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Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

3.5 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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(Jun 24, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In Futurama's latest and most tentacle-packed epic, space itself rips open, revealing a gateway to another universe. But what lies beyond? Horror? Love? Or maybe both, if it happens to contain a repulsive, planet-sized monster with romantic intentions! Nothing less than the fate of human and robot-kind is at stake as the Futurama crew takes on The Beast With A Billion Backs.

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In Futurama's latest and most tentacle-packed epic, space itself rips open, revealing a gateway to another universe. But what lies beyond? Horror? Love? Or maybe both, if it happens to contain a repulsive, planet-sized monster with romantic intentions! Nothing less than the fate of human and robot-kind is at stake as the Futurama crew takes on The Beast with a Billion Backs.

The Beast with a Billion Backs will be presented in widescreen format with English Dolby Surround 5.1, along with French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include:

The second of four direct-to-DVD adventures featuring the Futurama crew, The Beast with a Billion Backs picks up where its predecessor, Bender's Big Score, left off while balancing multiple love stories and the arrival of a sexually voracious alien from another universe. Unlike Bender, the various story lines converge well here--the tentacled, Lovecraftian creature Yivo (voiced by David Cross), which wants to mate with the entire population of the universe at once, makes Fry (Billy West) its de facto leader (Pope, actually), which in turn plays havoc with his relationship with new girlfriend Colleen (Brittany Murphy). And Yivo's scheme causes the people of Earth to evacuate the planet, leaving it in the hands of robots--which is, of course, excellent news for Futurama's resident mechanical malcontent, Bender (John DiMaggio). Beast is probably best understood and enjoyed by longtime fans of the series, who will recognize and appreciate the countless "surprise guests" (Robot Satan, the Harlem Globetrotters, Bender's hero Calculon, the head of Stephen Hawking), though the feature is certainly well-written and performed by its voice cast, and should provide plenty laughs for first-timers with flexible attention spans. Parents, however, should note that the humor can be fairly suggestive at times, and should exercise caution in regard to younger viewers.

Extras include a very funny commentary track with creators Matt Groening and David X Cohen, stars West, DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche, and key members of the production team. Deleted scenes and a making-of featurette with the voice cast are entertaining, but the real features of value are Futurama: The Lost Adventure, which is culled from the Futurama game for Playstation 2, as well as a lengthy preview of the next direct-to-DVD movie, Bender's Game. Suffice it to say that the Lord of the Rings weighs heavily on the storyline. -- Paul Gaita


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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Brittany Murphy, Dan Castellaneta, David Cross, Phil LaMarr, Billy West
  • Directors: Peter Avanzino
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00158K0V0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,065 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on June 30, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While I'm a truly devoted Futurama fan, I'm not one of those condescending supergeeks who claim to love Futurama so much that I have the authority to tell everyone else how virulently they're supposed to hate anything even slightly different than my favorite old episodes. (That's right, you heard me.) I'm ecstatic that Futurama has returned from the dead, and I totally loved "Bender's Big Score." But this new Futurama flick disappoints. Most of what we know and love about Futurama is still here in spades, but this flick suffers from a poorly-developed plot and a degeneration of the show's formerly deep and subversive humor.

The 88-minute format is either too long for a compact and focused plotline, or too short for the type of complex story the producers appear to be striving for. The story here jumps around at a very awkward pace and shows signs of severe over-editing. The jokes have been reduced to Family Guy-like asides played for cheap guffaws rather than deep thoughts. (The caped superhero is an unfortunate example, and Bender's firstborn son is a very unfortunate example.)

Many holes and inconsistencies in the storyline show that plot construction took a backseat to the more easily written sight gags and cheap asides. (Here's an example that hopefully won't be condemned as a spoiler. Late in the film the new Yivo character says he [sklee] sent an image of himself to artists in our universe, but most of the story is built on the idea that Yivo thought he was alone in all universes.) The fundamental story has also trumped the longstanding strengths of the show. The personalities of Fry and Leela (and important supporting characters like Kif) are inconsistent, Bender has been demoted to an unworkable subplot, and Zoidberg does little more than vomit for simpleminded laughs.
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Format: DVD
And by that I mean that while all the one-off jokes work (hell, many of them are downright hilarious!), they have little of the plot- and character-relevance that made Futurama such a great series. And for the record, I really liked "Bender's Big Score". It was FUN ON A BUN.

In fact, this film's plot itself ventures into a genre that I'd much rather have seen Futurama stay at two removes from: romantic comedy. Except this time it's all the inhabitants of our universe ("Universe Gamma") in a romantic comedy with a planet-sized tentacled monster from another universe. There's a Bender sideplot that serves absolutely no purpose except to give Bender screen time and ultimately give him a reason to basically undo everything that happened in the movie, just when one would expect a perfectly Futurama-style twistedly happy ending.

Speaking of undoing things that happened, I really must complain that this film literally resets the past eight years of Futurama continuity. Since the Niblonians and Brainspawn are no longer in Universe Gamma and every single romantic relationship has been reset to a basic state of "not existing", it really appears as though the writers behaved exactly like a dog encountering a chess board: knocking every piece out of its place with no real character development just so they could put them into the absurd places their canine brains desired.

Finally, it has come to my attention that a lot of people got a lot more out of this film by reading it as a portrayal of the events described by the Book of the Revelation of John (aka: the Book of Revelations, aka: that crazy Apocalypse thing). Despite my knowledge of the story, being a Jew I guess I just can't see the parallels. You can only see them after someone else tells you about them, which means they aren't really there.
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Having seen an advance copy, unlike some of the other non-reviewers, I can say that the movie is excellent. But I mainly want to point out that the bonus features include the "lost Futurama episode", a full-length 30-minute CGI episode originally produced for the old Futurama video game (never aired on TV, but featuring the actual voice cast and written by the show's original writers). This is also very entertaining, and is undoubtedly the best DVD bonus item in Futurama history. What's with the one-star reviews from people who haven't seen the DVD?
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First of all, I am a huge futurama fan. Pretty much a ridiculous fan, I own all four seasons, plus the comics, plus the DVD collections that are just compilations from the seasons. And I love them all. The first Futurama 'movie' "Bender's Big Score" was great. I really enjoyed it. This one however... It just wasn't coherent.

The plot was seriously lacking, and the storyline wasn't strung together very well at all. In certain points I found myself thinking "You mean there's still more? Shouldn't it be over?!". Also, it seems like they've taken writing cues from the more recent seasons of "The Simpsons", many of the jokes were a bit over the top and at the same time low-brow. One of the things I love about Futurama is the creative and clever writing, the jokes that are a bit more clever, and not all physical comedy.

This movie was rife with moments where you just say "Yuck. That's not funny, it's just kind of gross". Which I think would be a great way to sum up the movie in general. It's not funny, it's just kind of gross.
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