An epic adventure that feels uncomfortably imbalanced and te
speedracer | 02/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Into The Wild Green Yonder is the fourth and final installment in the series of direct-to-video Futurama movies, all of which are scheduled to be cut up into quarters and be broadcast as a "fifth season" on TV. While it's a decent enough episode in its own right and provides an poignant conclusion to the series, it demonstrates the difficulties (not insurmountable, but significant) in adapting Futurama's blend of witty satire, sci-fi action and character development to a feature film.
The first quarter of the movie shows our heroes enjoying a vacation in the New Mars Vegas, recently developed by Amy Wong's wealthy parents. The whole chapter is lighthearted, enjoyable and plants two seeds of the main plot -- Fry gets injured in an accident and gains telepathic powers, while Leela becomes upset at the extent to which the construction is destroying the environment. From here, the main story arcs develop: Leela joins an eco-feminist collective devoted to saving a violet dwarf star and planet and becomes a fugitive; Fry joins a secret society and learns that that the violet dwarf system is a key element in a cosmic struggle for the fate of all biological life in the universe; Bender teams up with Zapp Brannigan and initiates a crucial plot twist. The final scenes tie up a long-running thread in the Futurama saga and provide a touching (yet not excessively sentimental) conclusion to the Futurama series while leaving open the possibility of future adventures.
The massive, epic nature of the movie (a consequence of the feature-length format, as well as the writers' desire to go out with a bang) is responsible both for the strengths and the weaknesses of the episode. On the one hand, the characterization throughout the movie is very strong. Placed in stressful, completely unfamiliar circumstances, our heroes act in ways that are true to themselves for the most part without being overly predictable or coming off as caricatures of themselves. The artistry is impressive as well -- many of the shots of outer space are breathtaking, the opening Sinatra-themed number is a hit, and alert viewers will recognize the return of some of the moving musical themes from a previous movie. The writers and creative staff manage to take an epic adventure and make it connect with the viewer on a personal level.
On the other hand, the sci-fi content of the movie is sloppy and heavy-handed, with little of the nuance and subtlety of Futurama's previous ecologically-minded episodes. In addition, the satirical wit and goofiness that is the hallmark of the Futurama franchise gradually peters out about halfway through the movie -- the jokes don't disappear as such, but most of them are exhausted running jibes, while the genuinely clever lines and gags are unable to lighten the mood of the episode, making portions of the film feel tense and grim. It's clear that Futurama can become imbalanced when forced to adapt to the more massive, slower-developing story arcs of a feature-length film.
While this movie is certainly a mandatory purchase for devoted Futurama fans, who will appreciate the positive elements of this movie and be willing to leave the rest behind, novices are advised to start with the original series (or perhaps Bender's Big Score) before delving into the rest of the movies. As for the future of Futurama, the writers still seem to be capable of producing fresh ideas, and the events of Into The Wild Green Yonder leave several issues open as fodder for future releases (Twentieth Century Fox has just confirmed that Comedy Central has ordered 26 new episodes, to begin airing in 2010). Despite the unevenness of the movies, there's plenty of reason for optimism."
Of the four "Futurama" films on DVD and Blu-ray, I really en
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 02/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Prepare yourself for another hilarious film in the "Futurama" universe!
The crew of Planet Express are in another hilarious adventure as the crew takes a look at New Mars Vegas and learn more about Leo Wong's goal of creating another golf course. Of course, by doing so, he's destroying any natural vegetation that still exists, as well as exterminating living life that reside on the planet's underground system which prompts a group of Eco-Feminists who protest Wong's golf constructions.
And to make things more interesting, Wong wants to take his passion for golf to the Milky Way and like he has done in New Mars Vegas, he will do to the Milky Way and destroy things to get this way.
Due to Wong's actions, this causes Turanga Leela, Amy Wong and LeBarbara Conrad to join the Eco-feminist protesters and lead them on crusades against Wong.
As for Philip, he somehow gains a power of reading minds that leads him to a crazy group of people known as the Legion of Mad Fellows who believe that Fry's new talents is a gift to save the universe.
And as for Bender, let's just say he finds some mad love with a fembot who happens to be the wife of a Donbot in the mafia.
Expect a lot of outrageous hijinks, all-out fun and crazy adventures as the crew of Planet Express are pit against each other.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
With this animated film created digitally, for fans of "Futurama" and those who enjoy the style of animation by Matt Groenig, you will see how colorful and clear the animation looks on Blu-ray. Featured in widescreen 1:78:1, you get a good balance of digital and 3D-based artwork. Some parts that are quite vibrant and overall good uses of color throughout the film.
As for the audio, audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD and there were good uses of rear speaker usage during scenes that involve action-based scenes to parts that include a lot of people and you can hear crowds on the rear speakers.
There are a good number of special features included on "Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder" and included inside the case are four "Futurama" postcards. Special features included on the Blu-ray Disc are:
* AUDIO/VIDEO COMMENTARY - There is an optional audio or audio + video commentary on Blu-ray. The video commentary features a Picture-in-Picture (available on BonusView Enabled Players) while watching the film and watching Matt Groenig, David X. Chohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Patric M. Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski and Peter Avanzino together. The audio commentary is quite informative and hilarious as the group is like watching a group of guys having fun, cracking jokes but also talking about certain parts of the film.
* STORYBOARD ANIMATIC: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1 - Featuring how storyboards were utilized for this film.
* DOCUDRAMARAMA: How We Make Futurama So Good - An interesting behind-the-scenes feature of how "FUTURAMA" is created and learning how Lauren Tom does all the voices, all the special effects and storyboards.
* "LOUDER, LOUDER!": The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette - A short segment of Penn Jillette doing his scene for the film.
* GOLDEN STINKERS: A treasure of Deleted Scenes - Scenes that were not included in the final cut of the film. Instead of full animation, some the deleted scenes are in storyboards.
* MATT GROENIG AND DAVID X. COHEN IN SPACE! - A video featuring both Groenig and Cohen taking part in a weightless flight ala Zero-G.
* HOW TO DRAW FUTURAMA IN 10 VERY DIFFICULT STEPS - Featuring a few of the crew drawing several of the characters featured in "FUTURAMA" and some tips and advice by those who draw the characters.
* 3-D MODELS with Animator Discussion - Animators discussing how the vehicles and the meteor were created in 3D and what changes they went through during the process of creating them.
* BENDER'S MOVIE THEATER ETIQUETTE - A short segment featuring Bender at the movie theaters and learning about movie theater etiquette such as do not provoke people by throwing popcorn at them or else they may shoot you with lasers and destroy the movie theater.
* ZAPP BRANNIGAN'S GUIDE TO MAKING LOVE AT A WOMAN - Brannigan shows us how women with one eye and women with two eyes must be treated differently if you are trying to romance them.
I also discovered two Easter Eggs so far on the Blu-ray. Here is a way to access them:
Select 500 - Get a toilet paper Bender animation
At the main menu on the roulette table, hit left with your remote and the center of the roulette table will be selectable. You will find a "Congratulations - You have found a very obscure Futurama DVD Extra" which is Billy West voice acting as Zapp Brannigan.
"Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder" is another hilarious and enjoyable "FUTURAMA" film. I think it's also pretty good timing for a Blu-ray release since there have been no television episodes currently in production but the films on DVD and Blu-ray, fans can still look forward to the characters. And sales for "Futurama" on DVD have been quite positive.
"Into the Wild Green Yonder" definitely was enjoyable to watch on Blu-ray. Picture and audio quality was quite good and there are many special features included, so this release was definitely worthwhile.
The fourth Futurama film is a hilarious take on women's independence, ecology, corporate greed, taking care of endangered species, robot love and more. Definitely incorporates the wackiness that one expects from the television series and previous films. All-out fun!
I've read that the goal for four films of "Futurama" was that they would be split up into sixteen episodes for a fifth season on television. But in a recent interview with Wired, head writer David X. Cohen would not rule out more additional films straight-to-DVD or a theatrical release.
Personally, I think there is much life left in this series especially for the way this film ends. The adventures of Planet Express crew definitely has more exciting potential for more outlandish adventures and much more possibilities for more hilarious, fresh and crazy storylines may it be for television, the Internet or straight-to-DVD or theatrical film!
Nevertheless, every character has their own contribution to the wackiness of this film. And I have to say that of the four "Futurama" films released so far, this is by far my favorite.
"Futurama" fans will definitely find enjoyment in this Blu-ray Disc release."
A Fun and lets hope not finale to the great show.
Gareth Mc Bride | Lynnwood, WA United States | 02/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The fourth (and lets hope not final) of the planned straight to DVD Futurama movies, "Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder" has arrived and continues the winning formula of the television series and three previous films as well as ties things up nicely should this be the final outing for the Planet Express crew.
The film opens with a new take on the traditional opening and we are treated to the scenic Mars Vegas complete with futuristic interpretations of the class Las Vegas hotels. As the film opens, Mars Vegas is being destroyed to make way for a new and even better Mars Vegas. This does not sit well with Amy (Lauren Tom) as her father is the one behind all of this, and when she learns that he plans to eliminate portions of a solar system to make the universes biggest miniature golf course, she decides to join a militant feminist group with Leela (Katey Sagal).
As this is happening Fry (Billy West), learns that he has the power to read minds and is recruited by a secret organization who inform him of a great evil that is loose in the galaxy and that he will be the key to preserving the universe.
Bender (John Di Maggio), as usual is happy to drink and griftt his way through life, that is until a affair with a local crime figures wife provides him with some danger and distraction.
When a planned protest goes horribly wrong, Leela and Amy end up as fugitives and are doggedly pursued by Captain Zapp Brannigan as they race against the clock to save the creatures of the solar system from Leo Wong's planned construction.
The film is as usual, loaded with laughs and plenty of pop culture gags. Snoop Dogg and Penn Jilette make cameo appearances as do many of the characters from the series.
With sharp picture and sound, this is a very enjoyable new adventure for fans and should add demand for future adventures in the series and provide great viewing enjoyment.
There are loads of extras which include deleted scenes, commentaries, as well as deleted scenes.
4 stars out of 5
Pecos Bill | Gaithersburg, MD United States | 05/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I'd gotten this on Blu-Ray. I simply didn't think about it when I ordered it. Blu-Ray has video commentary, which would have been fun. The regular DVD has the same commentary, but audio-only, played on top of the movie as a language selection.
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.)