Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. I felt very satisfied with the visuals of the first three movies, and Yonder continued that trend.
At all times, the movie boasted excellent delineation. It seemed crisp and detailed, without any noticeable hints of softness. I recognized no signs of shimmering or jagged edges, and edge enhancement also failed to materialize. In addition, I found no source flaws, as the flick looked clean and fresh.
Like its predecessors, Game delivered a dynamic palette. The colors always came across as bright and full. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. All in all, this was a terrific visual presentation.
I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Bender’s Game worked reasonably well. For the most part, the audio concentrated on general atmosphere. Some action sequences added pizzazz to the piece, and the Planet Express ship zoomed around the room in a satisfying way. We also got nice stereo imaging for the score. Otherwise, the track gave us a good feel for the environment but not much that impressed.
Throughout the film, audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, as the score seemed well-recorded and dynamic. Effects also showed good range and delineation, and they boasted strong low-end response when necessary. Speech appeared concise and natural; no edginess or other issues interfered. This was all good enough for a “B”.
Should you expect this set’s extras to differ much from what we found on prior releases? Nope – they remain in line with the previous packages. We open with an audio commentary from creators/executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, co-executive producers Michael Rowe and Patric M. Verrone, producer Lee Supercinski, director Peter Avanzino and actors John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche. All of them sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss various story and character issues, animation specifics, references, and some acting choices.
After many episodes of the series and three prior DVDs, this commentary stays in the familiar pattern. Cohen handles much of the basic data, with an emphasis on production trivia, while the actors add fun to the proceedings. Actually, this track focuses more strongly on actual information than in the past, largely because we get fewer actors; Billy West fails to reappear here, so some of the usual wildness goes out the window. In any case, the commentary offers enough information and amusement to be worth a listen.
Next we find a 22-minute and 23-second Storyboard Animatic. This takes us through the first act of Yonder and lets us see the storyboards accompanied by dialogue and some music and effects. It’s a fun way to see the early stages of the film.
A wacky behind the scenes piece comes to us with Docudramarama: How We Make Futurama So Good. In this five-minute and nine-second clip, we get an irreverent – and often incorrect – look at how they make Futurama. It’s a one-joke program that has a few laughs but gets old before too long.
We take a visit with a guest star in the two-minute and eight-second ’Louder, Louder!’: The Acting Technique of Penn Jillette. He tells us that he can’t do any character voices other than his own and we watch him record some lines. And that’s about it – this doesn’t become a particularly interesting clip.
Under Cutting Room Floor, we get a “treasury of deleted scenes”. In this case, “treasury” means five, and they run a total of two minutes, 51 seconds. These include “Dolomite Hill” (0:30), “Matcluck” (0:33), “Paint?!” (0:27), “Morbo Solo” (0:37) and “Mind Reading” (0:44). Obviously all of these are short, and most are extensions of existing scenes. Nothing stellar appears, but all the snippets are amusing.
Matt Groening and David X. Cohen In Space! goes for four minutes, 24 seconds, as it shows the executive producers as they experience a “zero G” weightless plane ride. They narrate as we see images of their trek. This seems a little self-indulgent, but Groening and Cohen offer enough interesting details to make it worthwhile.
Another featurette arrives with How to Draw Futurama in 10 Very Difficult Steps. Via this 11-minute and 10-second program, we find out how to sketch the Professor, Nibbler, Hypnotoad, and Fry. The artists give us some nice thoughts about their work in this fun piece.
After this comes a four-minute and 19-second segment called 3D Models with Animator Discussion. Avanzino and director of computer graphics Scott Vanzo let us know how they created the elements for asteroids, the Feministas eco-van, the Giant Gorilla golf hole, the worm hole and the Nimbus. The guys tell us good notes about the images and throw in a few jokes along the way.
A couple of wacky clips come next. We find Bender’s Movie Theater Etiquette (1:16) and Zapp Brannigan’s Guide to Making Love at a Woman (2:49). In the former, our favorite robot shows us how not to behave at the movies. In the latter, Zapp gives us his insights into wooing the ladies. Both are funny in theory but not so great in reality.
Finally, we get at least one Easter egg. If you keep clicking around the wheel that shows the bonus features, you’ll hit the “1000” bar. Press “enter” to see a “toilet paper animation” of Bender (0:35). It’s pretty pointless.
Futurama saves the best for last with Into the Wild Green Yonder. Apparently the final Futurama direct-to-video epic, Yonder avoids potential preachiness and entertains with many amusing elements. The DVD comes with the usual excellent picture quality as well as good audio and a decent array of supplements. After three disappointing Futurama movies, we finally get a very good one here.