Fox // 2010 // 57 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Justice Michael Stailey // December 21st, 2010
Clear some space for the third chapter of the funniest trilogy in the galaxy!
In the final segment of the A long time ago... crawl, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane writes...
"Look, just do me a huge favor and lower your expectations, okay? Just this one time. I promise I'll make it up to you. I mean, Star Wars, fine. Empire, still not bad. But on this one we ran out of gas."
I've never been a fan of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and it remains my least favorite of the original trilogy. Whether that's a result of going through my snobbish art/music/film phase at the time of its release, or I was just overly disappointed with the story, I'm not exactly sure. Either way, it's been a long time since I revisited the film, and doing so through Seth and company's warped send of humor hasn't doesn't anything to change my mind.
I reviewed Family Guy: Blue Harvest, the original Star Wars parody, and found it to be a love letter to a film that helped shape Generation X. The detail and care that went into was evident in every frame, and though the jokes didn't always land (as is often the case with the series), this hour-long special was a great addition to the Star Wars universe. I passed on reviewing the Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back parody -- Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side -- only because the DVD screener we received was horribly mangled by FedEx. So here we are with Jedi and once more I go head first into the breach. Bad idea.
Nine seasons into this franchise, why do I get the distinct impression that 85 percent of Family Guy humor is intended for no one other than the writing staff. They must seriously sit around and crack themselves up. Unfortunately, none of it translates to the screen. Here's just a brief taste of what you can expect...
Alec Baldwin as Jabba the Hut, Rush Limbaugh as the Rancor monster, Meg as the Sarlac, 10 speed bicycles instead of Speeder Bikes, Jedi is a religion and therefore exempt from taxes, R2-D2 laser hair removal, Osama Bin Laden hiding on Tatooine, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme sung in Ewok by C-3PO, Ewoks can smell a woman's period, "Fire at Will" means the assassination of Lost in Space's Will Robinson, the '80s band Power Station powers the new Death Star, Darth and the Emperor can only get Luke angry by ripping on Seth Green, a painfully long running gag spoofing baseball pitching signals, a live-action sock puppet, and video cut-ins by Conway Twitty and Ted Knight. Even the jabs at Jedi plot holes and inconsistencies in the Star Wars mythology come across as half-hearted.
Like the first installment, the technical work director Peter Shin and his team did in crafting this episode is phenomenal. The blending of traditional and computer animation, the detailed representation of the Star Wars universe, the use of John William's original score and Ben Burtt's sound design; it's all spot on. But who the heck is going to care? This is a 57 minute spoof that elicits the sum total of zero laughs. A vapid, inane, head-shaking waste of time. Seriously. Even the most rabid Star Wars fans are going to find it hard to defend the existence of this thing. Netflix it if you must, but for gods sake save your money for original trilogy on Blu-ray.
Presented in 1.78:1 1080p widescreen, the imagery is crystal clear, the colors pop, the visual effects sizzle, and the blacks are solid. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track also does a bang-up job, save for the menus where the volume level is way off. You'll find subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish, but no alternate language audio tracks, which is fine since the jokes aren't going to be any funnier when translated.
As for the bonus features, there's far more than a release like this deserves, none of which you'll find any more entertaining than the feature.
* Commentary -- Seth MacFarlane, executive producer/co-writer David Goodman, co-writer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, producer Shannon Smith, and supervising director Peter Shin. The track starts out with Seth shouting, "Hey Fuckers! It's Groundhog Day!" and goes downhill from there.
* Animatic (40 min) -- The entire episode in pre-animation form. And no, it's not any funnier.
* Star Wars Trivial Pursuit: Ultimate Championship (32 min) -- The Family Guy: It's a Trap production team plays Trivial Pursuit and they want us to watch? Seriously?!
* Drawing with Peter Shin (20 min) -- Watch Peter sketch Luke. Zzzz...
* Making the Scene (7 min) -- Peter walks us through two scenes from their animatic origin to final animation.
* Lost Voice Mail from Darth to Luke (2 min) -- I thought they were going to do an Alec Baldwin thing. That would have been funnier.
* Sock Puppet Outtakes (2 min) -- The epitome of negative value-add.
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
Seth at least had the balls to apologize in advance and admit he was simply cashing a paycheck. That deserves some modicum of respect. But I can't forgive being subjected to this. These talented animators need to find a way to use their powers for good instead of evil.
More guilty than you can possibly know.
Review content copyright © 2010 Michael Stailey; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Top 20 Review Debuts: #15
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 57 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* IMDb: Family Guy: It's a Trap
* IMDb: Family Guy