HTF REVIEW: "F U T U R A M A" Volume One (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    [​IMG]

    F U T U R A M A
    --- Volume One ---





    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 1999
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 300 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish





    Ahem....can I get a drumroll and some fanfare?!

    [​IMG]

    Ladies and gentlemen, the folks at 30th Century
    Fox bring you the newest and most innovative cartoon
    since The Simpsons....

    [​IMG]

    What the hell is Futurama you say?!
    (Music comes to screeching halt!)
    Well, don't feel bad for not knowing, because up
    until this past week when Fox sent me the Volume One
    Boxed Set
    , I never even heard of the show.
    But you know what? After sampling just a few of
    the episodes contained on this 3-DVD set, I have
    found myself oddly attached to the series.

    Here's the scoop on the show...

    Futurama is a futuristic comedy straight from
    the warped mind of Matt Groening, creator of The
    Simpsons
    . Set in the year 3000, the series
    follows Fry (voiced by Billy West), a 25-year-old New
    York pizza delivery boy whose life is going nowhere.
    When he is accidentally cryogenically frozen on New
    Year's Eve 1999 and awakens an entire millennium later
    on New Year's Eve 2999, he has a chance to make a fresh start.

    [​IMG]

    The future in which he finds himself is full of
    airborne freeways, rocket ships, talking heads in
    jars, dangerously addictive soft drinks and Stop 'n'
    Drop suicide booths, which allow customers to choose
    their mode of death, from 'quick and painless' to 'slow
    and horrible'. Fry, fortunately, soon meets up with
    Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio), a totally corrupt,
    hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, pornography-reading
    robot, and Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal), a beautiful,
    one-eyed alien martial arts expert, to help him make
    sense of this new environment.

    Four seasons and 57 shows later, the Fox broadcasting
    network abruptly cancelled the show, causing a stir
    of controversy amongst its fanbase who claim that
    despite the show's good ratings, FOX never gave the
    proper support the show deserved. Many complain
    that the show was placed in a risky time slot where
    it was constantly being pre-empted. From the many
    fan sites I visited today, I couldn't help but notice
    the outcry of despair over the show's cancellation.

    [​IMG]

    Even I'm a little disappointed that the show has
    been cancelled. I just started watching this show
    today and I'm already hooked! Futurama is
    a show filled with clever writing, amazing animation
    and great "sight gags." It has all the energy that
    The Simpsons boasted in its earliest seasons.
    Perhaps the best thing going for this series is the
    show's premise that gives the writers and animators
    freedom to develop wild characters and worlds. Set
    a show thousands of years in the future and you
    suddenly have limitless boundaries to play with. It
    is this sort of freedom that makes Futurama so
    damn entertaining!

    [​IMG]

    The 3-DVD Season One boxed set Futurama
    is an entertaining package within itself. Arriving
    in an oversized animated cardboard case with transparent
    window, the innards slide out to reveal a cardboard
    sleeve animated with the sights of a wildly futuristic
    metropolis.

    [​IMG]

    What I love most about the design of this DVD set
    is the fact that each of the 3 enclosed DVDs are
    housed in their own individual plastic casings with
    vividly drawn characters across their front covers.
    On the back of each case you'll find a brief
    description of each show (minus airdate or credits)
    as well as Bonus Features that are available
    on that disc.

    I am certain that I forgot to mention that this
    set features the first 13 episodes from March through
    November, 1999. These episodes make up the show's
    entire First Season and part of the Second Season.

    I began my day watching the following three episodes
    in order to get an overview on the quality of this
    set....

    [​IMG]
    Episode One: Space Pilot 3000
    This is where it all begins. The year is 1999,
    and pizza delivery boy Fry is about to celebrate
    another miserable New Year's Eve. Upon making a
    delivery to a Cryogenics lab he accidently stumbles
    into a tube, freezing his body for 1000 years. Now
    finding himself in the year 3000, he meets his new
    friends, Leela, the one-eyed alien, and Bender the
    robot.

    [​IMG]
    Episode Two: The series has landed
    Fry has always dreamed of going to the moon, but
    once he arrives, is disappointed that it has
    been turned into one big cheap amusement park.
    Nevertheless, Fry shows Leela how to appreciate
    the celestial body. Meanwhile, Bender finds a
    little robot romance with a farmer's daughters,
    which puts the whole crew in jeopardy.

    [​IMG]
    Episode Nine: Hell is other robots
    After a Beastie Boys Heads concert at Madison Cube
    Garden, Bender goes on a bender and gets hooked on
    power surges. His life begins a downward spiral until
    he finds salvation at the Temple of Robotology.
    Having found religion, his polite behavior becomes
    so irritating to his friends that they begin to tempt
    him with his old vices. When he finally succumbs and
    returns to his old ways, he is banished to Robot Hell
    where, in a musical extravaganza, he faces the Robot
    Devil and endures tortures unimaginable to man.


    How is the transfer?


    This is one of the most vividly animated TV series
    I have ever watched, and none of its vividness is
    lost in this DVD presentation. Images are bright
    and highly detailed with blacks that are and solid
    with good contrast. The big flaw that I see here
    is problems with quick-moving animation that cause
    a trailing shimmering effect. I have seen this
    problem on other TV animations such as South Park.
    While it's not a horrible problem, I would be doing
    a huge disservice to fans if I didn't point it out.
    Fortunately, the pristine transfer makes up for its flaw.

    The Dolby Digital audio track is adequate for
    this presentation, though it comes across sounding
    rather flat. While dialogue is strong in the center
    channel, it does bleed across the fronts. The rears
    do a nice job of splitting up the show's music
    soundtrack, as well providing many effect noises.
    I wouldn't, however, come close to saying that the
    audio is an enveloping experience as it sounds more
    choppy than fluid.


    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As is usually the case, Fox Home Video has designed
    their menus with an abundance of easy-to-manage options
    including (gasp!) Scene Selections with motion
    menus. If that's not cool enough, roll your remote
    selection over any particular option to see the
    ENGLISH menu choice turn into an ALIEN command.

    It's a bit hard to pin down all the extras that
    are contained in this Volume One set, as
    they are scattered across all three discs.

    I can begin by telling you that there are 8
    deleted scenes for various episodes. The
    scenes I watched were fairly good quality, and since
    never finished, are presented without final music.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On Disc One you'll find animatics
    for Space Pilot 3000 that give you a general
    preliminary version of what the initial episode
    drawings looked like. Also included is the entire
    Script and Storyboard for the pilot
    episode. Cool!

    [​IMG]

    An included Featurette on Disc Three
    begins with creator Matt Groenig who describes his
    desire to bring the family values of The Simpsons
    to science fiction. From here, the featurette kind
    of takes us through the process of creating the show
    from table readings with the actors, to various
    rewrites and on through to storyboard and computer
    animation processes.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)

    [​IMG]

    A still gallery provides a few dozen early
    animated still (and moving video) designs from
    artists Matt Groenig, Bill Morrison, David Cooper,
    and Mili Smythe. Use your remote to leisurely browse
    through them.

    Lastly, I'll mention that each episode contains their
    own individual commentary.


    Final Thoughts


    As a long-time fan of The Simpsons, you
    would have to expect that I immediately fell in
    love with Futurama, an entirely new comedy
    universe, unrestrained by any laws of history,
    physics or conventionality.

    Another winning TV boxed set from the folks at
    Fox Home Video! You can bet I'll be in line to
    buy the next volume.


    Release Date: March 25, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Lowell_B

    Lowell_B Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review Ron. The set sounds like a winner.

    I'll probably end up picking this one up eventually. [​IMG]

    Lowell
     
  3. Tom_Bechet

    Tom_Bechet Second Unit

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    Ron, I'm glad you liked it.
    Let that be a lesson top all of you. If you like the simpsons and not sure about buying this one. Don't worry go ahead and you'll love it.
    I'm not on my 4th viewing of the season2 boxset. And I can't get enough of that wonderful futuramastuff [​IMG]


    PS This post and poster is in no way paid by 20th century Fox
     
  4. AndrewA

    AndrewA Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm glad Fox treated this DVD set better. Can't wait for season three and the "body bags and ball sacks".

    Am looking much more forward to the release of all the seasons of this than the Simpsons...thanks for taking the time and reviewing this set, Ron.
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    To be more accurate, they have around 20 unaired episodes still in the can, so the show will go close to 7 seasons anyway.

    Let us all thank the NFL, whose inability to tell time murdered Futurama
     
  6. Joshua Moran

    Joshua Moran Supporting Actor

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    FREE THE BRAIN SLUGS!![​IMG]
     
  7. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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    Actually, Jeff, as of this week there are only nine or ten unaired episodes out of 72 total.

    Details here:

    http://www.gotfuturama.com/
     
  8. Hank_P

    Hank_P Second Unit

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    Thanks for taking the time to review this. I'll definitely be picking this one up and really glad you enjoyed it as much as us other followers.
     
  9. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Great review, Ron. I can't say I'm surprised that you got hooked on this one. I'm looking forward to reliving the adventures of Fry, Leela, the Professor, Zoidberg, Hermes, Amy, Zap, Kif, and of course, Bender B. Rodriguez!
     
  10. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Thanks for taking me to the "F U T U R A M A"!
     
  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Definitely picking this one up. Matt Groenig brought the consistency and complexity of the Simpson of days past to this series, even less grounded in reality but more consistant in character development. I was picking this up no matter what... this is just icing on the cake.
     
  12. Scott Sherman

    Scott Sherman Auditioning

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    Nice review Ron. Thanks for taking the time to review this based on forum interest. I look forward to getting this in my grubby little hands and freeing up a bit of space on my Tivo.
     
  13. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Ron, definitely getting this. Great review!
     
  14. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    I absolutely cant wait for this set...good review Ron...
     
  15. Steve_Knutzen

    Steve_Knutzen Screenwriter

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    Great to hear to you liked the show Ron. I wasn't a fan of Futurama from the start but over the years it has become one of my favorite shows. Looking forward to getting this. Lately I can't get enough Futurama. [​IMG]
     
  16. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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    Is there a funnier character on TV (or formerly on TV) than Bender? Well, maybe Homer Simpson, but Bender is right up there. The cast of characters in Futurama is so good, and much like the Simpson's it's often the side-stories and supporting characters that steal the show.

    I can't wait to get this DVD set, though it's small consolation for Fox's abysmal treatment of the series.
     
  17. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i named my dog bender.

    and by pure coincidence the street i live on is bender dr.

    it's true.

    i HIGHLY RECOMMEND this show and dvd set.
    just in case ron doesn't add that to the thread title.
     
  19. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    Oh yeah, not only we get a great review by Ron, but this excellent dvd for one of my favorite shows. Nice to have this and still watch reruns on Cartoon Network. [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    I had not heard this was cancelled!! Damn.

    anyway, thanks for the review, Ron.
     

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