Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder (2/24)

Welcome to another Saturday edition of the blog DVD reviews! Today we take a look at 20th Century Fox's Futurama - Bender's Game. Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder is the fourth (and final) movie featuring the hit animated series...and we have reviewed them all. See Seth Thrasher's blog DVD review of Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder :

Good news, everyone! Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder (20th Century Fox, $29.98) is coming out on DVD this Tuesday. This feature marks the final installment (of four) in the Futurama direct-to-DVD movie franchise serves as the initial revival of the 1999-2003 Fox animated series. And while currently it is the end of Futurama, it may not stay that way for long. A recent interview conducted with Billy West (the voice of quite a few characters on the show, including Fry, the Professor, and Zapp Branigan) suggests that Futurama may ultimately wind up with a full-season order, either on Fox or Comedy Central. For those of you familiar with the show, I ask a simple question: How much of this introductory paragraph have you read in your head using Professor Farnsworth's voice after I started off the review with his signature warning? Neat trick, huh?
The fourth and final diverges from the parody/send-up format used by the previous movie, in favor of a fairly linear story -- albeit one broken up neatly into four plot sub-arcs, for the purposes of reruns. The episode starts with the groundbreaking of a casino, and from there snowballs into a story of golfing, protests, tinfoil hats, a prison break, and of course Bender. And while I won't spoil the ending or any major plot details, the ending is such that it works well as EITHER a season or series finale. The end result of this movie is 89 minutes of program viewing captivating enough that you'll think you were experiencing the broadcasting bliss of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad. All Glory to the Hypnotoad!
Packaging and disc artwork were not given to us, but as soon we get that (if we DO)...we will edit that in.
This is the first presentation of the feature and obviously I can't compare it to previous television broadcasts. The colors have a neat way of popping at you with the new animation styles that older stuff simply can't compare. These 4 movies were "drawn" (via digital animation) with HD broadcasts in the future a distinct possibility. HD animation allows for a greater color palette to be used -- resulting in more vibrant colors. This difference was on display just this past weekend with Futurama's sister series The Simpsons, which began airing in HD last Sunday. Until the day we have technology to immerse us in the programs themselves, you're not going to find audio better than this. Today's audio technologies allow for some neat little tricks. Chapter stops are plentiful as there is a scene selection option in the wonderfully animated menus.
The special features burst out of this set. The features are selectable from a giant prize wheel (think a vertical version of the Wheel of Fortune wheel). First is commentary with Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Patric M. Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, and Peter Avanzino. I should probably recognize all those names, but I really trail off after Maurice LaMarche. He's the last one on the list I actually recognize. Sorry to the last four in the list -- then again I've been known not to recognize people I've known for decades, so don't feel left out. For fans of animatics out there (the rough sketches of the episode that get used for storyboards), the first part of the episode is included in animatic form (22:25). In the next segment, we're humorously shown a how Futurama is made through the blood, sweat, and tears of Lauren Tom (5:10). Next is a quickie on Penn Jillette -- who voices himself in a poker tournament scene (2:08). There is 2:52 worth of "Golden Stinkers" -- deleted scenes included. After that, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen go into space...they take a trip in one of those private Zero G places and take a camera with them (4:24)! Afterward, you learn to draw the Professor, Nibbler, the Hypnotoad, and Fry - all in 10-ish VERY difficult steps each (11:10). Afterwards is a 4:20 long tour of 3-D models used in the space scenes. Bender then next provides some tips on movie theater etiquette that only Bender can in an animation style eerily evocative of another of my favorites, The Critic (1:17). Finally (but not finally) is a guide by Zapp Branigan on making love to a woman 2:49. There IS an Easter Egg -- you just have to find it. Per my own personal policy, I'm not saying what it is or how to find it.
It seems to be the "in" thing to do these days to say that the Futurama DVD movies aren't as good as the series. I think that the sentiment expressed there is based on a misguided notion of the series as it was. Four years of cancelation and mourning led to people thinking the series was 22 minutes of awesomeness injected directly into the bloodstream once a week. Futurama was a great show, but it's not that. The four movies all represent different aspects of Futurama's storytelling character, and this one represents a great story and has the elements of a great character episode, particularly for Fry. I personally found Bender's Big Score to be the best of the four, but that's my own personal taste. I highly recommend *this* movie though to all fans of the show, and to people who just want to see Fox have to turn around and resurrect a second animated series due to high DVD sales volumes (see Family Guy). Highly Recommended.
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Futurama TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, July 17

The Middle - "Bat Out of Heck" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Frankie is surprised but relieved when Dr. Goodwin (Jack McBrayer) agrees to buy all of the peanut brittle that Brick needs to sell for school. But the good doctor displays a bit of Mr. Hyde behavior when Frankie doesn’t deliver the product in an expeditious manner. Meanwhile, Axl is getting sick and tired of having Mike tell him how to run his life; and things go off the rails when Axl attempts to trade in the Winnebago and buy a car. Sue is more determined than ever to win a very prestigious and competitive hotel scholarship; and Frankie swears that she’s seeing something mysterious flying through the house.

The Middle - "Great Heckspectations" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Frankie has to force Brick into asking Cindy to the high school prom but worries that his quirkiness could spoil the happy event; Lexie talks a clueless Axl into giving Sue a belated 21st birthday present; and Mike becomes frustrated over how to get used to a new TV remote.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

black-ish - "Elder. Scam." (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Ruby gets scammed and Dre begins to suspect that she isn’t as sharp as she used to be, particularly because she was the one who used to scam other people. Zoey’s friend Aaron visits and Diane develops an instant crush on him.

Younger - "Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Liza is called in for reinforcements when Charles runs into trouble with a rock-star author on Shelter Island. Maggie reaches a career milestone.

Teachers - "Wake and Blake" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Ms. Bennigan tries to win over Blake on a camping trip, and Ms. Snap decides to give back to the community.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 16)

Tuesday, July 17

  • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - Catch David on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She will also be on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Tichina Arnold (Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Sherri/Less Than Perfect - Sherri appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jon Bernthal (The Class) - Jon is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Deon Cole (grown-ish/black-ish/Angie Tribeca) - Deon guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Eddie Griffin (Malcolm & Eddie) and Boris Kodjoe (The Last Man on Earth/Second Time Around) - Steve's favorite Hollywood hunks are featured on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Melissa Leo (I'm Dying Up Here) - Melissa talks about The Equalizer 2 on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Daveed Diggs (black-ish) - Daveed will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Out All Night) - Vivica talks about The Last Sharknado: It's About Time on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace talks about her health secrets on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait (Unhappily Ever After/Capitol Critters) - Bobcat talks about Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters on the BUILD Series at 3pm.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July)

New Girl - The Complete Seventh Season Alice - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season The Good Place - The Complete Second Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
07/03 - New Girl - The Final (Seventh) Season
07/10 - Alice - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - The Bill Engvall Show - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season
07/10 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season
07/17 - Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Good Place - The Complete Second Season
07/17 - Son of Zorn - The Complete Series
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