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March 2, 2009
Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None4/3/2009FoxPeter Avanzino
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1PGBilly West (voice)

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Fry, Leela and Bender together again...

So here we have it, the fourth and supposedly final Futurama movie. This time we have a bit of an environmental message with the rescuing of a small creature prior to the construction of a New Las Vegas on Mars. It sounds confusing but the filmmakers will be hoping to end the four movie series with a hit - and we think they've succeeded.

Mankind stands on the brink of a wondrous new Green Age. But ancient forces of darkness, three years older than time itself, have returned to wreak destruction. Even more shocking: Bender's in love with a married fembot, and Leela's on the run from the law – Zapp Brannigan's law! Fry is the last hope of the universe... so if you're in the universe, you might want to think about going somewhere else. Could this be the end of the Planet Express crew forever? Say it ain't so, meatbag! Off we go, Into the Wild Green Yonder!

If you've ever seen Futurama (and we suggest most reading this review would have) then you should be able to guess what to expect. Bender continues on his drinking, womanising ways, Leela tries to do the right thing, Farnsworth continues to bumble his way without much understanding what is going on and Fry is left trying to save everyone, and everything. There really are some classic moments here and the focus on Amy and her parents adds plenty of humour.

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Trying to get money, in the nude!
Creating a feature length movie from one of the most loved TV series is never an easy prospect, but this is now the fourth movie in the Futurama universe, and they still come up with some classic situations and lines. The storyline in Into the Wild Green Yonder isn't as whacky or extreme as some of the other direct to DVD Futurama movies, but is more then engaging with an environmental message to boot. One can only hope that these movie succeed enough to warrant some more direct to DVD/Blu-Ray movies in future.

If you're a fan of Futurama then you'll likely love this movie as well. Each of the characters has some brilliant lines, the story is engaging and humorous in its own right while the animation is second to none. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder is well worth a look and we would go so far as to suggest that even non-fans would still find a few chuckles here.

Coming from a direct digital source the presentation on this disc is absolutely pristine. Naturally there isn't a single spec of dirt or film artifact evident (how could there be, this has never be transferred to film for cinemas). Presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 to fill your widescreen TV, and encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec this really is a brilliant transfer. From start to finish this 90-odd minute movie manages to hold a bitrate exceeding 30Mbps for a large majority of the movie. With bold, rich colours, this is quite possibly the best animation we have ever seen on any home format. This truly is reference quality, no doubt about it.

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Amy and Leela chat in Green Yonder.

In typical Fox fashion the main audio track on this disc is a brilliant DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Everything is absolutely crystal clear from the dialogue, to the music and effects. The LFE channel is used to good effect at times, and the surround sound channels also get a bit of a workout. Never has an animated movie sounded so good.

There are no other audio tracks on this disc so if you don't understand English you're going to be in trouble, But wait! Subtitles. There are quite a few options available on this disc including English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, and then English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish commentary subtitles.

Continuing the tradition of a solid number of extras on the James Bond Blu-Ray releases this disc, like the others before it, contains all the extras from the Ultimate Edition DVD's, but with some of the key featurettes being upgraded to HD video.

Audio or Picture–In–Picture commentary by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski, Patric M. Verrone and Peter Avanzino: Many of the main participants in the movie take part in this mildly entertaining commentary. There is some interesting information here, but also a bit too much commenting on the action on screen. Given the number of participants I would have hoped for a little more depth in the discussion however you'll have a few laughs here.

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Bender manages to fall in love...
Part 1 Storyboard Animatic (22:26): A large chunk of the movie is presented here in storyboard form with voices in place. It certainly gives you a good sense of the effort that goes into pre-production.

Docudramarama: How We Make Futurama So Good (5:09/HD): Hoping to find a decent making of documentary, particularly as this may be the final movie we ever see in the franchise, I was bitterly disappointed to discover this was a somewhat whacky, uneducational, short spoof look at the making of the movie.

Louder! Louder!: The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette (2:08/HD): A brief look at Penn's (of Penn and Teller fame) voice recording for the movie.

Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes (2:52/HD): Five deleted scenes are presented here in High Definition. Some are complete, others only storyboards with voices. Sadly there is no audio commentary detailing why they were cut.

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Looks like the crew is in trouble...
Matt Groening and David X. Cohen in Space! (4:23): This pretty neat little featurette looks at the two Futurama creators going on a weightless experience flight.

How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps (11:10/HD): If you like drawing you'll love this as you learn to draw many of Futurama's most loved characters.

3D Models with Animator Discussion (4:19/HD): A look at 3D modeling in the computer for this movie. Brief but interesting.

3D Models with Animator Discussion (1:16/HD): A pretty amusing little clip with Bender about movie etiquette - they should have put this before the main feature movie.

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Leela and Amy have Fry in a cage?
Zapp Brannigan's Guide to Making Love at a Woman (2:49/HD): This short clip is pretty amusing with Zapp continuing his crazy thoughts about love making.

Obviously this movie is aimed at Futurama fans, and if you are on we suggest you check out this release. It looks and sounds terrific, and has a few extras worth your time as well. If this is the last we ever see of the series then it has gone out on a terrific note, but I suspect we'll see more in future...

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.