Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DVD Review: Futurama - Into the Wild Green Yonder

Yes, I'm late. I picked this DVD up on the release date and fell asleep watching it. This fact may cause some skepticism about this next statement. It's also the best of the Futurama DVD movies so far.

"Futurama" is a sci-fi cartoon made by Matt Groening, the creator of "The Simpsons". It ran on Fox for years, but was put in that early evening time slot where football kept preempting it. Thus, only people on the west coast got to see it. Cutting out 3/4 of the viewers was hard on the ratings. Since it became unpredictable whether the show was gonna be on or not it also hurt the ratings on the rare evening when it was actually on.

Finally, it was canceled.

But the reruns on some cable channel (Cartoon Network? Comedy Central?) got great ratings and the DVDs sold well. The cable network running the reruns wanted more episodes. Rather than try to produce regular episodes again somebody made the decision to develop full length movies, release them straight to DVD, and then chop them up into episode sized bits. Five DVDs were initially planned with "Into the Wild Green Yonder" as the fourth.

It really doesn't matter that much what I say about the movie. You're either interested enough that you have bought it (or plan to) OR you're not into it and calling Groening the love child of Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't sell it. I should mention that Groening is not actually their love child.

"Into the Wild Green Yonder"'s main storyline is about Amy Wong's father Leo who wants to build the biggest miniature golf course in the galaxy. A par 2 involves firing a huge ball out of a cannon and trying to get it in a hole located on a moon. A moon on another planet. The 18th hole is supposed to have a black hole at the end so you can't get your ball back. But to make that black hole he has to blow up a Purple Dwarf star.1

One parallel story line involves Fry developing telepathic powers and being drawn into a secret society of tin foil hat wearing loons who carry the secrets of the origins of life in the universe and want to stop the destruction of the Purple Dwarf.

In another Leela joins an extremist, feminist, environmentalist group to protect all the life forms that would be wiped out by the building of this golf course.

Bender and Fry also face off in a poker competition where Fry's telepathy faces down a Lucky Mafia Donbot's foot that Bender stole.

The movie ends with a bit of foreshadowing2 when an alien implies that humanity is endangered. I have to presume this is the lead in for the next DVD/

As I said before, of the four Futurama DVDs released so far this one is my favorite. It has the fewest self-referential jokes and made me laugh the most.

1Yes, I know that's not how you make black holes. There's no such thing as a Purple Dwarf star either.
2Who thought back in middle school when they taught you words like "foreshadowing" that you'd ever actually use it?3
3I have still never diagrammed a sentence outside of a classroom.

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