A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 114 – Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs

Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs – June 22nd, 2010

When we begin the second Futurama movie the rip in space is still there, being terrifying but not really doing anything. Life’s going on as normal, aside from people wondering just what the rip will do. Fry’s got a new girlfriend, Colleen, but it turns out she has four other boyfriends. Unable to handle a quintuplesome, he breaks up with her and goes on a mission to explore the space rip. And up until about there, I’m pretty on board with the movie. I’m even cool through the B plot with Bender joining the secret League of Robots and the minor plot point of Kif getting killed in an attempt to destroy whatever’s on the other side of the rip (he comes back). It’s when Fry comes back that the movie kind of loses me.

See, I don’t hate this movie, but bits of it squick me and even though it’s far more linear in nature than the first one it feels a lot more disjointed to me. I’m not sure what it is in particular that makes me feel like it’s broken up into more bits than last night’s. Maybe it’s that the plot is so linear but doesn’t flow smoothly. The transitions from bit to bit feel very defined. Maybe it makes it easier to break this one up into episodes, but that leads to it feeling odd as a movie. And then there’s the whole tentacle thing.

It’s like someone in the writing room said “Hey, you know how tentacle porn is an internet joke? Let’s totally make a parody of tentacle porn!” and then it wasn’t nearly as funny as it was meant to be. It’s kind of ooky, really. When Fry comes back from beyond the rip, he’s attached to a giant tentacle monster than wants to stick a tentacle in the necks of everyone in our universe. Or whatever neck equivalent is available. People with tentacles sound like a brainwashed cult, preaching love of the tentacle and trying to stick tentacles onto other people whether they want it or not. Leela resists enough to check out the tentacles and figures out that they’re actually “genticles” and are doing exactly what you’d expect. Um. Ew. Like I said. Ooky. Thankfully, the rest of the universe agrees and pulls the tentacles out. But then ooky again! Everyone goes on a mass date with the tentacles (which belong to a creature named Yivo who is the sole being in it’s universe). Eventually everyone decides to move to the other side of the rip and live on Yivo’s surface in perfect harmony, forever and ever. Until Bender ruins it all.

Now, part of my meh reaction to this one is the whole tentacle thing, I admit. It bothers me not because of the free love/polyamory theme, but because of the uninvited intimate alien contact theme. Sure, it’s done cartoonishly and it’s obviously disapproved of once it’s discovered what’s going on, but my gut cringes at it. And it’s a shame, because there are a lot of truly funny moments and lines in this one. Morbo’s got some good bits, and the whole thing with Bender and the League of Robots is great. Once everyone gets to Yivo’s surface and is all happy it’s got less ooky and more funny. But add the previous ooky to the choppy pacing and the convenient introduction of Colleen as the movie’s equivalent of Chekhov’s Gun, and it’s just not funny enough to make it worth putting in all that often. I was struck tonight by how annoyed I am that all of that makes me unlikely to watch this much, because it means I miss the funny stuff. Maybe I should just treat it like a series of episodes and only watch the ones that don’t bug me.

June 22, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

June 22, 2010

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

This is my least favorite of the Futurama movies. As such this is only the second time I’m watching the movie. Or maybe the third (since I think I must have watched it with commentary.) It’s not that the movie doesn’t have a lot of good laughs to it. There are jokes aplenty, and references to the old show, but it doesn’t really fit together as well as yesterday’s movie. There are three simultaneous and slightly interdependent plots, but I didn’t really enjoy any of them.

Plot A links us directly to yesterday’s movie. It involves the rend in the universe that resulted from over use of the universal machine time code. It turns out that tear leads to another universe which has only a single occupant, the colossal betentacled beast known as Yivo. And a large part of this movie has to do with Yivo’s invasion of our own universe, and various complications that result from it.

Plot 2 has to do with a random love interest for Fry in the form of the polyamorous police chief Colleen. (Brittany Murphy, which means that we’ve now watched both the movies we own that feature her.) It feels very thrown together and spur of the moment, especially coming right after the previous movie where Fry learned so much about his love for Leela.

And Plot Mongoose has to do with Bender joining the League of Robots, a sort of gentleman’s club for effete robot snobs.

A whole bunch of stuff happens. Amy marries Kif. Kif is unceremoniously killed off. (I felt deep shame at laughing at jokes having to do with his death – Kif has always been one of my favorite characters from the show.) Yivo enslaves the entire population of our universe. Bender finally decides to kill all humans. There are scenes with characters from the series who didn’t make it into the first movie, such as Professor Wernstrom and the Robot Devil. And, yes, there are a lot of good jokes that made me laugh. (Amongst my favorites are the names of all the video games in an arcade that Fry visits to console himself when he is feeling lonely. I want to play Normal Combat and Miss Marple Madness.) But as a whole the movie just made me feel uneasy.

Maybe it’s that the whole thing ends on such a down note, with pretty much all the core characters fighting with each other. Maybe it’s that while Bender’s Big Score had at its core the timeless romance between Fry and Leela this movie feels more like a one-off episode. Crazy things happen to the Planet Express crew, but in the end things return mostly to normal. Maybe it’s the fact that the movie tries so hard to defy expectations with the invading tentacle monster Yivo. At first shklee’s depicted as a monster, which leads to some fun scares and a lot of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers sort of tension, but then Yivo becomes more of a clingy significant other type character, and the movie tries hard to go the “the only real monsters were us” sort of route. After having all this tension and suspense in the middle part of the movie it winds up being unsettling and kind of hard to watch.

In the end I come away with the sense that pretty much every one of the core cast members has been kind of a jerk to pretty much every other one, and to Yivo as well. It makes me feel kind of slimy, and I just don’t enjoy it much.

June 22, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment