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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season

01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 1

The Goldbergs - "The Kara-te Kid" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Inspired by the “Karate Kid” films, Adam and the other Adam Goldberg face off in a karate match to settle once and for all a long-running feud. Barry and Adam go to Uncle Marvin for training, but the only thing they learn is how to clean an apartment. Meanwhile, when Erica and Geoff’s relationship becomes public, they realize that they aren’t the good guys.

Modern Family - "Finding Fizbo" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Cam is enraged when he receives an online video showing someone has been desecrating his beloved Fizbo costume, which sets him on a quest to restore Fizbo’s good name. Meanwhile, Phil is in for quite the surprise when he finally meets his new soon-to-be step-brother at Frank’s bachelor party. Finally, Manny’s newest play hits a little too close to home for Gloria, Claire and Haley when he enlists them to do a read through before he submits it to a young playwright festival.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "A Cricket's Tale" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
We get to see a typical day in Cricket's world and then a possible redemption when his family intervenes. Will Cricket finally move on from the gang, finding love in the process? Will Cricket go from filthy beast to his former self, Matthew Mara?

Man Seeking Woman - "Cake" (FXX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Josh lets Mike throw him a bachelor party and soon comes to regret it.

Schitt's Creek - "Motel Review" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While setting up his business, David meets a new friend; Johnny defends Alexis' work; Moira deals with a difficult guest.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 27)

Wednesday, March 1

  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Watch Alec on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk) - Patrick is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Natalie Zea (The Detour) - Natalie visits Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC. She opens up about how she and her husband Travis Schuldt balance work and parenthood – and if they will have more kids on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Crashing/Clipped/Are You There, Chelsa?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril co-hosts Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Mackenzie Phillips (One Day at a Time) - Mackenzie appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT. She will also be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk) - Patrick looks back on the first time he met Hugh Jackman on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me/The Comeback) - Dan talks about 24: Legacy on the AOL Build Show at 5pm. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.