Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

 
More risque, adult jokes in TV show's feature DVD.
  • Review Date: June 19, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Certainly world domination and star wars represent socially objectionable behavior as does affixing ones "gentacles" to another without their knowledge. But the series regulars are mostly decent folk who are good friends -- even Bender, who is obnoxious and foul-mouthed but has a hidden tender side. Fry grapples with issues of jealousy and the meaning of fidelity, themes that are actually treated thoughtfully for such a zany film.

Violence

Death of cute animals, specifically a koala; robot brawls; use of day-glow colored laser ray guns; Kiff (Amy's new husband) is killed but comes back to life.

Sex

A very randy captain Zapp Brannigan makes sexual suggestions and sexual overtures. Characters are seen in bed together. A key plot point involves giant tentacles/ "gentacles," which enable a creature to have sex with scores of humans.

Language

Frequent rudeness, the worst of which is "shut up" "crackpot moron," and "bite my ass."

Consumerism

As in The Simpsons, the characters eat, drink, and use fictitious products. The Futurama franchise is expansive, from TV shirts to video games to collectible waste baskets. This direct-to-DVD set includes four movies total.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Robot smokes a cigar; depictions of silly inebriation; a post-coital cigarette is shared.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated straight-to-DVD movie (the second of four Futurama films) has the same level of sassiness as the Fox TV series. There's bad behavior galore, lots of cheekiness and discourtesy -- oh yes, and tons of intergalactic warfare, planetary peril, diabolical scheming, threats of human obliteration, pummeling, name calling, and the like. A god-like alien who seems at first fiendish, attaches its tentacles to the bodies of humans in what is later explained to be copulation. At one point most earthlings are mind-controlled into cult-like compliance. It's however mostly harmless silliness and so "out there" as to have minimal real-life relevance.

What's the story?

Following directly after the events of the first in the DVD series, Bender's Big Score, a giant rift in space and timeallows an alien monster to invade Earth. The monster takes control of Fry (voiced by Billy West) making him Pope of a new religion or cult, that spreads among earthlings who are grasped by one of the giant tentacles of the alien. The tentacles are later revealed to be "gentacles" and, as it turns out, the alien (Yivo, played by David Cross) has been having his version of intercourse with all the humans. He convinces them that he really wants love and a meaningful relationship (with all of humanity). Only Leela (Katey Sagal) Fry's gutsy, competent one-eyed pal, is skeptical.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A straight-to-DVD movie, THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS is a lesser and longer version of Futurama, which is itself a lesser version of the brilliant and enduring Simpsons TV show. Which basically means this is a stretched-out form of a water-downed copy of a TV classic. That said, it does have some elements of Matt Groening's zany wit, his absurdist humor, and quick-as-lightening visual gags.

These moments are partially eclipsed by an over-stimulating assault of goings on that go by much too fast. From an adult perspective, this is a case of more being less. The antics are nonstop, preposterous, and often silly enough for the young, but the actual storyline, which concerns dating, polygamy, sex, and in essence, going steady with and shacking up with God, is a tad complex and too sophisticated for younger viewers. Still, Futurama's vast creativity, out-of-the-box storytelling, and eye-catching animation makes this movie, like the series, terrifically unique.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the future might look like in 100 years. What transportation will we have? What will science be capable of? Would you want to be frozen (as Fry was in the original Futurama back-story)?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 19, 2008
DVD release date:June 23, 2008
Cast:Billy West, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche
Director:Peter Avanzino
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old November 25, 2009
age 11+
 

zapp my concern

zapp
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old June 16, 2009
age 12+
 

Great Movie. Mild Concerns

I have always been a really big fan of the series so this was a real enjoyable movie for me. I think though even if u don't watch the show or haven't seen it this movie will still be funny. The content is iffy but it's only references, and most kids won't get it in the first place. So all in all great movie for 12 and up.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5, 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byJamesRobertson January 4, 2009

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass