Mountaineer George Mallory famously said he was driven to climb Mount Everest “because it’s there.” That same intrepid spirit drove Futurama fan Dan Lanigan to spend years creating a full-length, live-action episode of the beloved cartoon, complete with some truly awesome special effects. The full movie came out over the holiday and, well, it’s a lot to take in.
It’s important to note that Fan-O-Rama is completely unauthorized, and taking the twice-canceled cartoon from its futuristic galaxy to the uncanny valley was entirely a labor of love, as Lanigan explained to Inverse at Comic-Con back in July, and it shows. The special effects, which were done mostly with prosthetics, puppetry, and miniatures, are slightly unsettling and cartoony, but extremely well-done.
The half-hour running time of the film is padded with a solid chunk of uninterrupted Hypnotoad footage at the end, but the main plot runs almost the length of a typical Futurama episode, minus commercials. The story is good and funny enough to pass for an average episode of Futurama, which is saying something, and deals with the Planet Express crew’s botched doomsday device delivery. Everyone in the main cast of the cartoon makes a live-action appearance (Zoidberg is especially, uh, detailed), and there are cameos from minor favorites too. It’s a very fully realized world, and you’d be right to be dumbfounded that Lanigan and his friends actually pulled it all off as well as they did.
Really, the worst thing that can be said about the short is that the actors don’t quite nail the characters’ voices, but it’s not a major distraction. It’s not a knock on Fan-O-Rama so much as it just shows how great and talented Billy West and John DiMaggio are.
Watch the full film below.
Oh, and ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.