Long was I a fan of the Futurama series, while I always knew it was never as good as it's big brother (The Simpsons) and would never be held in the same regard, I always loved to watch the refreshing characters and quality gags that still make me smirk to this day. I, like most, was saddened to see Fox cancel yet another great show and had long pined for a revival series.
However with the announcement of a full length feature, the professor's signature phrase "Good News Everyone" has never been so apt, it leaves the same ominous undertones that instantly made me groan; this was never the sort of cartoon that should be given a drawn out plot and my fear was that the writers would try and give the film a sense of purpose that was never really there to start with, unfortunately when I watched the film for the first time my fear was realised.
The first 10-15 minutes are spent bludgeoning the FOX network for the cancellation of the show and although funny at first transcends into what seems like petty bitterness that the show could do with out.
After the Fox bashing, the film gets under way in the same classic fashion as the series, with Hermes literally losing his head and the inept crew being drafted for some absurd mission on Naked Planet. Aaaah classic Futurama you think.... well no.. for some reason the film never regains the flow or rhythm of the series with more flatliners than a Lenny Henry gig. This constantly interrupts and intrudes on the inner comfort zone of the viewer watching. Each moment keeps you on edge waiting for the next lead balloon and leaves you cringing when it inevitably comes which is a new experience for me as a Futurama fan and one that I did not enjoy one bit.
The plot that I knew would inevitably be the downfall of the film blows just as hard as a French windmill employee, with the writers trying too hard to be too clever and too pretentious, both of these things are what Futurama is quintessentially NOT and are what continually hamper my viewing experience.
Although this harsh statement would seem to kill the film off there and then, there are some superb one liners and as always it's Bender and Farnsworth with their over relied upon comic gems saving the producer's backsides to make the film worth hanging around for. However, it should of been released as a series from the start and not as a film, I fear it is for this reason that Groening's love child will drift quickly into the past not to be thought of again.
Did I like it? Well yes sort of.... but it's more of a sympathy vote from an old fan.