Futurama: Bender's Big Score

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Futurama:
Bender's Big Score
Dvdcoverbender.jpg
Directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill
Produced by Lee Supercinski
Claudia Katz
Written by Teleplay:
Ken Keeler
Story:
Ken Keeler
David X. Cohen
Starring Billy West
Katey Sagal
John DiMaggio
Tress MacNeille
Maurice LaMarche
Phil LaMarr
Lauren Tom
David Herman
Dawnn Lewis
Kath Soucie
Frank Welker
Music by Christopher Tyng
Editing by Paul D. Calder
Studio The Curiosity Company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release dates United States:
November 27, 2007
United Kingdom:
April 7, 2008
Australia:
March 5, 2008
Running time 89 min.
Country United States
Language English

Futurama: Bender's Big Score (or Bender's Big Score) is an Annie Award-winning direct-to-video film based on the animated series Futurama. It was released in the United States on November 27, 2007. Bender's Big Score, along with the three follow-up films, comprise season five of Futurama, with each film being separated into four episodes of the broadcast season. Bender's Big Score made its broadcast premiere on Comedy Central on March 23, 2008.[1] The movie was written by Ken Keeler, based on a story by Keeler and David X. Cohen, and directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill.

Special appearances include Coolio as Kwanzaa-bot, Al Gore as himself, Mark Hamill as the Chanukah Zombie, Tom Kenny as Fry's older brother Yancy, and Sarah Silverman as Fry's ex-girlfriend Michelle (replacing Kath Soucie as the voice from her role in "The Cryonic Woman").

Plot[edit]

Two years ago, Box Network executives canceled Planet Express's contract. Those executives have been fired, so Planet Express is back "on the air". They throw a party to celebrate, during which Hermes is decapitated and his body runs away headless, but gets crushed by the Planet Express Ship, prompting LaBarbara to leave him. His head is placed in a jar while his body is repaired. The man who performs the procedure, Lars, takes a liking to Leela. Leela reciprocates, much to Fry's annoyance.

During a delivery to a nude beach planet, Bender discovers a tattoo of himself on Fry's buttocks. A trio of scammer aliens (Nudar, Fleb and Schlump) dupe the crew into signing petitions and providing their e-mail addresses. When the crew returns to Earth, the scammers begin spamming them. After they respond, Bender is infected with an obedience virus and Professor Farnsworth is tricked into signing over his business. By a process known as "sprunging," the scammers detect Fry's tattoo, which contains the code for paradox-correcting time travel. Nibbler reveals himself and explains that using the code could destroy the universe, but the scammers ignore him.

Bender destroys New York while being pursued by Swedish authorities in 2308, one of the many moments of continuity with previous episodes.

Since the code only allows travel into the past, the scammers have Bender steal valuable objects from Earth's past and pass the time in a cave beneath Planet Express. Hermes has Bender obtain an earlier version of his body in order to save his marriage. The Professor discovers that duplicates created via time-travel paradoxes, including Hermes' new body, are doomed. Meanwhile, Leela and Lars date, depressing Fry.

After Bender steals all of history's treasures, the scammers decide to destroy the time code by erasing it from Bender's memory and killing Fry. Fry uses the code to escape to January 1, 2000, the day he was frozen. Bender is sent to kill him, arrives in the cryogenics lab and creates a duplicate of himself when he needs to use the bathroom. A second duplicate from "way at the end" then appears and opens the tube that the frozen Fry is in and puts a rub-on tattoo with the time-travel code on his butt. When Fry arrives, the first duplicate, not wanting to kill him, fights his programming, initiating a self-destruct sequence. Fry shoves the Bender duplicate in a cryo-tube and sets it for 1,000,000 years. The original Bender spends the next twelve years hunting Fry, then destroys Fry's apartment when Fry walks inside.

Bender reports his success, and the scammers erase the time code and the obedience virus. During a memorial in his honor, Fry shows up. He explains that he created a duplicate of himself; his duplicate remained in the past while he accidentally fell into his own cryo-tube. When Fry (plus the Fry that has already been frozen) awoke in the tube 1,000 years later, the present Fry froze himself until the current year. Flashbacks show the duplicate Fry staying in the 21st century, spending the twelve years before Bender's attack working at Panucci's Pizzeria and after three years an aquarium. He is also seen hanging out with his family, caring for an orphaned narwhal named Leelu and of course his beloved dog Seymour Asses.

Nibbler destroys the time code tattoo to keep the scammers from further abusing it. Everyone lives in poverty thanks to the scammers, while Leela and Lars decide to marry. A chain reaction at the wedding leads to Hermes being decapitated again and his body being crushed by a chandelier. When Farnsworth explains that Hermes's duplicate body was doomed, Lars becomes agitated and cancels the wedding.

The scammers trick Earth President Richard Nixon into selling Earth to them, and everyone leaves the planet. To reclaim Earth, the population assembles a fleet on Neptune with the aid of Robot Santa, Kwanzaabot, and the Chanukah Zombie. With his bureaucratic brain wired into the battle computer, Hermes leads Earth to victory over the scammers' fleet after both Leela and Zapp fail, and wins back his wife. The scammers threaten the crew with a doomsday device Bender stole for them earlier, but do not realize that Bender had previously stolen the device back for himself. Leela fires the device at the scammers' ship, destroying it. Everyone returns to Earth to celebrate the New Year. Bender is commended for his deeds and Hermes is returned to his original body.

After failing to entice a heartbroken Leela, Fry decides to do what he feels is best for her and arranges a reunion with Lars at the cryogenic lab. Having survived the doomsday blast, Nudar, ambushes them. Nudar claims that the time-travel code still exists on Lars. Lars tricks Nudar into approaching the cryo-tube with the Bender duplicate on auto-destruct and holds Nudar against the Bender time–duplicate, who explodes, killing the three of them. The explosion singes off some of Lars' clothing, revealing the time code tattoo. A flashback reveals that Lars was actually Fry's time-travel duplicate; after releasing Leelu into the Arctic wild, he returned to his apartment and survived Bender's attack in 2012; the fire and smoke changed his appearance and voice. Realizing he was Lars, the duplicate Fry froze himself to return to the future and be with Leela. Learning that time travel duplicates were doomed, he canceled the wedding to spare Leela the pain of his inevitable death. Leela forgives “Lars” and kisses Fry.

Bender removes Lars's tattoo and travels into the past to place it on Fry while he was originally frozen in order for the events which have transpired to make "any sense at all." Bender then meets many of his duplicates from his stealing sprees, and invites them to emerge with him all at once instead of when they were supposed to give their artifacts to the scammers. Terrified of the paradoxical consequences, Nibbler urges everyone to evacuate the universe before swallowing himself. The Bender duplicates explode and cause a tear in the fabric of space.[2]

Cast[edit]

Actor Character
Billy West Philip J. Fry
Lars Fillmore
Professor Farnsworth
Dr. Zoidberg
Zapp Brannigan
Additional voices
Katey Sagal Leela
John DiMaggio Bender Rodríguez
Robot Santa
Barbados Slim
Additional voices
Tress MacNeille Additional voices
Maurice LaMarche Schlump
Additional voices
Phil LaMarr Hermes Conrad
Ethan "Bubblegum" Tate
Additional voices
Lauren Tom Amy Wong
Additional voices
David Herman Nudar
Additional voices
Dawnn Lewis LaBarbara Conrad
Kath Soucie Cubert Farnsworth
Frank Welker Nibbler
Fleb
Additional voices
Coolio Kwanzaa-bot
Al Gore Himself
Mark Hamill Chanukah Zombie
Tom Kenny Yancy Fry, III
Sarah Silverman Michelle

Production[edit]

In February 2007, Futurama co-creator Matt Groening addressed speculation as to whether Futurama had been revived in episodic or feature-film form, explaining that the crew is "writing them as movies and then we're going to chop them up, reconfigure them, write new material and try to make them work as separate episodes".[3] A preview of the film was shown at Comic-Con 2007.[4] It was also reported at Comic-Con that once the movie is "chopped up" it will be reconfigured into four episodes that will be broadcast on Comedy Central on March 23, 2008. The same will be done with the succeeding three movies, creating a sixteen-episode fifth season.[5] The voice recording finished on July 3, 2007.[6] An official trailer was released on October 10, 2007.

Music[edit]

In addition to background musical scoring for the movie, Christopher Tyng provided two original "movie musical" style songs for the characters to sing in context in Bender's Big Score. The song "I May As Well Jump" (also referred to as "Street Song") exposited the dissatisfaction of most of the characters with the ways their lives were progressing at that point in the plotline, except for Lars and Leela, who were contrastingly delighted to announce their happiness and their upcoming marriage. The song "This Trinity's Goin' To War" (also referred to as "This Toyshop's Goin' To War") exposited the plans of Robot Santa, Chanukah Zombie, and Kwanzaa-bot to provide military support to assist in the liberation of Earth. The movie also contains a cover of Scott Walker's "30 Century Man" performed by The Jigsaw Seen.

Release[edit]

Bender's Big Score made its broadcast premiere on Comedy Central on March 23, 2008.[1] The film was broken into four separate episodes which served as the first part of Futurama's fifth season, followed by The Beast with a Billion Backs, Bender's Game and Into the Wild Green Yonder. The TV movie was screened in the United Kingdom on Sky1, which started airing Bender's Big Score on October 26, 2008. After being aired in four separate episodes, the next three movies were aired, with each of them being broken up into four episodes; creating a fifth season comprising 16 episodes overall. Bender's Big Score aired in Canada on October 12, 2008 on the Global Television Network.

In the broadcast premiere, the extended opening from the film is placed before the scene where Hermes is decapitated as opposed to after it. The first two scenes in the montage of Leela and Lars' dates were cut. The original opening subtitle "IT JUST WON'T STAY DEAD!" is kept as the opening subtitle of the first part. The three additional opening captions are: "Watch, Rinse, Repeat", "Apply directly to the foreclaw" (a reference to HeadOn), and "Last Known Transmission of the Hubble Telescope." The billboard scene in all four is identical to the single scene in the film, a snippet from "Space Pilot 3000" where Fry gets frozen.

Home media[edit]

Futurama: Bender's Big Score is the first carbon-neutral DVD to be released by 20th Century Fox.[7][8] The studio worked to reduce the carbon impact of DVD manufacture and distribution. It also features "A Terrifying Message From Al Gore", an animated short produced to promote guest star Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, a discussion on the use of mathematics in Futurama, full length audio commentary by cast and crew members. There is also a 22-minute full length episode of "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad".[9] It was released in 16:9 widescreen format; the first 16:9 presentation of any Futurama media.

Reception[edit]

In its first week, the DVD sold 222,036 units, for a total of $3,994,428.[10] As of July 24, 2008, www.the-numbers.com reports DVD sales stand at 920,023, for a total of $16,662,212.[10]

The film currently holds a 100% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[11] It won the 2007 Annie Award for Best Home Entertainment Production.[12] The movie received an "A" rating in a review at UGO, calling its two musical numbers "hilarious", and the overall quality on par with that of the show's original run.[13] Dan Iverson of IGN gave the movie an 8 out of 10, stating that "it is easy to recommend Bender's Big Score to fans of the series and those new to the show alike." They also gave the DVD a 7 out of 10, praising the extras but lamenting the quality of the video transfer.[14] It has been given a 9/10 by Movie Power magazine and a 'B' by The Washington Post.

Torgo's Executive Powder[edit]

Torgo's Executive Powder is an elaborate running gag throughout the film in retaliation against the Fox Network for its alleged mishandling and eventual cancellation of Futurama.[15] The product is said to have "a million and one uses" and consists of ground-up executives, including those of the film's thinly veiled Fox Network parody (the Box Network), and makes repeated appearances due to its miraculous utility in such diverse tasks as seasoning, surgery, delousing, feeding heads in jars, cosmetics, bomb disposal, artillery, and the care of head transplant patients. In the "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad" episode released with the film, Torgo's Powder is advertised as a parody of HeadOn, stating "Torgo's Powder: apply directly to the buttocks" three times in the same fashion. When the film was aired on Comedy Central, a fake commercial was shown preceding the first break in which a woman dumps some of the powder in a toilet. It appears once in Bender's Game on Fry and Bender's kitchen counter, when Bender is washing a pot and is about to jump out of the window.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Futon Critic Staff (February 7, 2008). "Comedy Central's "South Park", "Li'l Bush", More to Return in March". 
  2. ^ The tear leads to events shown in Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs.
  3. ^ Staff Writer (February 26, 2007). "Rhymes with Raining". Crave Online. Retrieved March 25, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Good News Everyone! 'Futurama' Film Footage". tvblogger. Retrieved July 29, 2007. 
  5. ^ "TV Blogger: Comic-Con: The 'Futurama' is Clear". tvblogger.org. Retrieved July 29, 2007. 
  6. ^ Goldman, Eric. "Exclusive: Futurama Actress Gives Update". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2007. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Celaschi, Molly (November 14, 2007). ""Futurama" Feature Length Movie DVD Specs". Retrieved November 16, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Futurama - Bender's Big Score - DVD Sales". 
  11. ^ Futurama: Bender's Big Score at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ "Legacy: 35th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2007)". International Animated Film Society. 
  13. ^ Tarnoff, Brooke. "Futurama : Bender's Big Score Review". Retrieved November 16, 2007. 
  14. ^ Iverson, Dan (November 19, 2007). "Futurama: Bender's Big Score Review". IGN. Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  15. ^ Keller, Joel (November 26, 2007). "David X. Cohen of Futurama: The TV Squad Interview". tvsquad.com. Retrieved November 26, 2007. 
  16. ^ Audio commentary for Bender's Game.

External links[edit]