sure to watch the movie a couple of times. I was kinda meh on the whole thing after the first viewing but I really laughed a lot more watching it a second time with friends.

    Mostly because I hate David Cross with a passion usually reserved for people who have committed premeditated crimes against humanity I really didn’t like BBB. Which is strange because I’m usually a fan of movies involving tentacles.

    In short (too late) for me the first movie is still got the strongest writing. Though Bender’s Game really wins for fast paced joke-a-thon. Also, the scene with the giant Zoidberg monster is really funny.

  6. I’m going to watch this today. I’m not very critical, so I’ll probably enjoy it, especially if there’s a joke about Deepak, oh lovely Deepak, and his misunderstanding of quantaum physics.

    P.S.–In Enemies of Reason, Richard Dawkins interviews Deepak, it’s funny. If you haven’t seen it, go here: (That should be the link)

  7. I just watched it myself. I saw Bender’s Big Score, but not the Beast with a Billion Backs. I was pretty okay with, and thoroughly enjoyed Bender’s Big Score, but was a little disappointed by Bender’s Game. The plot meandered as usual, which never bothers me. Both movies felt like 3-4 episodes watched in a row (which is how I watched the show originally- on DVD). My criticisms are much like Rebecca’s. I would have liked more funny, and less fan service.

    On a side-note: why is it that whenever a show makes a D&D reference, it’s never very accurate? I’ve played all 4 editions of D&D, and still play every weekend, and they always get their terms mixed up, or make references to things from fantasy (like LOTR) that don’t exist in D&D. I felt like it was more of a LOTR parody with dice.

    Are there copyright issues? Has it just usually been a while since the writers have actually played?

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