The return of the sci-fi animation
When Futurama, Matt Groenings non-yellow animated show, was cancelled, fans immediately began trying to resurrect it. They complained on the internet, watched the re-runs in huge numbers and bought every DVD copy in the known universe. Eventually, Fox realised that this golden goose could keep laying, and commissioned four new feature-length DVD adventures.
The first of these, Benders Big Score, marks a welcome return, but one thats not quite glorious. The story is the usual wonderful Futurama mix of perfect logic and unapologetic silliness: nudist aliens take over Earth via a convoluted email scam that also puts a virus-infected Bender (the shows cantankerous alcoholic robot) under their control.
Where the extended length hurts, however, is in exposing the shows often flimsy character work. Bender is a terrific creation, as are Fry, the pizza boy from the past, and Leela, his one-eyed crush. But the rest are generally just filling screen space. Theres none of the instant characterisation that The Simpsons excels at, and funny voices are too often substituted for personality traits.
This isnt Futurama at its best and the gag-rate feels uncharacteristically slow, but theres enough Bender in here to make it worth watching. Still, less Hermes Conrad next time; he should have been left in limbo.