Monday, November 10, 2008
Recently watched both The Beast with a Billion Backs and Bender's Game. While both DVDs do an excellent job of continuing the Futurama franchise, it's the extras and commentaries where these DVDs falter, however slightly.
The Beast is the weaker of the two films, and suffers for coming in the aftermath of Bender's Big Score. The main plot really doesn't start until about halfway through the feature, instead focusing on doing a lot of character building for a few of the show mainstays. While that's not a bad thing, it does lack a sense of strong narrative direction. That said, there is a lot of different stories packed into this one; interesting takes on bizarre sci-fi romance, monster attacks, religion and social and class status all get served up in this one. The extras are pretty weak, the usual animatics and deleted scenes and a commentary that is frankly more annoying than anything else. It's still technically excellent, and hey, it's always funny, but it feels more like a collection of separate eps than a singular whole.
A problem "Bender's Game" does not share, and as such, is a massive improvement. Where "Beast" takes on sci-fi tropes, "Bender's Game" goes head to head on current issues; Fuel costs, the environment, and animals. And of course, when all this is lumped together, it can only spell one thing: MOM. Ah, the arch-nemesis of the Futurama pack finally makes an appearance, after a rather odd and telling absence. And in this one, she's definitely the show-stealer, dripping with greed and contempt. Yeah, this is the good stuff. So go and enjoy it.