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Matt Groening’s sci-fi adventure/comedy seriesFuturamacomes to a typically absurd close withIn the Wild Green Yonder, the fourth in a series of direct-to-DVD series that followed in the wake of the animated series’ cancellation in 2003.Yonderkeeps in the kitchen-sink tradition of the show and features by cramming as many pop culture references as possible into its already convoluted plotline, from cameos byFamily Guy’s Seth MacFarlane and Snoop Dogg to riffs on eco-terrorism,The Viewand television poker tournaments. All are interwoven into the feature’s main storylines, which concern Fry’s sudden ability to read minds, a massive, environmentally unfriendly rebuild of Mars Vegas by Amy’s parents, and Leela’s admission into a group of radical eco-minded protestors who aim to bring that project to a halt. And if that’s not enough, there’s a threat to the universe as a whole from the Dark Ones, and the summation of various character arcs, including the long-simmering relationship between Fry and Leela. Obviously,In the Wild Green Yonderisn’t the place to start for first-timeFuturamavisitors; its immense cast of characters--which in one scene, swell to over 250 from the show’s entire network run and all of the features--and elaborate (if ridiculous) mythology will most likely leave most newcomers scratching their heads. Longtime fans, however, will appreciate the return of so many favorite personalities, including Zapp Brannigan and the mysterious No. 9, as well as the wrap-up of sorts provided by the conclusion (although, in typical fashion, it leaves room for a series return or another feature). The humor is spotty in places--Bender’s Big Gameremains the best blend of comedy and storyline of the four features--but there are enough laughs to keep die-hards happy. The wealth of special features should accomplish that goal as well; the audio commentary by Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and members of the cast and production team is lively and full of anecdotes, while making-of featurettes provide a tour of theFuturamaproduction offices, a gander at guest star Penn Jillette recording his cameo, and tips on drawing various characters. The most offbeat and amusing extras are faux PSAs from Bender and Zapp Brannigan (on movie theater etiquette and romance, respectively), and the producers’ field trip to a zero gravity simulator.--Paul Gaita
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CastSnoop Dogg, Lauren Tom, Dawnn Lewis, Phil LaMarr, Billy West, David Herman, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio
DirectorPeter Avanzino
Genre:  Animation, Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Release Date:  24 February 2009 (USA)
Screen WriterMatt Groening
Runtime:  89 min(DVD version)
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review by . March 05, 2009
So here is what may be the last view we ever get of Futurama, and if that's the case... well, they could've gone out on a higher not.    Don't get me wrong. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder is ok and all, but it suffers from the same problem as two of the other three direct-to-DVD movies (the exception being Bender's Game), in that it just doesn't feel like the show did.    Part of this is because they are doing it as a movie rather than as episodes, but …
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Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
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