Into the Wild Green Yonder, the final-for-now Futurama DVD movie, comes closest to realizing the near-infinite potential of Groening's intricate and inventive world on a narrative level. It begins with a familiar yet, as before, somewhat dissonant approach to a feature-length rhythm: The first 20 minutes, featuring Bender the robot running afoul of the robot mafia in the newly renovated Mars Vegas, more closely resemble a stand-alone episode than just about anything else from the other DVDs.
Continue reading: Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder Review
Beast picks up on a dangling plot thread from Score and runs with it; when the Planet Express crew ventures out to investigate a tear in the space-time continuum, they and the rest of Earth (eventually) encounter an encompassing, tentacle-heavy alien life form called Yivo (voiced -- also eventually; Futurama movies offer plenty of skillful digressions -- by David Cross). Yivo's methods are reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; its motivations, though, have the murky mix of creepiness and hope more akin to a particularly odd Twilight Zone episode.
Continue reading: Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs Review
Early in Bender's Big Score, a direct-to-DVD revival of the Futurama universe, Groening and his brainy writers have their revenge: Hubert Farnsworth (voice of Billy West) reveals that the "moronic" executives who briefly ran Planet Express, the interplanetary delivery service where all of the main characters work, were not only "themselves fired for incompetence," but beaten up pretty badly, and eventually killed and ground into a fine pink powder. Apparently those imaginary higher-ups (of the "Box Network," naturally) are indispensable in this form, as Torgo's Executive Powder appears throughout the film, put to a variety of uses including fish food, glue, and relieving jock itch.
Continue reading: Bender's Big Score Review
Swan gets a camera crew to tail him to Hollywood -- where Commander Courage, a supposed WWII era patriotic hero -- has been reinvented as Codename Courage, a ninja-like fighter of terrorism everywhere. But quickly he's on to the San Diego Comic-Con convention, where the bulk of the film takes place. It's hard to tell where the staged stuff for the movie ends and the fanboy ga-ga stuff begins: Among the countless shots of scantily clad fanbabes, costumed kids, and hugs with random convention exhibitors and fans there's a semblance of a story. Basically that involves Swan trying to convince everyone he meets that the old Commander Courage is better than the new Codename Courage (including a scene with Hamill and Stan Lee on a panel at the convention. Just don't think about it too much or you'll start to ask yourself just why Swan would be sent to this convention in the first place. It works only in the sense of putting the characters into oddball situations, but it's got little to do with anythig in the plot.
Continue reading: Comic Book: The Movie Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.