Animation
 

Family Guy: Blue Harvest

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            Every Star Wars fan knows that there are parodies about their favorite movie out there.  Some are sanctioned by George Lucas and some are underground.  Some are terrific and some are so horrible they’re offensive.  Tons of television shows throw nods to Lucas and his amazing creation.  But only one network television cartoon has dedicated an entire episode of its lucrative season to a movie the entire cast and crew love.  I found a DVD copy of that hour long special episode and it was with much happiness that I was able to watch Family Guy: Blue Harvest in its entirety with no commercial interruptions.

            Blue Harvest begins with the Griffin family all seated in front of the television.  Suddenly, the power goes out and the Griffin family are forced to find another form of entertainment to amuse themselves with.  Peter Griffin decides to tell them a story…the story of Star Wars.  What follows is Star Wars: A New Hope done in Family Guy fashion with Lois as Princess Leia, Cleveland as R2-D2, Quagmire as C-3P0, Stewie as Darth Vader, Chris as Luke Skywalker, Herbert as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Peter as Han Solo and Brian as Chewbacca.

            Seth MacFarlane and the crew that work on each episode of Family Guy, extremely excited to be working on an entire episode dedicated to their favorite film, pulled out all of the stops when it comes to Blue Harvest.  The artwork in regards to the spaceships, the Death Star, the background terrain - everything was incredibly detailed. 

            Blue Harvest was very dedicated to A New Hope while at the same time being a credible parody.  Serious scenes like the Tantive IV being attacked by an Imperial ship were given that comedic touch by displaying a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker on the back of the Imperial starship.  Stewie’s Darth Vader has some terrific lines.  When Leia (Lois) tells Tarkin that she sensed his foul smell as soon as she came aboard, Stewie responds that the smell was him - “I made a Dark Doodoo.  I Sithed my pants.  My diaper has gone over to the Dark Side.”  Han, Luke and Chewie’s elevator ride to the detention level is accompanied by Star Wars Muzak and during one of the stops along the way, the trio witness a stormtrooper wedding.  There are just so many funny moments in Blue Harvest, I couldn’t begin to describe them all.

            I found myself laughing from the very beginning - the opening screen crawl was hilarious -  to the showing of the end credits.  As a fan of Star Wars, I can appreciate the hard work put into this parody.  As a fan of Family Guy, I loved the insertion of the show’s characters into the various roles of A New Hope.  Thus, far, I think that this is the best animated parody of a Star Wars film that I have ever seen.

            The DVD version of this episode comes complete with some very interesting extras.  A Conversation with Star Wars Creator George Lucas features Seth MacFarlane in a twelve-minute interview with Lucas himself.  Despite its short length, this is by far the best interview I have ever watched with George Lucas.  It seemed as though he found himself very comfortable with MacFarlane and was more inclined to answer his questions honestly and without restraint.  It was a side of George Lucas that most people rarely see in televised interviews.  Once in a Lifetime: The Making of Blue Harvest is a featurette which shows all of the hard work that MacFarlane and the rest of the crew went through to get the episode just right.  The fact that everyone working on the television series is a Star Wars fan meant that everyone wanted a piece of the action, no matter how small the contribution.  The Animatic Version of Blue Harvest allows viewers to see what the unpolished version of the episode looked like.  Fans of animation will want to view both versions of Blue Harvest  as well as the featurette to note the various processes involved in creating a show of this magnitude.

            Whether you are a fan of Star Wars, Family Guy or both, Blue Harvest is an episode you will not want to miss.  Faithful to both Star Wars and Family Guy, it provides tons of laughter and amazing oohs and aahs at the amount of detail put into the artwork.  This is also an episode you will want to watch more than once.  As in Star Wars: A New Hope, there are plenty of little things you may miss while watching it the first time around.  I can’t wait for Family Guy’s upcoming parodies of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi!  I’m sure they will be well worth the wait!

 

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