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Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder(2009)
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!
For more about Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder and the Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray release, see Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 25, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr
» See full cast & crew
Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray Review
Established "Futurama" fans are sure to enjoy this latest feature-length release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 25, 2009
There's no scientific consensus that life is important.
Following on the heels of last year's Blu-ray release of Futurama: Bender's Game, Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder arrives on Blu-ray, the fourth of a planned quartet of direct-to-home-video releases centered on Matt Groening's (The Simpsons: The Movie) hit FOX animated television program, "Futurama." Sharing similar animation styles to the long-running "The Simpsons," "Futurama" is set in a future state where robots walk and talk, a purple-haired female cyclops roams about, alien creatures live among man, and pop culture and historical references and figures somehow find a way to become entwined with the motley crew of characters that inhabit the future world. Into the Wild Green Yonder continues in the tradition of the show's off-the-wall, quirky sense of humor, building a feature-length plot around the issues of environmentalism, feminism, and the work of the corporate world, returning all of the series' favorite characters for yet another adventure, this one taking them into the furthest reaches of space.
In the future, Earth no longer confines man or his desire to do things bigger and better than ever before. The entire galaxy is now a corporate playground upon which may be built the latest in first-class entertainment. The latest off-world excursions take businessman Leo Wong (Billy West) to Mars to build a new Sin City, even bigger and better than the one already there. He's plagued by a crowd of environmental feminists bent on saving every last creature and preserving natural habitats, including that of a rare leach that takes a liking to the one-eyed Leela (Katey Sagal). Meanwhile, Bender (John Di Maggio) begins an affair with the wife of the head of the robot mafia, Donbot, and Fry (West) comes to understand his unique mind reading abilities. The story comes to a head when Leo Wong decides to turn the entire galaxy into one big miniature golf course, destroying the Violet Dwarf System in the process, a system that may be home to a plethora of new species as well as some old favorites. Leela takes up the cause against Wong while Fry must embrace his destiny all the while dealing with his feeling for Leela.
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder no doubt will be a smash hit with the show's established fan base, but how will newcomers experiencing their first taste of "Futurama" react? Thankfully, this film pulls off nicely what any film based on a long-running television series needs to do: develop and introduce its primary characters all over again so as to allow those with minimal to no exposure to them to become easily acquainted while not leaving the longtime fans with a sense of déja vu. The arduous task of cramming several seasons worth of character development into the opening act of a feature-length film is a daunting task, but the scriptwriters have succeeded here, with the primary characters, anyway. While it may take the uninitiated a third of the film or better to figure out who everyone is, their relationships with one another, their temperaments, character traits, strengths, and weaknesses, it does well to establish the trio of primaries sufficiently and succinctly in the context of the plot, and does so, seemingly, without alienating the faithful audience that should find in the film a series of events that build on what they already know about their favorite characters, particularly Bender, Fry, and Leela.
Where Into the Wild Green Yonder doesn't work quite as well as it may have is in its messy plot and haphazard pacing. It becomes rather involved and heavy, cramming a lot of information, pop culture references, historical figures, and a plethora of extra characters into its sub-90 minute runtime that will overwhelm newcomers trying to sort out the finer details of both the plot and the side characters. While the film admirably develops its primaries, the secondary and tertiary characters become nothing more than extra characters that don't seem to be all that integral to the plot. At best, they are "that guy" that does this or "that girl" that does that. The film also seems to introduce and forget characters at its leisure with no rhyme or reason -- the "Donbot" and his robotic wife, Fanny, prime examples. Into the Wild Green Yonder also attempts to poke fun at just about everyone and everything, much the same way "South Park" does, but with less of the wit and ease with which Matt Stone and Trey Parker's classic animated series chews up and spits out anything and everything in its path, that show the ultimate in satirizing whatever subject that finds its way into its sights. Into the Wild Green Yonder isn't poorly written, quite the opposite in fact, but it never quite reaches the same level as the work of Stone and Parker or Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill," Office Space, Idicoracy). The humor is hit-or-miss in the context of the plot in its take on feminism, environmentalism, and the corporate world and their "carbon footprints" left scattered about the galaxy.
Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray, Video Quality
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder turns Blu with envy over the quality of the pristine 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. Colors are vibrant, rich, and accurate, with seemingly the entire spectrum making an appearance on the disc. Lines are sharp and well-defined. There are no apparent problems to be seen, including banding. The image maintains a crispness that allows for full enjoyment of the programming; the 1080p resolution brings out the finest details of the animation. Backgrounds are nicely rendered and clear. "Futurama" has doubtlessly never looked better, and fans will be tickled to see their favorite characters and the worlds they inhabit looking as stunning as they do here.
Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder sports a robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that compliments the pristine visuals nicely. This soundtrack is immersive and packs every speaker with future-centric sonic goodness. The voices Fry hears in his head flow from every speaker, creating a sense of panic and disillusion at the odd sensation. Likewise, sounds pan nicely across the soundstage, taking advantage of every speaker to immerse the listener in the action. Voices also occasionally reverberate throughout the soundstage to nice effect when called upon to do so. Dialogue reproduction is strong. Bass is used to fine effect, with the subwoofer rattling on more than a few occasions; explosions and weapons fire thump with authority, and the roaring of jet engines across the screen or the slow movement of a rumbling starship through space pack plenty of power. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder represents another fantastic soundtrack from Fox.
Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder arrives on Blu-ray with a large helping of bonus materials. A feature-length audio/video commentary track with Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice Lamarche, Patric W. Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, and Peter Avanzino is first. The track, obviously, features a hodgepodge of the creative talent that brought the film to life, both major crew and voice actors. The track is available as a traditional audio commentary track as well as a picture-in-picture track where the participants appear via video in a small box on the lower right-hand corner of the screen. They share a wealth of information pertaining to the making of the film, discussing the techniques of creating some of the animation, some of the themes and satire scattered about the film, the filmmakers' desire to make more "Futurama" programs in the future, and more. Fans will enjoy this track a great deal.
Storyboard Animatic: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1(480p, 22:26) is a series of storyboards representing approximately the first third of the film, complete with voice work and sound effects. Docudramarama: How We Make 'Futurama' So Good (1080p, 5:09) is a mock mini-documentary from the people that make "DVD Bonus Features That No One Bothers to Watch." The piece takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the scriptwriting, voice work, and more, showcasing the extra-hard work of Lauren Tom. 'Louder, Louder!' The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette (1080p, 2:08) takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the man behind the voice. Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes (1080p, 2:52) is a collection of five excised scenes from the film. Matt Gorening and David X. Cohen in Space! (480p, 4:23) looks at a real-life journey into weightlessness. How to Draw 'Futurama' in 10 Very Difficult Steps (1080p, 11:10) shows budding artists how to draw several of their favorite "Futurama" characters. 3D Models With Animator Discussion (1080p, 4:19) looks at the 3D computer modeling that helped the artists construct the film. Bender's Movie-Theater Etiquette (1080p, 1:16) features the robot being a less-than-considerate movie theater patron. Finally, Zapp Brannigan's Guide to Making Love at a Woman (1080p, 2:49) features the character sharing his romantic tips. Aside from the on-disc supplements, four "Futurama"-themed postcards are included in the Blu-ray case.
Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
While Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder is likely to please the show's longtime fans, newcomers will be better served to pass on the film altogether until they may establish a firmer foundation with the show's characters and sense of humor. It works fairly well for the uninitiated, but no doubt there are plenty of subtleties and context clues that serve as the glue to tie it all together that just won't click with the average viewer experiencing the world of "Futurama" for the first or maybe even second time after the Blu-ray release of Bender's Game. Nevertheless, it offers plenty of laughs and does well to establish its primary characters, and not all will be lost on those with a less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of the show on which the film is based. 20th Century Fox's Blu-ray release of Into the Wild Green Yonder is another first-class effort from the studio. The animation as presented here is flawless, the lossless audio track is a cut above, and there are plenty of supplements to dig through. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder comes easily recommended for fans of the show. However, newcomers may be best served to rent or buy the television seasons on DVD, wait for a Blu-ray release, or catch them on television before committing to more than a rental for this disc.
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