As much as I love them, there’s a definite double-edged sword when it comes to writing comedy. It goes as such: You can either be funny, or you can have depth. There’s very rarely a middle ground to this scenario. There have been wonderful examples on both sides of the spectrum (Borat on one side, Juno on the other). The only exceptions to this rule seem to be found primarily on TV: 30 Rock, Arrested Development, and the subject of this review, Futurama.
The good news is that Bender’s Game is pretty much leaps and bounds better than the previous outing. The bad news? For the most part, Bender’s Game falls victim to the Humour/Depth spectrum.
Okay, might as well give you some background information. While The Planet Express Crew deals with an energy crisis and rising Dark Matter prices, Bender starts playing Dungeons and Dragons, to the point where he becomes delusional, attacking buses with swords and stealing Dark Matter from Nibbler’s litterbox. Eventually, The Crew confronts Mom, the person in charge of Dark Matter distribution, and for some vaguely explained reason, they end up in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
In all honesty, the plot is the weakest point in an other wise strong comedy. Since the movie is basically four episodes put together, they seem to work better taken individually rather than as a whole. The real problem with it is the continuity. All four plots are held together about as loosely as Liz Lemon’s bra. However, it holds something just as impressive.
This is where the Humour/Depth spectrum comes in. By far, Bender’s Game is the funniest of the three movies. It’s both a love letter and a send-up of geek culture. My only problem with this is that the D&D sub-culture is so big, there are jokes that make you feel like you’re on the outside looking in. But thankfully, the best jokes are the most accessible ones. If the episode of the Scary Door that Leela watches doesn’t make you laugh, there’s a good chance you have no soul.
If you want to boil it down, Bender’s Game is essentially the greatest piece of nerd service ever put to celluloid. What it lacks in a consistent story line, it makes up with classic Futurama charm and wit. And if the teaser for the final movie is any indication, the writers may be giving it the final send off.