Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008)

Actors: Brittany Murphy, Dan Castellaneta, David Cross, Phil LaMarr, Billy West
Peter Avanzino
AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
English, French, Spanish
1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date:
June 24, 2008
Run Time:
89 minutes



This second made-for-DVD release won't win any new converts to the Futurama cause, but will most likely please long-time fans of the now defunct animated sci-fi comedy by the creator of The Simpsons.

In some aspects, The Beast with a Billion Backs is better than the previous entry in the series, Bender's Big Score. It is more accessible to newcomers and less keen to simply name check characters from the TV series in an effort to appease fans. On the other hand, it isn't quite as funny as Bender's Big Score and to be honest doesn't come close to the show's best episodes.

The plot is, as always, inventive and involves a rift on space (created in the previous movie) through which a huge tentacled space creature emerges to take over the Earth. Of course, things aren't always what they seem, and Beast with a Billion Backs has some fun with its deliberately over-the-top premise. At the back of one's mind, one however can't escape the nagging feeling that this sort of thing is perhaps best relegated to the show's original 20 minutes format instead of being padded out to a full-length movie.

Along the way, it however makes some amusing and insightful comments on both human nature and society. If you are a sci-fi fan and like The Simpsons then there is no reason why you shouldn't want to check out Futurama. It is however debatable whether this movie is the place to begin though. (Newbies should check out Season 1 instead.)

Where Futurama beats the competition - Family Guy, Robot Chicken, etc. - hands down though is that it isn't merely content to lampoon popular culture and surprise its audience with offside humor, but to actually imbue its characters with genuine emotion and pathos. It may strike some as over-sentimental but illustrates what is lacking from most of today's Simpsons episodes: heart.



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