Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder Blu-ray review

This is the fourth in a series of DVD and Blu-ray feature length releases, and if the rumours are correct, it could be the last for a while.

Futurama's back...

Spoiler Alert!

It starts with a slightly different intro than normal: two brief scenes in deep, and not quite so deep, space (featuring a green glow), bring us into the main titles for the movie. The intro tune has changed to a Vegas-style swing number, and the story kicks off with the destruction of Mars Vegas.

Now, I could go into more details at this point, but I don’t really want to spoil it for the rest of our readers. In a nutshell, we have a “Green” themed storyline, laced with the usual Futurama irreverence. Within it, Bender falls in love with a married Fembot, Leela gets involved in a feminist environmental campaign to save a star – and becomes a fugitive, Fry gains telepathy and becomes the universe’s last hope and the whole thing ends with the crew being chased into a wormhole by the completely clueless Zapp Brannigan. This is all laced with a subplot that sees the resurrection of one ancient race (older than time), and an explanation of just who that man is that has a t-shirt with the number 9 on it.

It’s all typical Futurama stuff, and if you like the series then you will no doubt like the movie. The picture is good, the humour is decent and the sound is also quite impressive for a cartoon. Not the best outing to date, but at least better than average.

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The extras, although limited in their scope, are just fun enough to be worth looking at and will add to the whole experience. They include:

  • A picture–in–picture video commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, Patric M. Verrone and Peter Avanzino. This is quite interesting as is the audio equivalent, and is worth the time. There are quite a few interesting comments made on characters, storyline and animation.
  • An Audio Commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, Patric M. Verrone and Peter Avanzino – see above.
  • Storyboard Animatic: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1 (which covers the most of the first half of the movie in story board form with accompanying sound). This bored me after about 5 minutes, but I am sure there are some people that will find it interesting.
  • Matt Groening and David X. Cohen in Space, which is a feature describing just what happened when Matt and David went into a Zero G plane and just how much fun it was. Fairly interesting, but I feel this was padding.
  • The featurette: Docudramarama: “How We Make Futurama So Good”. This is quite a funny spoof that is obviously meant to parody the normal “making of” featurette that most DVDs of this type incorporate.
  • “Louder! Louder!” The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette. This is short, easy to watch and “NOT NEEDED”. Okay, so I suppose there are some that will find this interesting and there were a couple of chuckles in there.
  • Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes. This is the usual deleted scenes, and to be honest, some of them should have been in the movie – especially the extended version of the ship painting scene.
  • How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps. I thought this would bore me, but it didn’t. Although, bearing in mind the space on a Blu-ray disk, there could have been a better explanation of how some of the characters could be drawn.
  • 3D Models with Animator Discussion. I found this interesting, sadly enough, but it shows just how much of the movie uses 3D computer-generated models and how complex some of them are. I personally really like the wormhole one.
  • Zapp Brannigan’s Guide to Making Love at a Woman. Hilarious in many places, this is short and sweet. It made me wince in places, which is always good humour.
  • Click on 500 instead of the features section and you get a toilet roll animation of Bender drinking a foamy substance out of a glass. I know it’s childlike, but I found this strangely addictive.
  • Benders Theatre Etiquette. By theatre, they mean cinema, but either way, this is a completely pointless and predictable animation. Sorry – but it is.

So my conclusions are as follows. As a movie based on a popular animated series, this stands out quite well and I would rate it between three and four stars. As a movie in its own right I would rate it three stars. I would have rated the extras three stars as well, but the commentaries add a great deal to the movie, so I will give them a four.

Again, if you are a fan of the series then go ahead and get it. It kept my kids happy, which kept me happy. If you are not sure if it is worth investing in the Blu-ray additions, then get the DVD because the movie is still worth a look.

12 January 2009