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Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
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All the other galaxies will be green with envy! In this all-new Futurama extravaganza, mankind stands on the brink of a wondrous new Green Age. But ancient forces of darkness, three years older than time itself, have returned to wreak destruction. Even more shocking: Bender's in love with a married fembot, and Leela's on the run from the law - Zapp Brannigan's law! Fry is the last hope of the universe... so if you're in the universe, you might want to think about going somewhere else. Could this be the end of the Planet Express crew forever? Say it ain't so, meatbag! Off we go, Into the Wild Green Yonder!
Matt Groening’s sci-fi adventure/comedy series Futurama comes to a typically absurd close with In the Wild Green Yonder, the fourth in a series of direct-to-DVD series that followed in the wake of the animated series’ cancellation in 2003. Yonder keeps in the kitchen-sink tradition of the show and features by cramming as many pop culture references as possible into its already convoluted plotline, from cameos by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane and Snoop Dogg to riffs on eco-terrorism, The View and television poker tournaments. All are interwoven into the feature’s main storylines, which concern Fry’s sudden ability to read minds, a massive, environmentally unfriendly rebuild of Mars Vegas by Amy’s parents, and Leela’s admission into a group of radical eco-minded protestors who aim to bring that project to a halt. And if that’s not enough, there’s a threat to the universe as a whole from the Dark Ones, and the summation of various character arcs, including the long-simmering relationship between Fry and Leela. Obviously, In the Wild Green Yonder isn’t the place to start for first-time Futurama visitors; its immense cast of characters--which in one scene, swell to over 250 from the show’s entire network run and all of the features--and elaborate (if ridiculous) mythology will most likely leave most newcomers scratching their heads. Longtime fans, however, will appreciate the return of so many favorite personalities, including Zapp Brannigan and the mysterious No. 9, as well as the wrap-up of sorts provided by the conclusion (although, in typical fashion, it leaves room for a series return or another feature). The humor is spotty in places--Bender’s Big Game remains the best blend of comedy and storyline of the four features--but there are enough laughs to keep die-hards happy. The wealth of special features should accomplish that goal as well; the audio commentary by Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and members of the cast and production team is lively and full of anecdotes, while making-of featurettes provide a tour of the Futurama production offices, a gander at guest star Penn Jillette recording his cameo, and tips on drawing various characters. The most offbeat and amusing extras are faux PSAs from Bender and Zapp Brannigan (on movie theater etiquette and romance, respectively), and the producers’ field trip to a zero gravity simulator. --Paul Gaita
Stills from Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
*Uhhh...where to start? There's just a whole bunch of stuff going on; some green chi sweeps across the galaxy, giving new life to dead asteroids and planets; the Wongs trample all life in their way to build a new Las-Vegas-type city on Mars and the galaxy's biggest mini-golf course; and then a group of feminist activists try to stop them; and then Bender has an affair with the wife of the robot mafia's "donbot"; Fry starts to hear voices; and then everything kind-of works out in the end...
The Good News, Everyone!
*Superb video/sound quality. It is practically perfect on Blu-Ray; the details are sharp, clear, vivid. The color is great and the picture has no defects that I can see. I'm sure that the regular DVD is splendid too.
*Includes some good special features; commentaries, animatics, featurettes, and deleted scenes.
*Excellent animation quality.
*Has some great hilarious dialogue and funny scenes (without relying too heavily on catch phrases or old gags). Also has plenty of action.
*A few funny parodies throughout.
*One or two funny puns.
*Also makes good fun of modern-day issues, particularly concerning environmentalism.
*A few of nostalgic homages to older Futurama episodes (expect to see some familiar characters and references). Everything is accurate to what the show was.
*Characters are still great and funny.
The Bad Things
*Probably not for kids; contains one or two scenes with blood, a bit of swearing, and some innuendo.
The Questionable Things
*The story is kind of weird. It starts off in one direction, but totally ends up in a different way. I suppose all of these movies have been this way, but in this case, it seemed particularly strange.
*I found the ending somewhat satisfying; it ties up the characters in an okay fashion and leaves everything open for more stories (this ending actually reminded me of other sci-fi endings, like the "Lost in Space" movie). It may disappoint other viewers though.
This is one final hurrah for fans of the show. It's not great in the same way "Bender's Big Score" or "Bender's Game" was, but I would say that this is still better than "The Beast With a Billion Backs." The disc has great quality and many extras, and would recommend it to any Futurama fan.
While the weekly series had occasional 'save the universe' stories the direct to DVD movie format has had 4 of them in a row. So there is a bit of event fatigue here.
They story is fun, the jokes sometimes clever, sometimes tired and the animation as good as ever. But it all feels like we've been here before, recently, four times.
But it's Futurama, the geek's Simpsons' and if you like the show pick it up to say farewell.
EDIT - Apparently Futurama has been renewed for 13 more episodes!
Great show, great extras, I really hope they keep making them like this. When I think back to a lot of other 30-minute TV shows that tried to make something feature length, it generally just falls flat (coughsimpsonscough) but the Futurama writers know their stuff and all of these post-network releases have been awesome. I will gladly pay-to-play for as long as they keep making them.
Although I have to say, I'd also like to see them try something like this: Drop the extras, go back to a 30 minute format and release the episodes straight to Amazon Unbox or iTunes for a couple bucks per episode and see how that sells. I would eat something like that UP. You could still collect them and release them in DVD format with commentary later on but I could really go for some more frequent Futurama.
I like it either way, I'm just sayin', there are other ways to get my money if the feature-length idea ever loses steam.
(Edit: Oh, I have to say I was kind of disappointed when they had literally the entire cast for every audio commentary on every Fururama DVD EXCEPT Lauren Tom (Amy). She's always missing from the extras/commentary. In this DVD, there is an entire extra feature that consists of just her. We find out that she is, in fact, responsible for the entire creation of the show... er, sort of.)
When I received this item the DVD case was wrinkled and damaged, but luckily the disc inside wasn't damaged and worked fine when I tested it in my DVD player. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU TEST OUT THE DISC AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
The only reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 2 is because I like Futurama. Very poor design.
This is the 4th, and final, full length movie made during the time frame after Futurama was originally cancelled but before it was revived on Comedy Central.
There are some connections between the series and the other movies, but you can watch it individually and enjoy it. It might take a little while to get to know the characters, but even if you are not familiar with the characters, the jokes are still really good.
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