In what’s touted to be the final Futurama feature, Into the Wild Green Yonder is a sci-fi allegory on the perils of environmental and galactic destruction. This time around, Fry is given the power to read minds after an eco-feminist’s necklace lodges into his brain (an explanation for this bizarre occurrence arrives at the end of the film), and as a result has to wear an aluminum foil hat for much of the movie after a helpful hobo named Hutch tells him this is the only way to block the voices in his head. Meanwhile, Leela joins the eco-feminist coalition to stop a developer from turning 12% of the galaxy into an enormous miniature golf course. And Bender, after engaging in an affair with the head of the robot mafia’s wife, joins Zapp Brannigan in an attempt to stop Leela’s posse from almost breaking his record for longest rap sheet. Hutch, the friendly hobo, soon turns up again as a member of an ancient order of foil hat-wearing weirdoes who are seeking to protect the element of “Green Chee” responsible for life throughout the universe. Of course, all three storylines eventually come to a head in the finale.
As science fiction satire, Futurama has always been adept at transforming the genre’s clichés into comedic fodder. Wild Green Yonder is no different as it eventually turns its environmental theme into one giant gag. Getting there, unfortunately, is a long road and too often the movie feels like an overextended episode with too many tangents forced in between the main plot. Like previous direct-to-video Futurama movies, Wild Green Yonder is presented in four installments, each about 22 minutes long. While this is great for later airing each section as a single episode on TV, it hinders storyline continuity as events that occur in one installment don’t always connect with another or take too long to circle back. Though this is expected to be the last we’ll see of the Futurama series, John DiMaggio (voice of Bender) interestingly says at the start of the disc’s commentary track: “This is the fourth and hopefully not last DVD movie.” With a series that has been on and off the air a few times since its initial run, it’s still unknown if Futurama itself has gone into that great green yonder for good or if Fry and friends will be back with yet another space adventure in the near future.
Unfortunately, Fox sent out a DVD screener that has been altered to include a watermark. This, in turn, prevents an accurate image review from being given because the video has been transcoded. Colors are still bright with good separation, but compression artifacts are noticeable, especially during scenes with lots of movement. These artifacts are likely not present on the final DVD (or hopefully not to the degree that they are here at least). Audio has also been recompressed, but it remains crisp and well balanced in both English and Spanish versions.
The audio commentary is robust, as it should be with eight participants who are all in the same room together, but most of the talking seems to be done by David X. Cohen, Matt Groening, and John DiMaggio (it's sometimes hard to keep track of who is who). The result is a load of inside stories and general goofing around from a group of guys who clearly enjoy each other's company. Several extras are included on this DVD, but other than the "Storyboard Animatic" and "How to Draw Futurama" they are only a few minutes long each. Some feel more like inside jokes ("Docudramarama") and others are too short to be more than mildly interesting.
A hearty DVD release with a great commentary track for what is possibly the final chapter of Futurama.