Fox // 2010 // 57 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // January 19th, 2011
"Join us, Luke. Come to the backside of the force!"
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away...Family Guy was good. Sure, it had its knockers -- and, yes, there's always been an argument that it is over reliant on random pop culture references -- but dammnit, the show was funny. However, since season seven, and the first Star Wars homage, Blue Harvest, the series has become massively inconsistent in quality. While the highs have seen some masterful episodes, the lows have seen the show scrape the proverbial barrel. And never has this inconsistency been more evident than in the trilogy of Blue Harvest, Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, and the final chapter, It's a Trap!. While moments of Blue Harvest fell flat (just think about that Dirty Dancing sequence. Yuk!), it was still a glorious love letter to Lucas' masterpiece. Following that was the slicker, funnier -- and much like the film it mocks -- superior Something, Something, Something, Dark Side. And so, rather fittingly, we end with the absolute stinker that is It's a Trap!, which marks a new low for Seth McFarlane's show.
Like all the worst Family Guy episodes, It's A Trap! is far too reliant on random references. But even worse, it seems the well of Star Wars gags has run dry this time out, meaning that more jokes this time around seem to be parodying Family Guy itself. A running gag sees Seth Green ribbed mercilessly, while the inclusion of characters from American Dad! and The Cleveland Show is a continuation of this self-cannibalizing trend. Of course, no matter how out of left field they may appear to be, some jokes inevitably hit the mark. Fans of A Christmas Story should enjoy a scene where Jabba triple dog dares a kid to lick Peter Griffins frozen ass. But beyond the toilet humor, there is little here that will raise a smile, and all too often jokes are stretched beyond breaking point. A sequence set at the Sarlacc Pit is a prime example of this; while the speeder-bike chase, re-imagined here as an off-road cycling event, is a good idea, it never really goes anywhere and quickly outstays its welcome. Throw in a dumb sock puppet gag, and not even Seth McFarlane's apologies for the poor quality of the special during the opening crawl are enough to win back the goodwill of anyone buying this disc.
Another sure sign of a series on the slide is the noticeable increase in both profanities and gore. There are a number of (unnecessary) f-bombs dropped, while the depiction of Ewoks as bloodthirsty savages is less funny onscreen that it undoubtedly sounded when pitched by the writers.
Visually, Family Guy: It's a Trap! is A-MA-ZING! Seriously, the CGI used to create the various Scout Walkers, X-Wings and Imperial Star Destroyers is of an unbelievably high quality. Dogfights are often more sumptuous to behold than the very films they are spoofing. If only the writers had been up to the same standard...
The 1.78:1 anamorphic presentation of Family Guy: It's a Trap! is excellent. Colors are vibrant, while the picture is never less than razor sharp. The 5.1 soundtrack also impresses, with some excellent sound effects employed throughout.
Extras included on the disc are banal to say the least. The commentary track, though no doubt fun to make, is nothing more than a few friends shouting obscenities at each other -- fun to partake in, but not necessarily to listen to. Perhaps setting a new low for supplemental materials is the inclusion of "Star Wars: Trivial Pursuit: The Ultimate Championship." Pitting four Family Guy writers against each other for a game of Star Wars: Trivial Pursuit is not the most riveting experience. The rest of the extras are varying shades of crap; with outtakes, animatics, and a God-awful message from Darth Stewie.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 57 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Family Guy