As seniors in high school, Troy and Gabriella

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At once a merciless skewering of all things fanboy and an extremely satisfying addition to the Futurama franchise, Bender's Game is among the best of the animated series' feature length adventures. The game in question is Dungeons and Dragons, and Bender wants in�only robots aren't programmed with the necessary imagination. Naturally, Bender's plans to develop one go completely awry and land him in an android asylum. The role-playing plotline later re-emerges�in typically convoluted Futurama fashion�via a subplot involving Professor Farnsworth's conversion of dark matter into spaceship fuel, which created a key to a very D&D-influenced universe where our hapless heroes eventually find themselves. The alternate world storyline allows for much lampooning of fantasy tropes, with Lord of the Rings receiving the lion's share of the tweaks. Seeing as how the writers have already devoted much of the movie's running time to parodying Star Wars and Star Trek (and their Lego offshoots), one might think that Bender's Game might suffer from pop-culture overload, but surprisingly, it all feels fresh and frequently funny, and the writers are wise to ground the story in their eccentric characters rather than pinballing them through an endless string of gags. The result is probably the strongest of the direct-to-DVD Futurama releases to date, and one that newcomers to the show's cracked universe can appreciate as much as longtime fans.As with previous Futurama DVD releases, the extras come fast and furious on Bender's Game: commentary by members of the cast and production team (including Matt Groening) is both informative and funny, while interviews with the writers and producers discuss, among other topics, the influence of Dungeons and Dragons on the series and the 3D models used in the feature. Aspiring animators might appreciate "How To Draw Futurama in 83 Easy Steps and the storyboard animatic for the first part of the story, while the "Genetics Lab" feature allows for some amusing Dr. Moreau-style cross-breeding of the characters. Recording session bloopers and a deleted scene offer their own laughs, but the most enjoyable extra must be the preview for the next Futurama feature, Into the Wild Green Yonder, which suggests a shocking development for one of the show's regulars.
 
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