Animation
 

Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            After watching the hilarious Family Guy spoof of Star Wars known as Blue Harvest, I couldn’t wait for the promised sequel.  At the time, they weren’t sure what to name it.  Something, Something, Something Dark Side was the working title.  I guess that stuck as this was the title of the Family Guy DVD I rented this weekend.

            Once again, the electricity has gone out in the Griffin household - they really should check with their electric company about all these blackouts - and the kids beg Peter (Seth MacFarlane) to tell them another Star Wars story.  This time around, Peter tells them the tale of The Empire Strikes BackFamily Guy style.

            Things start off fairly similar to the original film, with Luke Skywalker, otherwise known as Chris Griffin (Seth Green), searching the icy wastelands of Hoth for life.  But then the snow creature attacks…and it’s the Cookie Monster!  The jokes just pile on from there with Han (Peter Griffin) heading out to search for Luke on his Don-Don, a tauntaun with a head like comedian Don Knotts.  In addition to searching for Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance, Something, Something, Something Dark Side finds Darth Vader, otherwise known as Stewie (Seth MacFarlane), in a constant struggle with his housekeeper, Conseula. 

            It all leads up to Han Solo’s encasement in carbonite and Luke Skywalker’s battle with Darth Vader in which he learns he is Vader’s son.  As Chewbacca, who looks a lot like Brian (Seth MacFarlane,  again!), the Griffin’s dog, and Lando head out to Tatooine to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett (who for some strange reason looks like a giant chicken), we get a hint that this isn’t over and that another sequel is yet eminent.

            While nothing can truly beat Blue Harvest, Something, Something, Something Dark Side is an enjoyable sequel.  I have to say that the animation was incredible.  I love the fact that the Family Guy staff are such terrific Star Wars fans that they consider the animation of the ships to be sacred and thus recreate them in such detail, it’s like watching art work shooting across the screen.  Amazing!  I laughed a great deal at quite a few of the spoofs of scenes from The Empire Strikes Back.  To sum up my feelings about this Family Guy special, I’ve broken things down into three categories: Best Jokes, Worst Jokes and Totally Unnecessary.

Best Jokes: 

The R2-D2 Erection - talking a computer console into letting you through a blast door can become rather difficult when the console’s husband shows up. 

Turn the Ship Around - When Leia/Lois (Alex Borstein) tells Lando to turn back in an effort to save Luke Skywalker, things suddenly erupt into a disco song: “Turn the ship around / Leia knows where Luke is / Turn it upside down / Got to get back to Bespin.” 

Dagobah Allstate - When Luke crash lands into the Dagobah swamp, out pops the Allstate commercial guy offering us a new reason why we should select Allstate as our insurance agent. 

The Opening Scroll - Some people ignore this, but I’m telling you that this opening scroll is a must read!  Simply hysterical.  And yes, I agree with the creators of Family Guy that 20h Century Fox has certainly made some costly mistakes over the years. 
 

Worst Jokes: 

This Is No Meteor - There are times when you can take a joke too far.  Yes, we get it - why did Han have to shoot a couple of times in the meteor cave to realize that this was not a meteor?  But to have Han shoot over and over and over and…well, you see my meaning, I’m sure. 

Carbonite Chamber Revelation - No, I’m not talking about how Han was frozen.  I thought that was pretty funny.  It was Han’s reaction to Leia’s admission of love.  There were so many ways the writers could go with this one, but they took the easy - not to mention much less funny - way out.
 

Totally Unnecessary: 

Dark Side Tree Performance - What was the deal with that song and dance number in the Dark Side Tree after Luke cuts the head off the phantom Vader? 

Explicit Language Overload - One or two curse words spoken by normally straight laced Star Wars characters is funny, but after a while, it becomes a little annoying. 

            And now, on to the Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side DVD extras.  To sum it up in two words: totally lame!  There is a featurette entitled The Dark Side of Poster Art in which they discuss the creation of the cover/poster of Something, Something, Something Dark Side which was so boring, I couldn’t even sit through the first minute.  Family Guy Fact-Ups which is really the entire movie all over again with pop-up trivia facts featured here and there.  There is the Something, Something, Something Dark Side Table Read, which is pretty much just that - a bunch of actors sitting around a table reading from the original script.  Even the sneak peek at the next sequel, Episode VI: We Have A Bad Feeling About This Table Read is boring without the animation.

            I wouldn’t say that Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side was a complete disappointment.  After all, I found myself laughing hard, and quite often at that, throughout the DVD.  However, I feel that it wasn’t up to par with Blue Harvest.  But, then again, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Empire Strikes Back.  I loved the movie, but Star Wars: A New Hope will always be my favorite film in the series.  Perhaps because it came first and sparked my interest in the characters.  Maybe that’s why I can’t find full satisfaction in the Blue Harvest sequel.  Who knows?  All I can say is, I laughed hard and often, but Blue Harvest is still my favorite Family Guy Star Wars spoof.

 

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