Friday, February 12, 2010

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008)

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs is an animated science-fiction comedy, the second of the four Futurama straight-to-DVD films.[1] The film was released in the United States and Canada on June 24, 2008,[2][3] followed by a UK release on June 30, 2008 and an Australian release on August 6, 2008.[4] It has been confirmed by David X. Cohen on the audio commentary that the title refers to the phrase for sexual intercourse "the beast with two backs" which originated in English in Shakespeare's Othello. Comedy Central aired the movie as a "four-part epic" on October 19, 2008.[5] The movie won an Annie Award for "Best Animated Home Entertainment Production."


A month after the universe was ripped open in Futurama: Bender's Big Score, people decide to go on with their lives. Amy and Kif get married, and Fry starts dating a girl named Colleen. This upsets Bender, since Fry is spending more time with Colleen than with him. Fry decides to move in with her despite his discovery that she has four additional boyfriends living with her. After his first evening at Colleen's apartment where she reveals she is going on a date with a sixth boyfriend, Fry breaks up with her.

At a scientific conference, Professor Farnsworth proposes an expedition to investigate the anomaly, and beats his archrival Wernstrom in a game of Deathball (a gigantic version of Labyrinth), winning the right to mount it. When Bender explores the anomaly his touch causes it to emit a shockwave which sends him and the ship flying. Farnsworth and Wernstrom discover that only living beings can pass through the anomaly; electrical objects such as robots are either repelled or destroyed. The two plan to initiate another expedition, but are rejected in favor of a military assault on the anomaly led by Zapp Brannigan.

Meanwhile, both Fry and Bender begin to feel lonely. Fry sneaks aboard Zapp's ship's lint cabinet just before the ship takes off so that he can find solace on the other side of the anomaly. Bender attempts suicide, only to be approached by the League of Robots, a secret society of robots who like to blather about and tease humans, led by his hero Calculon. Bender becomes a very prestigious member due to his perceived hatred of humans, although Calculon suspects that Bender is deceiving them.

As Fry enters the anomaly, Zapp's plan of attack goes awry, killing Kif. On the other side of the anomaly, Fry comes across a colossal, one-eyed, tentacled creature, which begins forcing its appendages through the anomaly. The tentacles attack everyone in the universe, and nothing can stop them since they are made of electro-matter that can only be harmed by other electro-matter. Fry returns to Earth with a tentacle attached to the back of his neck and tells everyone to "love the tentacle." The tentacles attach themselves to everyone, causing their victims to fall in love with it. With the monster's influence spreading, Fry becomes the pope of a new religion established to worship the tentacles.

Bender, meanwhile, believes that the League of Robots should uphold a strict anti-humans policy. However, when he assists his friends in eluding the tentacles, he is caught red-handed by the other members. When Calculon calls his bluff about hating humans, he challenges Calculon to a duel in which he cheats, damaging Calculon's arm and destroying part of their headquarters. Calculon is outraged by Bender's behavior and resigns from the League, making Bender its new leader.

Leela ends up the last person in the universe unattached to a tentacle. She examines a tentacle fragment and discovers that they are actually reproductive organs, revealing this to everyone at a universal religious gathering. The creature, named "Yivo", admits that mating with everyone in the universe was its original intention, but explains that it is now truly in love with them. As a sign of good faith, Yivo resurrects Kif, who is displeased to learn that Zapp lured the lonely Amy into sleeping with him. Yivo asks to begin the relationship anew and removes its tentacles from everyone.

Yivo takes everyone in the universe out on a date at the same time, which goes extremely well. However, the universe's leaders feel that Yivo has made no commitment and sends a delegation to break up with it. Before they can do so, Yivo proposes marriage and they accept. Bender becomes fed up with being neglected by Fry and makes a deal with the Robot Devil to create an army of robots to take over the world and rebuild his human-hating reputation. Before Bender can attack, humanity leaves Earth willingly to live on Yivo, along with the other civilizations of the universe, moving onto Yivo's body via golden escalators. This leaves Bender lonely once more and stagnates the robot population, who are built to serve humans. As the robots inherit Earth, everyone else promises never to make contact with other universes. Fry, however, cannot help writing a letter to Bender, which is sent without Yivo knowing. Leela does not trust Yivo's motives at first, but when she sees that everyone is happy, she succumbs to her own loneliness and accepts Yivo.

Bender receives Fry's letter, which is made out of electro-matter, and decides to set out and "rescue" his friend from his relationship with Yivo. He and his army harpoon Yivo from the other side of the tear in space-time and tow it into their own universe where they are able to attack it. Fry convinces Bender to spare Yivo, but Yivo discovers that the robots' weapons are lined with the electro-matter from Fry's letter, allowing them to harm it. Since Fry broke his promise to never make contact with other universes, Yivo breaks up with the universe and makes everyone leave. While everyone else leaves aboard Bender's ship, Yivo finds consolation with Colleen, and they begin a relationship as they head back to the other universe together and close the anomaly.

Everyone laments that they will never know happiness or love with Yivo again. Fry decides to find love elsewhere and tries to ask Leela out, but she rejects him since he had already stopped trying once he met Colleen; Kif and Amy's relationship is strained due to Amy's affair with Zapp; and Farnsworth and Wernstrom go back to being archrivals. Bender breaks up his friends' quarrel and assures them that what they experienced was not love, as love is a jealous, hard-to-get emotion that does not share itself with the world. Bender shares his own love with Fry and Leela by giving them a big hug which, in turn, actually strangles them.


Opening Sequence

Futurama's common opening sequence and opening caption are present in the film as in all its episodes, though unlike the first film the opening sequence is not extended for a cast list. The opening subtitle reads "The proud result of prison labor" and the opening cartoon consists of a short black and white cartoon after the normal sequence. However, rather than immediately crash through the large television billboard, the Planet Express Ship is absorbed by it and is transformed into an appropriately animated black and white version of itself. The cartoon to which they're transported is a spoof of Steamboat Willie starring Zoidberg, Leela (in the Mickey role), Fry, Bender. The Planet Express Ship then flies by the moon and zaps the Hydroponic Farmer from "The Series Has Landed" with the ship's ray gun. Following the cartoon, the Planet Express Ship crashes out from the television billboard.

In the Comedy Central broadcast, the opening sequence is shortened to remove the entire scene where the Planet Express crew flies by the moon. In the opening sequence of the second part, the opening subtitle reads "It Makes a Nice Sandwich", and the third part's opening subtitle is "0100100001101001", which is the binary representation of the ASCII encoding of the word "Hi", and the fourth part's opening subtitle is "The Robots are Coming! The Robots are Coming!". The opening cartoon of the last three parts is the same one seen in "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", that of Futurama's own opening sequence.

Guest stars

The film features voice talents from: Brittany Murphy as Colleen, Fry's new polyamorous girlfriend; David Cross as Yivo, the planet-sized tentacled omnipotent alien; Professor Stephen Hawking reprising himself, this time as his own head in a jar; and Dan Castellaneta reprising his role as the Robot Devil.[6] Aside from her regular work on the animated series King of the Hill, this was Murphy's last voiceover role before her death in December 2009.


The DVD features a commentary track, deleted scenes, and footage animated for the Futurama video game retitled Futurama: The Lost Adventure. The Lost Adventure also features its own commentary track.


1.^ Vo, Alex (2007-07-30). "Comic-Con Premieres New Futurama Footage; Plus, We Interview Futurama's Rich Moore". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
2.^ Lambert, David (2008-02-28). "Futurama — Release Date, Cost, Extras, & More for The Beast with a Billion Backs".
3.^ "Friday Night Lights and Other Announced Releases". TV Guide. 2008-02-28.
4.^ "Futurama — The Beast With A Billion Backs @ EzyDVD". EzyDVD. 2008-05-13.
5.^ "Comedy Central Press - Press Release". Comedy Central. 2008-09-25. 6.^ "Can't Get Enough Futurama: Four New Futurama DVDs". Retrieved 2007-08-01.


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