FOX has released the most recent spin-off from the cult favorite, "FUTURAMA" series, "BENDER'S GAME," on blu-ray. The terrific animated series was cancelled far too soon, but there have been "direct-to-video" films made afterwards, and "BENDER'S GAME" is the first to find its way onto blu-ray.
Making a fair share of political jabs, the plot focuses on a sudden shortage of dark matter and resulting increases in fuel cost, necessitating Professor Farnsworth to halt Fry and the gang from flying the spaceship anywhere it's not absolutely required. This much extra time from delivery work provides some hilarious subplots, as Bender gets hooked and confused on "DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS," Fry becomes a reluctant hero in a spoof(ranking up there with "SOUTH PARK") of "Lord of the Rings," and Leela's new shock collar has some unenviable results. There are other things going on, but Professor Farnsworth's interlude with corporate greed, is less than funny, and occupies more time than it deserves. Still, at nearly 90 minutes in duration, "BENDER'S GAME" provides at least as many laughs as "THE SIMPSONS MOVIE," although the various themes never seem to gel together as well as they do in the other film. Some jokes work much better than others, and at times, it feels like the film has been padded, but it's never actually dull, and there are so many laugh-out-loud moments, that it's easy to recommend "BENDER'S GAME" for one's collection.
FOX has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. It's a magnificent transfer! Any given scene offers extravagant colors, pushed to the max, without any oversaturation. While the world of "PIXAR" is so prominent, it's still nice to see how wonderful non "computer"(well, it's arguably "still" computer)animation can look! Detail is wonderful, and blacks are incredibly inky, making this one of the best looking animated blu-ray releases available!
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. There are large portions, wherein the center channel dialogue focuses too much attention in one place only. However, ambient effects, together with bass and discrete effects kick in soon enough, making the mix thoroughly enjoyable and making one wish these moments were non-stop! It's a really good mix, just short of ranking up there with the best reference quality ones.
An optional running commentary provides some good laughs and plenty of production info for die-hard fans, however, it's probably too involved for casual fans of the series.
Deleted scenes, outtakes and a featurete, are offered in full HD.