Futurama returns for yet another go-round of direct-to-DVD action with the feature-length Into the Wild Green Yonder, an environmentally-skewed installment that finds our heroes battling against big-business, the robot mafia, and, ultimately, Earth's own government.
The film opens with the Planet Express team attending the destruction of old Mars Vegas in anticipation of the Wong family re-launch. While the rest of the crew find Leo Wong's absolute disregard for the planet's environment a hoot, Leela (Katey Sagal) is appalled, and soon finds herself in league with a bizarre feminist/environmental group in hopes of righting this particular Wong (ha..ha...ha...get it?). When Leela and her group accidentally kill the headless body of the vice president of Earth, Spiro Agnew, she finds herself a fugitive, but this only makes her more determined to stop Wong and his ilk's environmentally destructive behavior.
Meanwhile, in somewhat related side stories, Bender (John Di Maggio) runs afoul of a Robot Mafia Don when he romances said Don's wife, while Fry (Billy West) develops a sort of extra sensory perception thanks to a trinket that got lodged in his noggin' (courtesy of one of Leela's fellow feminists). Fry's new talent affords him with abilities that allow him to get inside Leo Wong's inner circle, where, with the help of a underground society of tinfoil-hat-wearing nutbags, Fry aids Leela's Feministas in their quest to stop Wong.
As with the previous batch of feature-length Futurama releases, Into the Wild Green Yonder is presented in such a way as to either be enjoyed as a full film or easily digested installments (for later airing on the Cartoon Network, I'm guessing), with the side stories (like the aforementioned Bender quagmire) usually resolving themselves within an episode's time, while the main story arc carries out over the length of the film. The results are a bit more hit or miss than, say, the excellent Bender's Game, but, overall, this entry is frequently hilarious, charming, and, as is the case with Futurama, as socially relevant as ever.
Once again, Futurama comes to Blu-ray sporting just an all-around fantastic transfer, with bright, bold colors, sharp and defined lines, and exceptional detail. Into the Wild Green Yonder, like the previous Blu-ray offering, Bender's Game, pops off of the screen with almost three-dimensional quality results.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack offers very robust bass, crisp and crystal clear highs, and truly immersive surround effects. Listen to the confrontation between Zack Brannigan's ship and the Pink (Feminista Modified) Planet Express for sound effects and mix quality that rival even the best Sci-fi offerings.
Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder comes loaded with extra goodies, with:
• Audio Commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche,
Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, Patric M. Verrone and Peter Avanzino
• Storyboard Animatic: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1
• Featurette: Matt Groening and David X. Cohen in Space!
• Docudramarama: “How We Make Futurama So Good”
• “Louder! Louder!”: The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette
• Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes
• How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps
• 3D Models with Animator Discussion
• Bender’s Movie Theater Etiquette
• Zapp Brannigan’s Guide to Making Love at a Woman
Also included (and exclusive to Blu-ray) a Picture – In – Picture commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, Patric M. Verrone and Peter Avanzino.
If you're a fan of the show, you've already got this on your short list, and you'll be happy to know that Fox and the folks behind Futurama continue to offer exceptional quality for a DTV product, both in terms of content and execution. A stunning transfer, excellent collection of supplemental goodness, and, most importantly, an entertaining feature, amount to Into the Wild Green Yonder being a must buy for Futurama fanatics! Great stuff!