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Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 23, 2009 by  

Hilarious, crude and just outright funny!  Much, much better than the previous Star Wars parody “Family Guy: Blue Harvest” and most of all,  finally….a “Family Guy” release on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side

DURATION: 54 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: Full screen 4×3 aspect ratio (1:33:1 – Full Frame), English 5.1 Dolby Surround, Line 21, English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, English, Spanish, and French stereo and subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian

RATED: Contains language not suitable for all ages.  Parental discretion is advised.

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: December 22, 2009

Created by Seth MacFarlane

Produced by Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann, David A. Goodman

Directed by Dominic Polcino

Written by Kirker Butler

Starring:

Seth MacFarlane as Peter Griffin/Han Solo, Stewie/Darth Vader, Quagmire/C-3P0

Alex Borstein as Lois Griffin/Princess Leia

Seth Green as Chris Griffin/Luke Skywalker, Brian Griffin/Chewbacca

Mila Kunis as Meg Griffin/Monster

Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown/R2-D2

The story of The Empire Strikes Back is retold. Darth Vader (Stewie) is hunting the rebel Luke Skywalker (Chris) and his troops relentlessly across the galaxy. On the ice planet Hoth, Luke has a vision of his late mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert), telling him to go to the Dagobah system to learn the ways of the Force under Jedi Master Yoda (Carl). Meanwhile Princess Leia (Lois) finds herself taking a shine to the scruffy pilot Han Solo (Peter) and, against all odds, the two soon fall in love. But an encounter with Han’s old friend Lando Calrissian (Mort) lands them in the clutches of the Empire. Envisioning this, Luke chooses to forgo his Jedi training to save his friends. It all comes to a head in a climactic confrontation with Darth Vader himself…

In 2006, Seth MacFarlane received George Lucas’s blessing to create a Star Wars “Family Guy” hour-long episode titled “Family Guy: Blue Harvest” which would be based on “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”.

The series would celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the “Star Wars” franchise and would be the season premiere of the sixth season of “Family Guy”.  Needless to say, many “Star Wars” fans jumped at the chance to own the DVD release as it came in a limited edition box set.  Also, the DVD would feature a much more mature content than what was aired on television.

Sure enough, after the success of the first “Star Wars” adaptation, a sequel titled “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side” was created for season eight (it was planned originally as the finale for season seven) and would be released on Blu-ray and DVD. As “Blue Harvest” was loosely based on “Star Wars IV: A New Hope”, this sequel is based on “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back”.  The Blu-ray release contains mature language and is bundled with a digital copy of the animated film.

In “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”, with a power outage, the family are without their television set and the children ask their father Peter Griffin to tell them another “Star Wars” story and thus begins Peter’s tale.

Similar to the live action film, Peter gives his retelling of the “Empire Strikes Back” storyline of the group fighting their enemies in Hoth and Luke Skywalker (Chris) along with R2-D2 (Cleveland) going to train in the Dagobah System to receive training from Yoda (Carl).

While Han Solo (Peter), Chewbacca (Brian), Princess Leia (Lois) and C-3P0 (Quagmire) escape from Hoth and try to evade Darth Vader (Stewie) and the stormtroopers, along with the Empire’s tie fighters and find refuge in Cloud City on the Planet Bespin and meet up with Lando Calrissian (Mort).

The sequel actually features a storyline that pays homage to “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back” but has its share of storyline twists through Peter’s retelling of the story.  We get a little “Rocky IV”, “Juicy Fruit” and even Ryan Seacrest.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” is presented in 1080p High Definition via Full Screen (1:33:1) and AVC @ 33MBPS.  This film actually looks much, much better than “Blue Harvest” as the animation has much more shading and looks absolutely vibrant on Blu-ray.  According to Seth MacFarlane on the audio commentary, for the seventh season they started making their series in HD.  But because the presentation is in 4:3 format, some Blu-ray fans may feel that this is unacceptable.  Otherwise, the picture quality is much more detailed and vibrant than “Blue Harvest”.

Where this special episode shines is its lossless audio soundtrack.  The John Williams music sounds absolutely gorgeous on HD (and will definitely make fans salivate to hear their favorite “Star Wars” songs on this special as they wait for a Blu-ray version of the “Star Wars” films to be released) and with this film featuring so many special effects, there is good use of the surround, rear surround channels and also LFE.  From the fight in Hoth to the fight between the Millennium Falcon and the Tie Fighters, there is great use of audio in “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Danish, Sweden and Norwegian.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary  y Executive Producers Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann and David A. Goodman, Writer Kirker Butler, Director Dominic Polcino and actor Seth Green - For many of the cast and crew, they did not see the final cut, so they seem to be amazed by the work they have done.  Overall, a hilarious commentary.
  • Family Guy Fact-Ups – While watching the full episode, various facts related (and unrelated) to the film pop up on screen.
  • “Family Guy – Something Something Something Dark Side” Table Read – Featuring Acts 1 & 2 – (49:27) The actual table reading for “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”.  Very awesome that this was included on the Blu-ray release.
  • Sneak Peek of “Family Guy – Episode VI:  We Have a Bad Feeling About This” Table Read – (2:26) A taste of what is upcoming in the “Episode VI” with a two-minute look at the Table Read.
  • Behind-The-Scenes Featurette – “The Darkside of Poster Art” – (9:17) Mick Cassidy (character designer) and Joe Vaux (painter) talk about their work on the poster for “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” and paying homage to Roger Kastel’s original “Star Wars” poster artwork.
  • Animatic Scene-to-Scene with Commentary by Director Dominic Polcino – (6:36) Director Dominic Polcino’s shows us the rough animatic (pencil drawn rough reel) and compare them with the final animated reel.  Polcino talks about how the making of the episode is the final pencil-drawn animatic done for “Family Guy”.

It’s important to note that there is a limited edition of this release available on Blu-ray via a a lunch box set which comes with a t-shirt.

When I first watched the first Family Guy – Star Wars related film “Blue Harvest”, I had some mix feelings about it.  As a “Family Guy” fan and having owned the seasons on DVD prior, I thought that the musical numbers and the lecherous Herbert as Obi-Wan Kenobi really dragged the story down.  Sure, there was a lot of humor but I felt the film started to go from high to low.  With “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”… no musical numbers, less of the creepy Herbert and pretty much focused on parodying the “Empire Strikes Back” storyline very well.  So, I did enjoy this episode (or film…whatever you want to call it) a lot.

I also enjoyed the animation for the series.  There was a lot more detail, colors stood out and it just looked cool!  Also, it was great to have a “Family Guy” release on Blu-ray (even if it was presented in 4:3) and the special features were pretty enjoyable to watch, especially the table reading!

For the parents who don’t see the rating on the back of the box and were curious about watching this on family night, “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” has its share of profanity.  A good number of F-words, S-words and sexual humor, so you don’t necessarily want to watch this with your children.

Overall, “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” was a hilarious, crazy and fun episode.  The fact that crew focused on incorporating “Empire Strikes Back” and not deviating too much of the storyline was pretty cool.  Sure, there is some “Rocky IV” and “Juicy Fruit” homage included but I would rather have that than the musical bit that was featured in “Blue Harvest”.  It’s going to be interesting to see where the film goes for “Family Guy – Episode VI:  We Have a Bad Feeling About This” since another popular film was hinted at the end of this episode but in the end, I really did enjoy this episode.  Hilarious, crude and just outright funny!

If you are a big fan of “Family Guy” and you enjoyed “Family Guy: Blue Harvest”, you’ll definitely enjoy “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”!

And when you’re all done watching the Blu-ray release of “Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side”, definitely check out the following related games online:

Create your own scrolling message (like mad libs):
http://www.familyguywritteninthestars.com/

Facebookers – answer some questions and find out who’s your daddy (a pay off clip will be added later this week):
http://www.familyguywhosyourdaddy.com

Game – use the force to help Luke fight Darth Stewie:
http://www.familyguyunarmedanddangerous.com/




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