Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date: February 24th, 2009 (DVD) MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Peter Avanzino Actors: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Tress MacNeille, Snoop Dogg, Penn Jillette, Seth MacFarlane
he final film in the “Futurama” series caters the most to diehard fans. The gags, characters, running themes, and inside jokes fuel the majority of the show, leaving the usual, creative science-fiction parodies rather lacking. Familiarity with the regular crew of the Planet Express is essential for “Into the Wild Green Yonder,” although many of the funniest riffs belong to the severed head of Richard Nixon, who is once again the president (of Earth) – for which viewers only need to be well-versed in his shortcomings.
Popular Mars Vegas is demolished for New Vegas, an even more luxurious gambling paradise, run by Amy’s wealthy father Leo Wong. Leela (Katey Sagal) becomes concerned with the destruction of the environment and wildlife from Wong’s building plans, and sets out to save the Violet Dwarf star, a lush, inhabited planet, full of life, that marks the final demolition zone for a giant miniature golf course being constructed as the central attraction for New Vegas. After she saves the very last desert muck leech from extinction, she becomes the leader of a band of protesting environmentalists (eco-feminists) determined to put a stop to the devastating development.
Meanwhile, Fry (Billy West) discovers he’s a mind reader, and is introduced to a secret underground organization known as the Legion of Madfellows. He realizes that it is also his destiny to save the Violet Star, despite the rising forces of government (in the form of Nixon’s head) and space police (the overconfident Captain of the Nimbus, Zapp Brannigan) bent on stopping both Fry and the pesky eco-feminists. Wildcard robot Bender (John Di Maggio) plays all sides for his own selfish, despicable gain (as usual), while having an affair with the Donbot’s wife, Fanny.
“Into the Wild Green Yonder” does the best job of all four “Futurama” films in concealing the fact that it is several episodes tied together, creating a fairly linear storyline that doesn’t deviate as much in common goals and plots for each of the characters as the previous movies. Nixon’s head and Zapp Brannigan once again get the best lines in the show and steal the spotlight from many of the other, subtler jokes – most of which depend on the viewer’s knowledge of the “Futurama” universe. Snoop Dogg gets a cameo as the Supreme Court Chief Justice (a few of the other judges include the heads of Bjork, Janeane Garofalo, and Paula Abdul), as does “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane. Nearly every major and minor character throughout the series makes a brief appearance (yes, even Hedonismbot) and the conclusion wraps things up neatly (almost as if the four feature-length films were meant to close the series as opposed to jumpstart viewer interest). It’s definitely worthwhile for followers of the previous films and the regular TV show; however, this isn’t the episode to start with to become a fanatic.
– Mike Massie