One of the greatest tragedies in science-fiction was the cancelling of the original Star Trek. Then, of course, came the cancelling of Firefly. But of all the shocking injustices I’ve cared so little about (to quote a certain space captain) it has to be the multiple cancellations of Futurama that stuck in me the most. If you’re not familiar with Futurama I’m going to urge you to crawl out from under whatever rock has been hiding you for the last 17 years or so, enjoy some sunshine, then immediately get on Netflix and binge the entire nine season run so you’re up to date on all of that awesomeness. Futurama is the epic tale of a delivery boy with a… unique brain who ends up accidently frozen in a cryogenics lab in 1999 only to be thawed out in the year 3000. The show has everything. Rocket ships, gorgeous alien/mutant women, mad scientists and jive talking robots. From Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, it was the perfect segue to help us make the transition from the 20th century into the 31st. The show developed a massive following for its sarcastic, satirical humor and its nods to works of science and science fiction great and small. It’s no small wonder that so many fans have chosen to cosplay and spend their times in convention halls and Halloween parties dressed as Fry, Leela, and Bender not to mention the massive amounts of fan fiction and art you can find clogging the collective arteries of the internet. It was during one of these boredom saturated romps through the interwebs, curious to see what my favorite cartoon characters might look like in real life, that I came across a still of Fry and Bender sitting on a couch together drinking a beer. Only Fry was a very real human being and Bender seemed to be an actual robot…of sorts. I began sifting through the images until I came across a picture with the words Fan-O-Rama scrolled across it. I both cringed and applauded as I read the description on the page: “In the year 2014 one man, Dan Lanigan, in addition to other men, and some women, set out on a quest to become the first person in his family to create a live-action Futurama fan film. He is now regarded by most of his immediate kin as the foremost authority on the subject. This is his story.” -excerpt from the Fan-O-Rama web page. I couldn’t help myself. I continued reading, finding the FAQ to be even more informative: Q: Why are you doing this? A: This is the question we probably get asked more than any other. Q: Why Futurama? A: No other show/movie/breakfast cereal offered the complex combination of characters, story, setting, and creative breadth that would allow us to explore the uniqueness of the human condition and societal mores and social structures pertinent to our modern sensibilities while also featuring a creepy lobster-squid monster. -excerpt from the Fan-O-Rama FAQ. I had to see this film. It took several months of half-heartedly waiting, forgetting about it, then remembering and coming back to the link to see if it was ready yet, but last week I was fortunate enough to come across it on Youtube. There are a few things you need to know about this short film before you watch it. If you’re going into this expecting a fully coherent episode of Futurama with all the beloved voices and storytelling you’ve come to expect from the series, you will be sadly disappointed. This was put together by some diehard fans of the show who wanted to make their own tribute to the comedic greatness that entertained millions from 1999 to 2014. It was a labor of love for the director, producers, writers, actors, and crew who designed, constructed, and brought to life their own vision of the year 3000 for us. Next, the effects and graphics are on a par with what you’d have seen in an episode of Doctor Who circa 1989-2009. Green screen backdrops, highly stylized ships and settings, and some prosthetics and practical effects that are amazingly real and unnervingly hokey all at the same time. Oh my, yes, the Professor alone is enough to give you nightmares in his ultra-realistic appliances that genuinely make it look like the cartoon character broke the fabled Fourth Wall and fell into our reality. Meanwhile, Zoidberg and Bender are two of the greatest puppets I’ve ever seen as the come to life on my computer screen. There’s a host of background aliens courtesy of a beer commercial Fry and Bender are watching. Some of them are familiar creatures from the Futurama universe while others, namely a scantily clad reptilian beast with eye balls for nipples all add to the surreal sort of feeling the 34 minute film offers. The A story is about Fry and Bender trying to write a beer jingle so they can win a lifetime supply of beer while Leela deals with her idiot crew as they deliver miniature giraffes and a doomsday device for the Professor. As this story line concludes on a cliff hanger, we cut to Zapp Branigan in his velour man dress sitting down in a black room in his captain’s chair talking about the shocking injustice of his character being left out of the story. In a move straight out of the show it is honoring, he runs down the angles of the cliff hanger, talking about epic space battles and comedic situations that we’ll never get a glimpse of because this is, after all, a fan film based on Futurama and not an actual episode of the show itself. As his monologue ends, the credits roll but I notice I’ve still got about 15 minutes left. The B story immediately flashes onto the screen, and episode of “Everyone Loves Hypnotoad” prefaced first by a word from the show’s sponsor, Farnsworth’s DeathClock. The commercial itself is hilarious featuring Sally the orphan, better known as the little girl with the ear on her forehead. This leads into the episode of Hypnotoad. The screen is filled with what may be the most realistic and accurate depiction of a Futurama character yet as the Hypnotoad sits in a white room glaring at us in his Hypnovision. I started watching it just to see if there would be anything weird or funny to come up. The odd thing was, it is actually sort of hypnotic and, before long what was meant as a short diversion had taken up ten minutes of my life. I literally watched it almost to the very end and, I’ve got to say, it was strangely peaceful. Some of the performances are wooden and the writing isn’t quite what you’d expect from an episode of Futurama. Even so, it’s got to be one of the best non-horror short films I’ve seen online in a long time and the sort of care and devotion given to this project by creator Dan Lanigan and his crew is stellar. The mix of practical effects and CGI made this both absolutely terrifying and completely amazing. If for no other reason than the highly realistic, stylized backgrounds and characters it’s well worth the half hour. The best part, however, may be the fact that it’s totally free to watch. Yeah, you heard me. FREE! So what are you waiting for? Take a look and see for yourself. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.