Friday 3 August 2012

Into The Wild Green Yonder (2009)

I don't care what people say nowadays, I think The Simpsons is one of the best TV shows ever made. It's certainly the best animated show of all time (despite stiff competition from classics and newcomers). I've seen some of the newer episodes that people like to say prove the show is well past its prime and just don't see the decline in quality that people keep trying to point to. Yes, there were some noted peak seasons but the show is consistently great, in my opinion, and I'll always be a fan. The show that comes closest to it (despite stiff competition from classics and newcomers) is Futurama. Created by Matt Groening and others who worked on The Simpsons, Futurama is the sci-fi-centric sibling of that show. It started off very much in the shadow of The Simpsons but quickly went on to gain a loyal following among fans like myself, who found a multitude of great references and gags in every episode.

The central premise is that old sci-fi staple of someone being accidentally frozen for many, many years and then waking up in a strange future. The 21st century man is just an average guy named Fry (voiced by Billy West) but he soon settles into his new life with Professor Farnsworth (also voiced by Billy West), Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal), Hermes (voiced by Phil LaMarr), Dr. Zoidberg (Billy West again) and, of course, Bender the robot (voiced by John Di Maggio). Together, this ragtag team go on missions delivering goods in their Planet Express spaceship.

In case you're unaware of just what happened to the show here is the easy summary. Futurama was cancelled. Then four movies (with this being the last one) were made. Then it wasn't cancelled any more. Which makes the four movies just as good as they ever were but also leaves them feeling a bit odd because they were obviously meant to provide a satisfying resolution for fans. Having said that, the movies don't really go by standard movie rules and, thankfully, end up playing out like extended episodes of the fantastic TV show. Just as they should.

The plot here is all about the universe being damaged, Leela protesting, Bender getting himself in trouble, Fry being able to read the thoughts of others suddenly and a few other things but all you need to know is that the jokes keep being thrown around thick and fast, the characters are all as entertaining as ever, the animation and design work is superb and Zapp Brannigan (ANOTHER character voiced by Billy West) sings a bit of Duran Duran at one point. What more could you wish for.

Peter Avanzino directs the inspired lunacy, written by Ken Keeler and David X. Cohen, and he clearly knows how to pitch everything just perfectly for fans of the show. If you love Futurama then I, personally, feel that the movies are well worth buying, watching and rewatching.



  1. Futurama is great. It makes up for what the Simpsons lacks - being funny. Sorry, but I don't like The Simpsons. I know it's blasphemy, but it really grinds my gears. I used to love it when I was younger though so I must just be getting crabby in my old age.

    1. I WILL point at you and wail like someone from the 70s version of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. And nobody wants that.