Eye For Film >> Movies >> Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder (2009) Film Review
So far the Futurama straight-to-DVD movies have been getting better with each instalment. Bender's Big Score was a convoluted but occasionally inspired first effort, while The Beast With A Billionaire Backs was more coherent and has a better ratio of laughs – still it didn’t reach the great heights of the series’, failing to stand up to repeat viewings. Okay, the third movie Bender's Game was more on-a-par with The Beast With A Billion Backs, but the first two-thirds was very funny indeed. However, it suffered from an overlong Lord Of The Rings-riffing fantasy segment that lacked jokes. After three semi-successful instalments the question is how does Into The Wild Green Yonder compare?
Beginning with a beautifully animated introduction, the scene is set in a future variant on Las Vegas, dubbed ‘Mars Vegas’, complete with a Frank Sinatra impression by Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane, crooning to a future-themed ballad. The opening works well as a standalone episode, following Bender’s affair with the Robomafias Don Boss and as a plot is neatly wrapped up within the opening half an hour – like the other Futurama movies, at points you can tell where the episode is going to be cut up for TV.
From then on, the narrative is a lot more coherent, cutting between the intertwining plots of Leela’s battle with Leo Wong’s environmentally damaging plan to build the world's largest crazy golf course and Fry becoming part of the secret society of Mad Folks after he develops telekinetic abilities in an accident. Oh, and this being Futurama, the universe is in peril, of course.
Despite a slightly fractured narrative, The Wild Green Yonder is, like the series, a lot more consistent in quality than the previous films and makes good use of the show's extended cast, with the Robomafia, Zapp Brannigan, and President Nixon all used to good effect. It also boasts good cameos from Snoop Dogg as a supreme court justice and Penn Jillette (one half of Las Vegas magician act Penn and Teller). Silly touches, such as referring to a mobile phone as a ‘cell-phone telephone’ and Fry getting repeated blows to the head all add to the humour, and in-jokes from the series are most welcome. The only flat points joke-wise are the opening scenes with the Feministas, but even their scenes improve over the movie with the introduction of more familiar female characters joining this group of, yes, female environmentalists.
“Good news, everybody!” After three semi-successful Futurama movies, fans can now rejoice at having Futurama spin-off that is up to the standard of the series. Those who aren't fans of the show should probably knock a point off my review score, but Into The Wild Green Yonder fits in well with overall arc of the series, instead of just being a standalone narrative. Sadly, this is the last of the scheduled Futurama movies but if it is the end (I doubt it will be, word on the grapevine is talks are being held with the creators and Fox), at least it’s going out with a bang.Reviewed on: 07 Mar 2009