The Beast with a
To be honest, I missed Bender's Big Score,
though it's still on my list of DVDs to convince my children
they need to get me for Christmas but can't watch themselves.
So it seems that I missed some important plot developments
in the Futurama canon. It's not exactly as if the
characters grow and change, but at least they progress.
Actually, it's more like they meander with
vague purpose. As entertaining as Futurama is, stretching
it out into 80 or so minutes at a time only underscores
that it's a franchise about jokes, not actual story.
The tale begins with a "…previously on
Futurama…" intro, as a rift appears in the sky above
Earth. Or above the universe. If you're a hardcore science
fiction fan, this may not be the show for you, but it never
gets in the way for me.
Though that rift becomes crucial to the
ending, Beast with a Billion Backs takes its sweet
time getting around to it mattering. Everything pays off
by the closing credits, but the plot threads seem as numerous
as the hookworm flies that are the last stage of Kif Kroker's
people's lifecycle - and what a disturbing joke that
Yet the same sharp sense of humor from
the old days remains. Everything Futurama requires
watching more than once just to catch all of it. Rare are
the minds that can come up with a title joke that evokes
both fifties kitsch and Shakespearean tragedy, but Matt
Groening and company manage it.
The disc includes a so-called "blooper
reel," which is more just a slice of seeing the cast recording.
One of the things that makes the ensemble so sharp is that
they do all record together, and they seem remarkably patient
with one another.
There's also a featurette on designing
the game "Deathball," a brilliant little side-note in the
proceedings of The Beast with a Billion Backs. Please,
Fox Network, if you're going to give us a lot of crap anyway,
please try to make Deathball a real event.
David Cross pops up to talk about his technique
for voicing his role in this movie, and it's somewhat reassuring
that for the most part, this disc won't teach you anything
about voice acting. It seems like that's the way Bender
would want it.
Finally, if you were like me and stalled
out halfway through the Futurama videogame - the
ultra-violet sequence got too dark for me to play through,
really - all the cut scenes have been included here, edited
together as "the lost episode."
All together, it makes a good midsummer
night's timewaster. See, I can be Shakespearean, too.