108 of 126 people found the following review helpful
While I'm a truly devoted Futurama fan, I'm not one of those condescending supergeeks who claim to love Futurama so much that I have the authority to tell everyone else how virulently they're supposed to hate anything even slightly different than my favorite old episodes. (That's right, you heard me.) I'm ecstatic that Futurama has returned from the dead, and I totally loved "Bender's Big Score." But this new Futurama flick disappoints. Most of what we know and love about Futurama is still here in spades, but this flick suffers from a poorly-developed plot and a degeneration of the show's formerly deep and subversive humor.
The 88-minute format is either too long for a compact and focused plotline, or too short for the type of complex story the producers appear to be striving for. The story here jumps around at a very awkward pace and shows signs of severe over-editing. The jokes have been reduced to Family Guy-like asides played for cheap guffaws rather than deep thoughts. (The caped superhero is an unfortunate example, and Bender's firstborn son is a very unfortunate example.)
Many holes and inconsistencies in the storyline show that plot construction took a backseat to the more easily written sight gags and cheap asides. (Here's an example that hopefully won't be condemned as a spoiler. Late in the film the new Yivo character says he [sklee] sent an image of himself to artists in our universe, but most of the story is built on the idea that Yivo thought he was alone in all universes.) The fundamental story has also trumped the longstanding strengths of the show. The personalities of Fry and Leela (and important supporting characters like Kif) are inconsistent, Bender has been demoted to an unworkable subplot, and Zoidberg does little more than vomit for simpleminded laughs. There are also many missed opportunities for building upon the cliffhangers left from "Bender's Big Score."
You can rest assured that the great Futurama animation, music, and voice acting (the actors have always been the show's unsung heroes) won't disappoint this time around. But the writing will. Certain fans may or may not like the basic story, but the bigger point is that everyone will notice the careless and unprofessional defects in the story. Hopefully this flick will just be a temporary misstep. Console yourself by remembering once again how lucky we are to have Futurama back among the living. [~doomsdayer520~]
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2008
And by that I mean that while all the one-off jokes work (hell, many of them are downright hilarious!), they have little of the plot- and character-relevance that made Futurama such a great series. And for the record, I really liked "Bender's Big Score". It was FUN ON A BUN.
In fact, this film's plot itself ventures into a genre that I'd much rather have seen Futurama stay at two removes from: romantic comedy. Except this time it's all the inhabitants of our universe ("Universe Gamma") in a romantic comedy with a planet-sized tentacled monster from another universe. There's a Bender sideplot that serves absolutely no purpose except to give Bender screen time and ultimately give him a reason to basically undo everything that happened in the movie, just when one would expect a perfectly Futurama-style twistedly happy ending.
Speaking of undoing things that happened, I really must complain that this film literally resets the past eight years of Futurama continuity. Since the Niblonians and Brainspawn are no longer in Universe Gamma and every single romantic relationship has been reset to a basic state of "not existing", it really appears as though the writers behaved exactly like a dog encountering a chess board: knocking every piece out of its place with no real character development just so they could put them into the absurd places their canine brains desired.
Finally, it has come to my attention that a lot of people got a lot more out of this film by reading it as a portrayal of the events described by the Book of the Revelation of John (aka: the Book of Revelations, aka: that crazy Apocalypse thing). Despite my knowledge of the story, being a Jew I guess I just can't see the parallels. You can only see them after someone else tells you about them, which means they aren't really there.
53 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2008
Having seen an advance copy, unlike some of the other non-reviewers, I can say that the movie is excellent. But I mainly want to point out that the bonus features include the "lost Futurama episode", a full-length 30-minute CGI episode originally produced for the old Futurama video game (never aired on TV, but featuring the actual voice cast and written by the show's original writers). This is also very entertaining, and is undoubtedly the best DVD bonus item in Futurama history. What's with the one-star reviews from people who haven't seen the DVD?
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2008
First of all, I am a huge futurama fan. Pretty much a ridiculous fan, I own all four seasons, plus the comics, plus the DVD collections that are just compilations from the seasons. And I love them all. The first Futurama 'movie' "Bender's Big Score" was great. I really enjoyed it. This one however... It just wasn't coherent.
The plot was seriously lacking, and the storyline wasn't strung together very well at all. In certain points I found myself thinking "You mean there's still more? Shouldn't it be over?!". Also, it seems like they've taken writing cues from the more recent seasons of "The Simpsons", many of the jokes were a bit over the top and at the same time low-brow. One of the things I love about Futurama is the creative and clever writing, the jokes that are a bit more clever, and not all physical comedy.
This movie was rife with moments where you just say "Yuck. That's not funny, it's just kind of gross". Which I think would be a great way to sum up the movie in general. It's not funny, it's just kind of gross.
41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2008
I bought this on the day of release, so of course I'm a big Futurama fan and expected to like it. I thought Bender's Big Score was a decent effort showing some rust, so to speak, and that the new releases would get better from there. This one is a letdown, though. No doubt, there are some good jokes, and I laughed here and there during the 90 minutes. But the writing really doesn't feel like Futurama. The grossout and mildly sick humor is amped up (it was always there but balanced with the show's sophisticated writing), and in particular, some of the humor that plays on the film's "rape" plot has a slightly ugly edge. There's also a lengthy subplot with Calculon that really drags down the film while offering almost no laughs.
The special features are pretty weak too. The deleted scenes reel is very short, the "blooper" section is just 2 minutes of the voice actors mugging for the video cameras (though this guy is happy to look at Tress McNeill and Katey Segal), and the full-length "episode" created for a video game just doesn't have the laughs.
Bottom line: I eagerly awaited this and bought it day of release; I won't be in such a hurry for the next one (which doesn't look so hot, based on the preview included with this one).
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2008
I hate to review a movie from a beloved series so poorly but this really was one of the worst/most boring/painful to watch films I've ever seen. It doesn't even deserve cult status. I watched it recently with a fellow Futurama/Simpsons fanatic and about 3/4th of the way through the movie we looked at each other and asked, "should we turn this off now or keep waiting for a joke?" We finished it, but I felt like it was a complete, mind-numbing waste of time. Frequently I enjoy movies that others found worthless or tasteless, but this one has no merit whatsoever. Don't destroy your opinion of the regular Futurama series by watching it. Bender's Big Score is far better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was already unhappy with the first Futurama movie, so I didn't have much hope for the second. I was surprised to see that this installment of Futurama is actually two awkward subplots mashed together: Lovecraftian horror for the first half, and a meditation on religion on the second half.
On the Lovecraftian side, throw in tentacle attacks, slimy ancient gods from beyond time and space, and the nihilistic view that Heaven is a fabrication and you've got a pretty depressing, semi-creepy, not really all that funny first half. Bender finally makes good on his threat to destroy all humans, Fry conveniently forgets his entire relationship with Leela, the Robot Devil shows up for a one-note gag ... I could go on but I'll stop there.
Judging by the reviews so far, the second half went over a lot of peoples' heads. Yivo is a parody of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is itself a parody of religion. Basically, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a mental construct posed to challenge the notion of a divine being; if you can disprove that the Spaghetti Monster was responsible you win the argument. "Win" being a pretty subjective word, as anyone knows who has argued about religion or politics.
As one big joke about relationships and religion, Beast With a Billion Backs works pretty well. But for reasons known only to the writers, the plot shambles forward well beyond the Big Revelation by Leela about Yivo, the aforementioned Spaghetti Monster. It's like the drunk guy at a party who tells a joke, discovers no one thinks it's funny, then tells it in a slightly different way that STILL doesn't make it funny. We get it: relationships with people can be just as ridiculous as relationships with God. But this is Futurama, and while I appreciate the depth of meaning the show strives for with this movie, it feels forced. A multitude of guest appearances doesn't make up for it.
Still, I can't be too harsh on Futurama. You won't find many animated shows that are willing to take on topics like relationships and religion at the same time, so Futurama gets points for trying. I just wish it didn't try so hard.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2008
I was really looking forward to this one after finally seeing Bender's Big Score recently. BBS had the layered, intricate, sometimes difficult to understand, and ultimately highly entertaining plotline that was the hallmark of the best Futurama episodes from the original series (i.e. Roswell that Ends Well). This 2nd installment falls more along the lines of the weaker episodes of the show, which relied on gag humor and wandering, uninspired plotlines (i.e. The Cryonic Woman).
There are always a few bright spots that keep you watching though. I thought the clip with Bender's first born was hilarious, but for the most part the jokes miss the mark. It appears the hour and a half format is proving difficult to sustain for the writers. Clips that wouldn't make the cut in a regular episode have to be featured to fill up the extra time.
As noted by some previous reviews, the character development has taken a step back here. Fry has regressed (if that is possible) into a love-starved fool from the old carefree, bachelor chow eating caveman. I won't throw in any spoilers, but Amy also falls prey to deevolution as a means to grind the plot forward and provide some cheap laughs.
Despite the movie's failings, Any moderately interested fan of the series should find this installment worth a watch. You need to keep up on the story developments in order to transition to the next movie. I'm hoping that at least one of the last two movies will be up to par with BBS. 2 out of 4 would be pretty good for a series pulled out the ashes.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2008
First, allow me to say that I'm a huge Futurama fan. I have all the TV sets, some comics and a few other odds n' ends. I watch the reruns almost daily and use Futurama quotes frequently in my vocabulary.
Sadly, I did not enjoy this movie very much, and it seems I'm in the minority on that. While the first movie showed us some of that original spark, it felt like they were a little rusty and needed to get back into their groove. "Surely they can only get better from here?" I thought.
**WARNING, SPOILERS BELOW!**
1. What the heck happened to continuity? Apparently Leela and Fry have completely forgotten about the Lars drama from the last movie and we're back at square one again (or, really, nothing at all). Fry is dating another woman, and Leela shows absolutely no emotion or any kind of jealous reaction towards it. So, the fact that Lars was Fry and you claimed he was the only man you'd ever love meant nothing?
2. And Fry, what about you? In Big Score you were desperate to win Leela's heart. After you broke up with Colleen I assumed you'd go right back to that, like always. No, it didn't even occur to you. You just put on a space suit and left the universe. If he's going to lose interest in Leela completely (and vice versa) at least tell us why, give us some backstory on it.
3. Despite the fact that Nibbler was freaking out at the end of Big Score, and there came a huge rift in the space-time continuum in the sky, it took them weeks before they even started to investigate it. I don't know, I should think a huge, potentially deadly hole in the sky should get top priority on the world's "to fix" list. Besides which, Leela didn't seem to care or notice that Nibbler had run away. Isn't he supposed to be her beloved, spoiled pet?
4. The whole "lonely" space monster who secretly mated with everyone on Earth literally behind their backs was... yeah. Then when people find out about what's really happening, he offers to be friends with them, woos them with candy and flowers, and then dates everyone at the same time? The heck?! That's not funny, that's just incredibly weird and skeezy :/
Granted, there was some really funny stuff in there, and I enjoyed it a lot for the first half hour or so, but towards the end I was actually Fast-Forwarding. I was all, "Shouldn't it be done?".
I'm not saying Futurama can't be too weird or too serious - they've done both in the past, and done it well (I still can't rewatch Jurassic Bark to this day). But this just isn't what I expect from this show, and I'm both saddened and disappointed. I hope the last two movies will be better. This will be the least watched for me, and that's assuming they don't get worse.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2008
Have been a fan since day one, have the dvds, Xbox game, calendars, comic books, etc. I find myself quoting the show at least a few times a week, and usually introduce uninitiated friends to the show whenever I get the chance. Sadly, I can't recommend this film to any but long-time fans, and I'm pretty sure there's a 50/50 chance that they'll be disappointed, like I was.
These films will never live up to the high standard set by the show (watch a few episodes of season 4 in one sitting and you'll understand), but they should do better than this. The first film did a respectable job carrying on the franchise, tied up some interesting loose ends (ah, Seymour!), showed some emotional depth and managed to pull off a fairly intricate time-travel plot line. I liked it the first viewing, and have really come to love it after repeated viewings. It built up a lot of expectation for the remaining films. But Beast dashes those hopes quite expertly.
The writing is weak. When one of the highlights is Stephen Hawking shooting lasers out of his eyes, you know there's not much here. Zoidberg is an afterthought. Bender's story goes nowhere, wasting a lot of potential (even though actor John Di Maggio is untouchable, as usual). Amy, while admittedly shallow, sinks to a new low of shallowness after Kif's death. And there are other gripes... if you're conversant with the shows, you'll see them clearly enough.
The straw that broke the Beast's back for me was the handling of the Fry/Leela relationship. Fry's lovelorn relationship with Leela has been a major part of the series from the first season. In Big Score, we see that Fry and Leela can work as a couple, which is hinted at in the series, and seems to be a building story going into Beast. Let's face it, you've been hoping that Fry will finally get his girl by the end of the 4th movie. But in Beast it's all thrown away as if it was nothing... Fry falls for a woman who has multiple live-in boyfriends and seems to care absolutely nothing for Leela (as if the events of Big Score didn't just happen). Years of drama gone without so much as a whimper. There's little doubt that Cohen et al will bring things to a tidy conclusion by the final film, but here this is just poor to the point of being pathetic. And btw, Brittany Murphy's character and acting here are downright irritating.
On the plus side, the regular cast is magnificent. They help make these movies instantly familiar and comfortable, and you can't help but get excited when the feature starts. The animation is very good also. I enjoyed seeing more of Zap and a little less of Hermes. The special features are worth checking out, and as always the commentary is pretty satisfying in a fanboy sort of way. Multiple viewings have even lessened the pain of disappointment a bit.
Some Futurama is much better than no Futurama, and at least the disappointment of this film means the next will probably seem much better by comparison. Hopefully it will be great on its own merits, and not because Beast was in many ways a missed opportunity.