One line describes this film here on IMDB: "The Planet Express crew get trapped in a fantasy world" but there is much more to this movie than that. In this direct-to-video movie, which loosely falls after the end of "The Beast with A Billion Backs," Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal), Fry (voiced by Billy West), Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio), Farnsworth (voiced by Billy West), Zoidberg (voiced by Billy West), Amy Wong (voiced by Lauren Tom), and Hermes (voiced by Phil LaMarr) reprise their roles, joined by Nibbler (voiced by Frank Welker). Absent is any role for "Rear Brigadier" Zapp Brannigan (voiced by Billy West) or Amy's husband Kif (voiced by Maurice LaMarche), although Dr. Wernstrom (voiced by David Herman) and Mom (voiced by Tress MacNeille) make an appearance.
The plot of this movie is simple. Mom, head of a huge mega-conglomerate, wants to control all the dark matter, which is literally fecal matter from animals like Nibbler, claiming there is a "shortage" so she can jack up the price. Leela, after being challenged by a "bunch of rednecks" enters a demolition derby, which she wins but results in extreme damage to the ship. There is a funny cameo of
George Takei and Rich Little, with both flying in ships resembling the enterprise from Star Trek, with Takei accusing Rich of "ruining the franchise," with both ships ultimately exploding. As a result of her "anger issues" a shock collar is put on Leela, which is triggered anytime she thinks of violence, "perversions of a sexual nature," or curse words.
As Leela tries to figure out why she is angry, another sub-plot develops: Bender becoming more enveloped with Dungeons and Dragons, so much so that he believes he is Titanius Anglesmith of the imaginary land of Cornwood after playing the game with Cubert (voiced by Kath Soucie), Dwight (voiced by Phil LaMarr), and some of their other friends. Bender is, as such, sent to the Hal Institute for Criminally Insane Robots, which made me chuckle a little bit as Hal from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was clearly "insane." There he is examined in an environment, which somewhat resembles One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) in that there is a robot named "Nurse Ratched" (voiced by Tress MacNeille), where he is subjected to hammer-therapy and examined by Dr. Perceptron (voiced by Maurice LaMarche). It is here we see one of the funnest characters of the film, whom always says the most outrageous things: Roberto (voiced by David Herman), whom was created by people in Mexico who aimed to "create an insane robot." More than anyone else, he definitely finds comic relief.
As Leela never really finds what causes her anger, other than her justified hatred of Zoidberg, the main plot of Mom's hoarding of dark matter in a "crap factory" of Nibbleonians, and Bender's fantasy land of Cornwood are merged, when the resonance of the dark matter in Bender's mind creates this fantasy land as a reality, with Mom and her sons, Igner (voiced by John DiMaggio), Walt (voiced by Maurice LaMarche), and Larry (voiced by David Herman), along with the rest of the Planet Express crew. What follows is an obvious parody/homage of the Lord of thee Rings trilogy, with the centaurs whom believe in not fighting to be considered "wimps." Soon this ends with Mom holding onto the anti-backward crystal, beating them in that world and bringing them back to the regular world. However, the regular crystal that makes dark matter potent and the anti-backward crystal are brought together, making all dark matter useless. The solution? "Nibbler power" as Farnsworth calls it.
At the closing of this film I have a number of questions. For one, can this film really be truly considered canon? After all, the 2003 episode The Why of Fry (Season 4, episode 10) shows all the Nibblonians living quite well on a planet with all the food they would eat. However, this movie makes it seem that all the Nibblonians were captured and taken in by Mom, whom was previously a Doop contractor whom "mined" the planet hollow for dark matter. This creates a bit of a contradiction. However, perhaps it could fit into the canon of the show, although some gymnastics would be required. If that is the case, it would explain, partially, the rivalry Farnsworth has with Wermstrom as he was Mom's ex-husband, expressed throughout the series and in the last film, The Beast with A Billion Backs.
Even with these problems, the film still has some good themes. It criticizes corporate concentration, specifically monopolies controlling resources, and also shows the media as colluding with those very people, as one would expect. In this way, you could say the film is critical of capitalism. This is proven with the hilarious scene of an ad shown to Frydo (the version of Fry in Cornwood) to buy a knife for a limited time only so he can kill his friends. With this all being said, I give this film not a lowly rating of 3 or even a 9, the highest rating of the 39 reviews of this film on IMDB, going in-between with an 8. With that, my review of this film comes to a close.
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