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HTF REVIEW - Futurama: Beast with a Billion backs

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw


  • 1,329 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 24 2003
  • Real Name:Michael Osadciw

Posted August 08 2008 - 12:49 PM

Futurama - The Beast with a Billion Backs

Studio: 20th Century Fox
Original Release: 2008
Run Time: 1.29.00
Genre: Cartoon/Comedy

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Colour/B&W: Colour

Audio Formats:
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    Rating: Unrated

  • Release Date: June 24, 2008.

    Film Rating: /

    Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dan Castellaneta, David Cross, Phil LaMarr, Billy West
    Directed by: Peter Avanzino

    Puts the “ick” in Science Fiction!

    I still recall watching the first airing of the Futurama television show. I expected more Simpsons like humour from Matt Groening. Unfortunately it never really grabbed me.

    Fast forward to present and my 7yr old son has taken a liking to the show. Bender action figure in hand we've watched a good number of episodes together. Bender is definitely the favorite for us.

    I was a bit concerned about the "unrated" rating but decided to watch this feature with him.

    For what its worth, this could have easily aired on TV in that regard.

    VIDEO QUALITY: 2.5/5

    I had to split this down the middle. True I'm watching a simple DVD, but of a computer generated cartoon.

    I couldn't help but feel it looked a little soft, the resolution just wasn't there. I skimmed through it a second time to be sure. I believe it has a lot to do with the rather fat lines used in the drawings. The lines are sharp, but overall the image is a bit dull. I was expecting something near the quality of the Simpsons Movie (also SD-DVD) that I watched a while back, but it fell a good bit short in this department. The only exception here would be a short black and white segment at the very beginning that appeared as though it was of a slightly higher resolution.

    Perhaps I set my expectations too high, but it really wasn't any better than watching the TV show.

    On the plus side colors were good and the overall quality remained very consistent throughout the movie. Nothing ever appeared to be processed or compressed.

    Overall, I felt it was a bit of a let down.

    AUDIO QUALITY: 4.5/5

    This is one of the better Dolby Digital soundtracks I've had the pleasure of listening to. Dialogue was pretty much flawless with perhaps a couple of weak points when Yivo (the beast) was talking.

    Imaging was excellent with good use of the surrounds. Several scenes provided for very transparent movement of sound around the room. It was very well balanced.

    I really struggle to find anything to complain about in this department.


    Since it covers all the special features I figured I'd mention that all of them are in 2 channel and heavy compression artifacts are visible in most of the video

  • Futurama: The Lost Episode - I just skimmed this. Animation appears to be a preliminary work for this "lost" episode. There is little shading and "camera" motion is very robotic.

  • Storyboard Anamatics - This would have been neat as a mini feature. Its basically just the first part of the movie again, but with black and white sketches instead of animation. I didn't get the point.

  • Deleted Scenes - Here we have a few short deleted scenes, but most apparently deleted very early in the process. Once again sketches for the most part.

  • David Cross Featurette - Here we get the first real video glimpse that someone put the compression machine on MAX for the special features. There are compression artifacts all over the place.

  • Blooperama - This is not so much a blooper reel as it is a camera in a studio while the voice actors mess up their lines. It was neat to put a real face to the voices, but otherwise not very blooperish.

  • 3D Models with Animator Discussion - More black and white sketches, but now we get to see some of the computer wireframes, and various other layers that make up the final image. I couldn't help but wonder that with the apparent complexity of the wireframes was the final image rather blunt rather than refined.

    A Brief History of Deathball
    - Sketches again...

    Bender's Game Preview
    - A short preview of the next DVD movie. Not much to see here either.

    IN THE END...

    Here I struggle a bit to be polite. Perhaps my 7yr olds comment says it best "Why was it so long?". Granted he is 7, but has happily sat through similar length features before without complaint.

    I think that sums it up pretty good though. I don't feel that there was really enough story there for 89min.

    So here we have a movie with ho-hum video, excellent audio, and a drawn out plot. I'd have to pass given a second chance, and I think that sentiment is shared by my 7yr old.

    James Ferfolia for Michael Osadciw
    Aug 8, 2008.

    Review System

    Michael Osadciw

    THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator

    Video Contributor

    CANADA HiFi Magazine

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