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Futurama: The Beast with A Billion Backs Review
on 14 July 2008
The film starts off where Futurama: Bender's Big Score left off, the universe has a giant rip and people are freaking out. The Professor (Billy West), Hermes (Phil LaMarr), Leela (Katey Sagal), Bender (John DiMaggio), Amy (Lauren Tom) and Zoigberg (Billy West) are trying to figure out what to do about the space anomaly. During the meeting, Fry (Billy West) introduces the Planet Express crew to Colleen (Brittany Murphy), his new girlfriend.
Amy and Kip announce they are holding a Fonfon Ru ceremony (joining of families ceremony). The Planet Express crew join the ceremony and "The Grand Priestess" performs the ceremony in Kip's home world in the swamp. She also has five other jobs, also grand and she lives there. Colleen catches the bouquet that Kip throws, which makes Fry and Colleen believe it is meant to be with one another.
Later, Professor Farnsworth and Professor Wernstrom (David Herman) are unable to agree on who is going to lead the expedition into space at the University and have the Planet Express crew battle it out in a game of "Deathball" against grad students eager for a letter of recommendation. After the game of Deathball, Fry finds out that Colleen has a boyfriend on the opposing team as well as three other boyfriends. Fry decides not to go on the expedition to investigate the space anomaly and to move in with Colleen. Fry unable to deal with not being treated equal in a five-way relationship decides to immediately break up with Colleen. This leads to a big theme of the film with Yivo (David Cross) - a lonely planet with a billion tentacles and one eye.
Bender goes to the space anomaly with the rest of the Planet Express crew to investigate the space anomaly, but due to the fact that he is not human and the electro-magnetic field factor, he blasts the crew back to earth. Fry frustrated with his love life decides he needs to get far away and hides in the bottom of Zapp Brannigan's ship. Fry later escaping from the lint compartment takes his spacesuit up to the anomaly and says goodbye to everything he knew and cared about and goes through the anomaly where he meets Yivo. Fry desperate for love and Yivo wanting to be cared for, come together.
The tentacles begin to break through the space anomaly and eventually reach earth. Fry as Yivo's host speaks to New New York and tells everyone that he loves the tentacle and they need to love it too. Eventually, Fry becomes the pope, has the rest of the world invaded and everyone with the exception of Leela are invaded by the tentacle. The rest of the film explores on Yivo's need for love and wanting to be in a serious relationship with everyone.
I found this film less exciting than Futurama: Bender's Big Score for several reasons, the film has three different "feels" to it: 1/3 feels like a film, 1/3 feels like the TV series, 1/3 feels like and episode of "Tales of Interest". I felt the section with Bender and the League of Robots was just used as filler to make the film longer and to have a purpose near the end of the film. There is a lot of American humour throughout the film, but none of it was good and are all one-liners. The only decent humour in the film was more European humour and by that I mean, fans of the series that will see things from the original series and laugh at the guest appearances by certain characters that appear in the film. Some of the other humour comes from Bender, knowing his personality and how he reacts in certain situations. Whilst Futurama: The Beast with A Billion Backs was not a horrid film, it was very average and to a good degree, the ending was almost predictable as well as partly using an event that happened in the TV series.
The film is presented in the 1.78:1 (16:9) format. The picture was crystal clear throughout the film. There were only one or two times when some of the cells seemed a bit blurry, but it is nothing that is noticeable or would deter you from watching the film
The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Unlike Futurama: Bender's Big Score, this film actually takes advantage of all five speakers. Whilst I would have appreciated a few more sounds coming from the rear left and rear right speakers, as it would have given a more cinematic feel, I found that during action sequences the music really made use of all five speakers. The voice actors voices were always clearly audible in the centre speaker during the talking scenes, which for some films can sometimes be problematic.
The DVD includes: Commentary from the producers and cast, Futurama: The Lost Adventure (A Full-Length feature adventure produced for the video game), Storyboard Animatic, Deleted Scenes, David Cross Featurette, Blooperama, 3D Models with Animator Discussion, A Brief History of Deathball and Bender's Game Trailer.
Special Features: 4.5
Futurama: The Beast with A Billion Backs was entertaining enough. However, I can honestly see this as three episodes of Futurama if the script was changed slightly. Fry and Colleen's relationship could have been an episode, Bender and the League of Robots its own episode and lastly Yivo and Earth could have been another single episode. There are many video game jokes in this film which are funny if you are a gamer and it was in Futurama taste. Overall, I would say if you are a Futurama fan you will want to see this because of the guest appearances from characters from the show, but if you are a casual Futurama watcher I would just say rent it. Last thing I will say is, I watched the trailer for "Futurama: Bender's Game" and it looks like rubbish. It looks like a hour and a half version of "Tales of Interest" that is Dungeon's and Dragons themed. Yet, you never know it could be good, but I will post a review of that when it is released.