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MOVIE REVIEW: The Beast with a Billion Backs

REVIEW SUMMARY: Oh how the mighty have fallen. The second ‘direct to DVD’ feature-length Futurama movie is a major letdown.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A tear in the fabric of space-time allows a creature from another universe to slip through and enslave our universe in order to mate with it. Meanwhile Bender breaks into a secret society of robots bent on destroying all humans.


PROS: It’s Futurama, and fans of the show will find something to like. There are lots of callbacks to earlier episodes and in-jokes for the hardcore fans. The actors do a great job with the characters as always.

CONS: Plot is all over the place. Subplot with Bender goes nowhere. Jokes are low-brow gross-outs that aren’t funny.

BOTTOM LINE: I suggest renting this one if you are a fan of the show. Everybody else can give this one a pass.

“That one wasn’t near as funny as the other one,” said my wife as the credits rolled on this most recent direct-to-DVD feature of Futurama. I was sitting there in a state of complete dissapointment and could barely respond. “Yeah”, I think I said. I honestly can’t remember I was in such a fog. I couldn’t even bring myself to check out he bonus material if you can believe that.

So what the heck happened? I keep asking myself that whenever I think about the movie. I’m in shock. And not the good kind of shock that comes from touching your tongue to a 9v battery.

The plot is so confused it had to have happened in editing. Surely it wasn’t written this way, right? The first movie was obviously so well thought-out and hand-crafted and fits tightly together like a puzzle. This one is a mess, with plotlines that go nowhere and strange ‘play it just for laughs’ sections that go on too long. The part about Bender’s child is a great example. The show has always had quick sight gags, but this one takes forever to develop and pays off very little. They even manage to reduce Dan Castellaneta to a bit part that wasn’t funny. Huh?!

Bender’s subplot – which had the opportunity to be a great ironic statement on the one hand and end up sweet on the other – was rarely funny and ultimately uninteresting. He was entirely out of place and it looked like an afterthought. Could it be they wrote the thing, realized it was too short, then added the Bender subplot? Nah, they wouldn’t pad the film that way, would they?

I don’t know what went wrong – maybe David X Cohen wasn’t as involved in the writing, or maybe the film got messed up in editing. No matter what the cause, this is one of those DVDs that gives ‘direct-to-DVD’ a bad name. Unless your a raving fanboy that has to watch anything and everything Futurama, you can give this one a pass.

3 Comments on MOVIE REVIEW: The Beast with a Billion Backs

  1. As episodes go, it was pretty good.. As a Futurama movie, it was definitely a disappointment. Maybe that was the problem.. they threw a few new episodes in a blender, and this poured out!

    With all that opportunity for tentacle sex, it’s sad that Bender’s Big Score had a lot more cartoon sex appeal. 🙂

    Here’s hoping Bender’s Game and Into the Wild Green Yonder suck considerably less!


  2. I have to disagree. I measure Futurama quality through laughs and the way they play with ideas. I think the first movie stumbled a bit, but this one was up to their usual quality. I loved it. My son agrees with me. My wife and daughter do not.

  3. Patrick // July 29, 2008 at 8:38 am //

    I thought this movie was a disappointment to the Futurama legacy. I have seen all the episodes numerous times and probably watched the first movie at least a dozen times.

    This movie I had a hard time paying attention and havent watched it since the first viewing. Way too many bad sex jokes.

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