Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs

directed by Peter Avanzino

Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs poster  
This movie follows on from Bender's Big Score. A rift has opened up in space, leaving everyone terrified and bemused. But the possibility of imminent death has left everyone feeling frisky. Fry (Billy West) has found love with Colleen (Brittany Murphy), and they're blissfully happy. Revoltingly happy, as far as Leela (Katey Sagal) is concerned. Meanwhile Amy (Lauren Tom) has agreed to be Kif's FonFon Rubok, which is some kind of alien wedding ceremony with extra mud. Zif is the little green alien who's Zapp Brannigan's hapless underling, voiced by Maurice LaMarche.

The team set out on a mission to explore the anomaly, although not without a nonsensical scientific conference and a quick and dangerous game of deathball first. Bender gets upset because he gets treated as though he is expendable by the humans, and he threatens to join the League of Robots to get justice for his kind. Meanwhile Fry discovers that his new girlfriend isn't as perfect as he thought she was, and he wonders whether he can continue with their relationship.

Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs is just as zany and funny as any good episode of Futurama. But when a giant monster with pink tentacles comes through the rift and starts taking over the universe, it's pretty obvious that anything goes. Although nothing quite turns out as you expect it to the story is too silly to induce any fear. There's never any point when the film has you on the edge of your seat.

The jokes come thick and fast, and Bender's always appealing as a loveable bad robot without a trace of a conscience. However this 2D cartoon is always going to look less visually impressive compared with other science fiction movies. So no matter how funny it is, it never really grabs your attention on a visceral level.

The trouble is, Futurama doesn't work at movie length. Just when it should be getting more exciting, it starts to go off the boil as the novelty of the parody wears off. Characters who are very funny in short episodes just don't have the sustained appeal, perhaps because their personalities are as two-dimensional as their appearances. After a while it's easy to stop caring about them and their absurd antics. It this movie were making an important point about something it might be more compelling, but this is just a light caper on the theme of love and jealousy. The first half is fun, but the second part is too much of the same thing all over again.

Film Details

Year: 2008

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

The Hitchhiker    

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Garth Jennings
Wherever you go in the galaxy, somebody wants you to fill in a form.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson