Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder [Blu-ray]
(Peter Avanzino, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: 20th Century Fox
Disc Size: 33,451,502,463 bytes
Feature Size: 23,655,327,744 bytes
Average Bitrate: 35.33 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 24th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3482 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3482 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Commentary: DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit
English, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, none
NOTE: And commentary subtitles in the Nordic languages
•Audio Commentary with creator Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, voice actors John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche, co-writers Patric Verrone and Mike Rowe, producer Lee Supercinski and director Peter Avanzino
• Storyboard Animatic: Into the Wild Green Yonder, Part 1 (22:25 )
• Featurette: Matt Groening and David X. Cohen in Space! (4:23)
• Docudramarama: How We Make Futurama So Good (5:09 in HD)
• Louder! Louder!: The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette (2:08)
• Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes (5) (2:52)
• How To Draw Futurama In 10 Very Difficult Steps (11:10)
• 3D Models with Animator Discussion (4:19)
• Bender's Movie Theater Etiquette (1:16)
• Zapp Brannigan's Guide to Making Love at a Woman (2:49)
• Picture-In-Picture / BonusView
Description: At the construction site of New Mars Vegas, an accident causes a piece of necklace to lodge in Fry's head, giving him mind-reading abilities. He joins the Legion of Mad Fellows, who are trying to stop evil forces from destroying the gateway to the "green age". Bender falls in love with a fembot married to Donbot of the Robot Mafia. Leo Wong goes to demolish an arm of the Milky Way for a miniature golf course, prompting Leela, Amy and LaBarbara to join an eco-feminist society on the run from the government and Zapp Brannigan. Fry is informed by the Legion of Mad Fellows that with his missing Delta brain wave he is the only one who can stop the impending destruction of the new green age.
As you may deduce from the title, there is an ecological theme running through the entire movie. We begin on Mars, which is where much of the first act takes place. Property developer Leo Wong (Amy's dad) wants to demolish an entire arm of the Milky Way galaxy to make way for the biggest miniature-golf course in the universe (the first hole is on Pluto's moon, Hydra, and is a 6 billion mile par 2 — "a tough shot"). An accident during some demolition work on Mars (Wong warms up by destroying Mars Vegas to replace it with ... errr ... New Vegas) sees Fry develop mindreading abilities when a piece of women's jewellry gets lodged in his brain. Which leads to him wearing a tinfoil hat to keep the voices out, and joining the super-secret Legion of Mad Fellows (led by "Number 9 Man" — who, according to the Fox press release, is a "mysterious character from the earliest days of the series", but I can't say that I remember him). Meanwhile, Bender starts having an affair with the burlesque-dancer wife of Donbot, head of the robot Mafia (and yes, Clamps is back!) and Leela joins an eco-feminist collective and becomes an outlaw. Oh, and Professor Farnsworth is the scientist roped in to do the environmental impact report for Wong's planned mini-golf course .. which gets the go-ahead. The final piece of the galaxy in his way is a violet dwarf star, which plays a vital part in the climax, so I won't go into details. Except to say that once again, the fate of the universe depends on Fry (yeah, he gets that a lot).
To me this seems even better looking than Bender's Game on Blu-ray. Colors are spectacularly rendered and the image even has some depth. It is quite beautiful. Digital animation, especially at the hi-def level, should be perfect. There are none of the deficiencies associated film-to-digital like noise and artifacts. This is exactly how the animators and 'creators' intended it to look. The only complaint could be with the animation style of any lack of continuity in motion. The 'Futurama' style, without dramatic alternation, has been around for a decade - more advanced than Groening's original The Simpsons - and it balances nicely between simplistic and recognizable to extravagant and epic sc-fi dramatizations. This series is just so 'cool'. The Blu-ray is again dual-layered with over 23 Gig of space dedicated to the feature. It is vibrant without 'jaggies', deep rich contrast and black levels and Fox's use of the MPEG-4 encode has produced some fabulous visuals as the screen captures below should indicate.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
We are offered a competent DTS-HD Master 5.1 on this Blu-ray. The track isn't overly aggressive but shares some fine separation moments with more subtle effect noises reaching the rear speakers. It is clean and crisp with no complaints necessary. There are subtitles in quite a few foreign language options making one believe this is most probably region-free.
Another fun audio commentary with creator Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, voice actors John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche, co-writers Patric Verrone and Mike Rowe, producer Lee Supercinski and director Peter Avanzino. It's loose and amusing - fans should enjoy. Aside from a number of very short, but very worthy, featurette blips of less than 4:00 each (deleted scenes, The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette, Zapp Brannigan's Guide to Making Love at a Woman, Golden Stinkers: A Treasury of Deleted Scenes etc.) the only supplement of any length and substance is another Storyboard Animatic. This one for Into the Wild Green Yonder, is entitled Part 1 and runs just over 22-minutes. If you are into these - this is kinda cool - if not you may be bored. This smell a like a bit of filler here but there is enough to accrue some enjoyment so I'm not complaining. For the Blu-ray only there is an untested Picture-In-Picture / BonusView option.
February 19th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
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Gary W. Tooze