Different television series have come and gone in the past months, years, and decades making for a lot of unhappy people. They hate to watch their favorite shows end up in cancellation hell which forces them to live without new episodes ever again. Every now and again you may get a made-for-TV or a direct-to-DVD film that’s done for the sake of nostalgia. And sometimes act a continuation of the now-cancelled series, or it has nothing in common with its predecessor. Futurama is a tad different because here we had an animated series that gave us a lot of seasons full of oddities and just overall weirdness. Then we had a few full-length films on DVD that kept the story going and now we get the ending? Call me crazy but I don’t think it’s over.
Moving on from the last Futurama film, entitled Bender’s Game, Into the Wild Green Yonder is around to poke as much fun as it can at the “go green” motto that the world seemingly has taken on. Starting out we have Fry who receives some kind of psychic power as New Mars Vegas is under construction for the world to enjoy. His new found power is going to be put to his full advantage as he enters into a poker tournament that will pay the winner one million dollars (WPT anyone?). At the same time Fry is trying to win his cash, Bender is having a grand time seducing the girlfriend of a very naive crime robot boss, Don-Bot. Bender joins the poker tournament so that he can win enough money to support his new love but little does he realize that not only is his life in danger but the existence of everyone else as well. This is part of the reason our one-eyed beauty Leela joins up with a feminist group that soon has a new enemy threatening them all.
The story seems rather shallow in order to fill out the entire length of a feature film, but they manage to stretch it out enough a full hour and a half. There are plenty of laughs and a lot of your most favorite jokes will be told here and then some, but it’s just…I mean it isn’t…but there isn’t…its missing something ok? I can’t quite put my finger on it and finding out exactly what that element is eludes me for some reason. Odd as it may seem, but Into the Wild Green Yonder almost seems stale at times and like they didn’t want to go all out for this “ending” of the Futurama series. That makes me, and has to make any fan, wonder why that is. You figure that seeing the end of your beloved series that has been around for so long would want to make the creators just put it all on the table and use every possible joke you have remaining in their heads. But no we get things we’ve seen before with a tad bit of boredom thrown in.
Mind-boggling I tell you.
Like most episodes and the other films, there are a lot more storyline than what’s discussed above, and they include just about every character you’ve come to know and love. The sad part is that the last third of the film is when the filmmakers tried to throw all their last rites in and it ends up a bit jumbled. I can’t really speak against the film too much because my love of Futurama won’t allow me too and I fear what Nibbler might do to me. Yet Into the Wild Blue Yonder almost went out of its way to make me a tad disappointed and yearning for more, but maybe it was just the creators being their normal mean selves and wanting us all to beg for something that will never come.
Into the Wild Green Yonder is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and everything looks pretty good. Besides some touch-ups and brightness added to the colors; there’s really not that all around much different from watching the episodes on television.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and while is also sounds pretty good; there’s not too much different from watching a rerun or two on basic cable.
Audio Commentary – Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Patric M. Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, and Peter Avanzino form the large group sitting together for the commentary track.
Video Commentary – same as the audio commentary but now we see the participants.
Storyboard Animatic – Check out different drawings and commentaries for the first portion of the film before they became a finished product. These are pretty fun for more then just the rough drawings and more so for the commentaries thrown in from different members of the cast and crew. Good stuff. (22:25)
Docudramarama – This is a very quick look at the place where all things Futurama are done including the artistry, the idea-making, and even the voice acting. It’s really candid and good but far too short. (5:10)
“Louder, Louder!” – Inside the voice-acting of Penn Jillette. Nothing more to see here. (2:08)
Golden Stinkers – A collection of five deleted and alternate scenes for the film which could have been left in the film because they wouldn’t have altered or really changed much of anything. (2:52)
Matt Groening And David X. Cohen In Space – Now here is something I really want to do because Groening and Cohen make it look so damn fun. They actually went to a place called “Peter Diamonds’ Zero G Weightless Experience” which allows paying customers the chance to experience what the astronauts do. It is just awesome and I want to do it now. (4:24)
How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps – Some of the artists sit down and teach us all how to draw Nibbler, Fry, Hypno-Toad, and Professor Farnsworth. It may bore some people that don’t give a damn about being artistic, but it’s still a pretty good feature that will make anyone believe they can be an artist. Trust me though that those without artistic ability will still be shocked when their drawing of Fry looks more like Bender. It’s not easy people! (11:10)
3-D Models – Members of the artistic team provide commentary for some of the actual models used to create the characters and sets in the film. Good stuff but again to short. (4:20)
Bender’s Movie Theatre Etiquette – Witness this Public Service Announcement with your favorite robot as he teaches us what to do and not to do in a theatre. (1:17)
Zapp Brannigan’s Guide To Making Love At A Woman – This is another PSA with different clips from the series including the Captain Of Love as he teaches us all how to treat the opposite sex. (2:49)
Perhaps it is because I’ve seen every single episode in the series and the other feature films, but this so-called conclusion just seemed to miss its mark a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really funny and is a pretty good story leading us to the final moment of Futurama if it truly is just that…but it just seemed to have one element here or there that didn’t quite feel as good as Futurama should. I enjoyed the film itself and am sad if this is truly the end of it all, but just don’t feel like it’s over. Oh well. The special features are pretty damn good and give a lot of extra stuff that you don’t usually see with an animated film that doesn’t come under the title of Disney. This is a Blu-ray that is well worth picking up especially if you’re a fan of the show. But even casual watchers will want to check this out and enjoy what could be the last futuristic bending pizza-delivering Zoidberg ever.
20th Century Fox presents Futurama Into The Wild Green Yonder. Directed by: Peter Avanzino. Starring (voices): Billy West, Katey Sagal, Phil LaMarr, Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio, and more. Written by: Matt Groening. Running time: 89 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: February 24, 2009. Available at Amazon.com