Boy, it’s great to see Futurama again. The long awaited DVD premiere movie is a return to form for the sci-fi comedy, with perhaps a bit more confidence. The story is a brilliant time travel adventure, that makes way more sense than, say, Southland Tales, and rewards longtime fans.
Of course it begins with jokes about Fox and getting cancelled. The new "action" titles are a fun gimmick. Then the plot kicks in, involving naked aliens with a time travel device who send Bender back through history stealing historical artifacts. The universe, however, can correct the time paradox of doubles, which causes problems for anyone who goes back to a time when they were already alive.
Unlike the Family Guy DVD movie, Bender’s Big Score does not feel like three episodes loosely strung together. At the same time, it is not your usual three act structure. You can feel all the act breaks where a commercial would go, and most of the funny escapades are episodic in that the whole mini-arc plays out in about eight minutes.
That totally works for the movie because it’s like a series of shorts that only include all the funniest stuff. There are threads interweaving everything into an epic, like the aliens whose overall plot continues to affect things, and characters who weave in and out of multiple stories.
You can kind of see how they’re going to take pieces of this to make individual episodes, but they will have to make drastic changes to make them stand on their own. It is curious that there are two Xmas themed musical numbers. I wonder when that’s going to air.
The complex time travel story sets up easter eggs from the show’s run, as well as things it will pay off by the end of this feature. At the same time, there are dick jokes and cartoon butts (Yes, Amy and Leela included). There are joyfully silly puns that feel like the creators saying, "Yeah, we know math but we also screw around."
Futurama: Bender’s Big Score manages to be everything the best episodes of the show were: scientifically complex, sophisticatedly funny while peppered with gallows material, and at times heartbreaking.