Even though Futurama returned via a straight-to-DVD movie (unlike The Simpsons, which gets a ‘proper’ film), any Futurama is an excuse for rejoicing. Having watched the four series on DVD more than a few times, Bender’s Big Score was something I was looking forward to it (it’s been on my DVD rental queue for months, so I wasn’t the only one). I think that the anticipation was perhaps too much.
The plot involves some aliens scamming Planet Express and taking it over. They have discovered a tattoo on Fry’s buttocks that contains the code for paradox-correcting time travel. Using this, they send Bender back in time to steal everything of value in Earth’s history. This leads to other characters doing some time travel, particularly Fry, which leads to convoluted retroactive continuity tweaks and twists, as we revisit various aspects of Futurama history. In the process, the film also manages to cameo practically all of the major supporting characters from the four series of the television show, as well as one-offs. This makes the film enjoyable for the long-term fan, but makes you wonder if they were throwing everything into this film, even though there are three more films on the way.
There is plenty of funny stuff, obviously; the opening section mocking the Fox network cancelling the series was hilarious. But the film seems more concerned with the twists and turns of the time-travelling and the playing with the history of the series than making with the gags. This could be my bias – my memory of the series is the jokes rather than the playful nature of the plots. Still, it was nice to see the old team back, and the DVD has some nice bonus material, such as the Comic-Con reading of a Futurama comic announcing the return of show and a ‘lecture’ about the mathematics in the series (it was interesting to discover that one of the writers has a PhD in mathematics). Maybe I’ll enjoy it more from rewatching it, along with all the other episodes.