Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
Review by Sombrero Grande

Thankfully, Into the Wild Green Yonder does not continue the rapid downward spiral evident in the previous Futurama direct-to-DVD releases. However, just because it's better than the installment that preceded it, does not mean that Into the Wild Green Yonder reaches the lofty heights of the series' first and best feature: Bender's Big Score.

Let's start with what works in Into the Wild Green Yonder, and that's that it's pretty funny. Most of the jokes and gags work. What doesn't really work for the film is the story, which comes across as slow, disjointed and uninteresting.

Bender's Big Score wove an epic-scale story of scammer aliens taking over the world that was carefully intermingled with an honestly heartfelt tale of Fry returning to his own time. Both plotlines involved tons of classic characters and memorable moments from the TV series. The best Into the Wild Green Yonder can do is stick a Where's Waldo-like crowd scene at its conclusion packed with minor characters from the series, all the while telling a tale that doesn't resonate with any sort of emotion.

The story, as cold and mechanical as Bender's shiny metal ass, involves Amy's father planning to bulldoze 12% of the galaxy to build a gigantic miniature golf course, an accident that gives Fry the ability to read minds, and sees Leela and almost every other female character on the show joining a feminist environmental group. Bender gets a brief side-story where he falls for a robot mob boss' wife, but after that quickly wraps up it seems as though the writers could no longer think up anything useful for him to do so Bender gets crammed into the rest story in a very willy-nilly manner. None of the other main Futurama characters are given much to do either other than show up for a gag or two along the way as the nakedly environmental story lurches forward to an abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

All in all, Into the Wild Green Yonder is a disappointing conclusion to the series. While not awful, the movie will surely fail to delight all but the most rabid and hardcore of Futurama fans.

The special features on the Into the Wild Green Yonder DVD include an Audio Commentary, Storyboard Animatic, Deleted Scenes, "How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps," 3D Models with Animator Discussion and several not very enlightening Featurettes.


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