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Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder DVD Review

February 24, 2009 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
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Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder DVD Review  

FUTURAMA: INTO THE WILD GREEN YONDER

The Movie

The gang of Futurama is back for what is, for now at least, the final animated DVD movie release. It’s been about 10 years since we were first introduced to the crew ragtag Galaxy Express crew who despite all the obstacles and ineptitude of Fox executives managed a resurrectiond due to fan support, DVD sales, and hey good ratings from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. Believe it or not, when audiences knew when Futurama was on, they were able to watch it. Something Fox never understood while they continued to beat the dead horse of The Simpsons.

Amy Wong’s (Lauren Tom) parents, Inez (Tom again) and Leo (Billy West), have decided to build their own version of Vegas on Mars and have no problem with destroying any of the endangered or local wildlife in their way. This of course angers the wannabe bleeding heart, Leela (Katey Segal), who decides to take up with the pink-camo wearing eco-feminists in order to bring down the empire of the Wongs. The group is led by yet another member of the extremist activist family, the Waterfalls – this time Frida (Phil Hendrie).

Fry (Billy West) has issues of his own. After a freak accident, Fry now has the power to read minds and stumbles on to a secret society who are trying to protect the fate of the universe from malevolent beings called “The Dark Ones.” And of course, Fry is the only one that save everything. Well that’s been there, done that for Fry. And then there’s that angry looking leech/parasite Leela can’t seem to part with. Oh and Bender (John DiMaggio) has decided to help President Nixon and Brannigan capture Leela. Hey, if Bender wasn’t so amoral, we wouldn’t love Bender for being Bender. Bender also has one of the most awesome bending moments in the history of Futurama.

Phil Hendrie a longtime God of talk radio gets a lot to do in this movie, playing several characters: Frida and Hutch Waterfall, and one which is a big surprise. Previously in Futurama, Hendrie played all the activist type members of the Waterfall family. After seeing Phil struggle for many years to try and break out of radio, it’s nice to see his character or rather group of characters come full circle with this movie. The Waterfalls actually play a significant role not just in this movie but in hindsight the entire mythology of Futurama as a whole.

The only drawback is, this movie just doesn’t quite transcend to the level of say the South Park movie. If this is supposed to be the last Futurama movie, it just feels like it could be a little bigger. Episode 72 of the series just felt a lot more significant and momentous. And what’s going on with Kif and Amy for that matter? The movie does give some resolution to the Fry and Leela relationship, but after all these years there’s this sense of, “so that’s it?” Still, there’s much fun and coolness to be had in this extended episode of one of the greatest animated shows of all time while The Simpsons has still been sucking for years.

The Rating: 8.0 out of 10.0

The Video

The movie is presented in widescreen format. Video and animation for the movie run smooth and fluid. There animation isn’t extremely above the usual quality from the series, but it still works fine.

The Rating: 8.0 out of 10.0

The Audio

English and Spanish 5.1 surround sound tracks are included on the DVD. Audio and sound quality sounds pristine and beautifully clear. The show’s score has definitely been spruced up a little for the release including a nice audio cameo by Seth McFarlane.

The Rating: 9.0 out of 10.0

The Extras

The single disc DVD release for Into The Wild Green Yonder comes with a nice amount of extras that will surely satisfy major Futurama and animation fans. There’s quite a few featurettes on the physical production and animation of the series that are all very quick, concise, and viewer friendly:

  • Audio Commentary
  • Storyboard Animatic
  • Behind The Scenes, Docudrama: How We Make Futurama So Good
  • Penn Jillette Mania
  • Cutting Room Floor – Deleted Scenes
  • Matt & David In Space
  • How To Draw Futurama
  • 3D Models With Animator Discussion
  • Bender In The Theatre
  • Zapp Brannigan’s Love Guide
  • Easter Egg

First is the feature Audio Commentary that boasts a huge panel including series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen; voice actors DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche (Kif, Donbot, and Klamps); and Patric Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinzki, and Peter Avanzino. This is a good, fun commentary, but there are almost too many people. It probably would’ve worked better if this was two commentaries split in half. Hearing DiMaggio and LaMarche talk about their characters is always cool.

The Behind The Scenes is a featurette that mocks and riffs on DVD featurettes. The gag is Lauren Tom is the main writer and only voice actor of the show. This was funny, and they didn’t make it longer than it needed to be.

Penn Jillette Mania is a two-minute short featurette showing Penn Jillette recording for the movie, playing himself. This does give a nice glimpse of what Futurama voice recording sessions are like. But hey, where was Penn’s sidekick, Teller?

Matt & David In Space features series executive producers and creators Groening and Cohen reflecting on their experience on a commercial jet that lets civilians test zero gravity. So Groening and Cohen don’t actually go into space. More like, they get to experience a little bit of what its like to go into space and the lack of gravity and what not.

How To Draw Futurama and the 3D Models featurettes focus on the physical animation production of the movie along with how the animators go from having blank paper to drawing the character designs from scratch. There’s a nice transitional presentation of the 3D model production. Futurama as a series has always mixed computer generated animation pretty well with the traditional hand-drawn style.

Zapp Brannigan’s Love Guide is exactly what it sounds like. Zapp and his tips on how to knock those sensual boots with the ladies. This is basically like a best of Zapp featurette. It’s fun, but ultimately adds little to the DVD.

Bender In Theatre is like a promo about what not to do in a movie theatre while Bender blatantly breaks the rules. Again like the Zapp feature, fun but ultimately a pointless extra. If this however led to like a theatrical Futurama teaser, it would’ve been brilliant.

Last but not least, if you scroll all the way down on the roulette wheel of the special features menu and highlight the 1,000 space with Amy on it, you can watch a toilet paper animation of Bender doing what he does best.

The Rating: 9.0 out of 10.0

The 411Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder doesn't play enough like it should be the best, most awesome, bittersweet, and poignant story for Futurama ever but as a finale it's pretty cool. The voice actors continue to bring the awesome with their characters, and if the show does come back again, when it does come time to finally end the saga of Futurama, they will find that glorious high note.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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