Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008)
Article 5836 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Peter Avanzino
Featuring the voices of Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio
What it is: Full-length Home Video version of an animated TV show
When a crack in the universe appears above the Earth, the members of Planet Express investigate.
After its first cancellation and before its later TV revival, “Futurama” filled in the dead time with the release of three made-for-video movies, of which this is the second. Having become a fan of the show, I picked them up and watched them, and I remember feeling that the first was easily the best, and each succeeding movie suffered a decline of quality. This one features a double-entendre title partially modeled off a very cheap AIP movie of the fifties. The story is mostly focused on Fry and how a rocky romantic relationship eventually leads to his encounter with a tentacled alien from another universe that has designs on the human race. Most of the other characters have their subplots, with only Hermes and Dr. Zoidberg remaining bystanders. This one is passable but not the show at its best. I like the first half better, especially when you find out how scientists settle their difference in the year 3008. Once the tentacled creature goes into action, things get a little tiresome, and I think the main story-line would have worked better as one of the regular episodes of the series.