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Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder - animated DVD / comedy DVD / television series review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr
Directors: Peter Avanzino Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 20 January 2009 Feature runtime: 89 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish, Portugese, Cantonese), Audio commentary (Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Patric M. Verrone, Michael Rowe, Lee Supercinski and Peter Avanzino), Storyboard animatic: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1, Docudrama: How We Make Futurama So Good, "Louder, Louder!": the acting technique of Penn Jillette, Golden Stinkers, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen in Space, How to Draw Futurama in 10 Very Difficult Steps, 3-D models w/ animator discussion, Bender's Movie Theater Etiquette, Zapp Brannigan's Guide to Making Love at a Woman

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder is the final of four direct-to-DVD releases. This film has our crew picking sides over the potential destruction of a large part of the universe. A female environmental protest group has disrupted the construction of the new Mars Vegas casino resort, after Leo Wong's destruction of the old Mars Vegas so that he can build a larger, better Mars Vegas in the desert.

The group's attempted sabotage leaves Fry with a metal female symbol lodged in his head. The resulting concussion and impromptu "antenna" has given him the the power of telepathy. After wandering the streets in a daze, he runs into another transient who explains the power of the tinfoil hat to block out unwanted communications. He also introduces him to the "Legion of Mad Fellows," a group of fellow telepaths with secret knowledge of an impending disaster. As luck has it, the protest group (now led by Leela and backed up by the other female members of the series) are working to prevent this very disaster. Fry has to take his own path to help both groups in secret.

Bender, working openly with the government, is against both for his own reasons. After leading Zapp Branigan and the Nimbus to a rendezvous between Fry and Leela, the duo are caught, convicted and sentenced for trying to protect the environment. After a hasty escape, they make for the final showdown with Leo Wong's demolition crew. Fry attempts to use his powers to determine the identity of the "Dark One" at the center of this mystery. In the end, our brave crew saves the day and emerges triumphant -and by that I mean having been chased off by Zapp Brannigan, still determined to arrest them for their crimes. To escape, they make a risky decision that leaves our heroes flying off toward another adventure.

As a final goodbye to the series, although a sixth season has been hinted at, this movie left me conflicted. Judged on its own merits, it's a fine addition to the Futurama universe, but I was waiting for something that never showed up. The final episode of the series made a great send-off for this show, and a certain charm and magic found in The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings was missing from all four direct-to-DVD movies. Bender's Big Score came close with its storyline between Fry and Leela, and it certainly had a lot of nostalgia working in its favor. For me, this series has always been about the relationship between Fry and Leela. Some of the best episodes from the series followed Fry's awkward attempts to woo Leela; while this film sees a return to that storyline, it's not enough to rate higher than a "B" in my opinion.

Extra features include the standard audio commentaries and deleted/modified scenes. However the star of the special features is a neat documentary on how the show is made. Surprisingly every aspect of the show, from writing to all the voice work to shipping, is handled by Lauren Tom (the voice of Amy Wong).

This disc will be a necessary addition to any serious Futurama fan's DVD collection. It has everything the series offered, just not in the concentration preferred by this reviewer.
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reviewed by Ryan Strampe
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