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Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side(TV) (2009)
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…
For more about Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side and the Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray release, see Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on December 26, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Mila Kunis, Seth Green
» See full cast & crew
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray Review
Seth MacFarlane’s dysfunctional family makes its Blu-ray debut.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, December 26, 2009
Family Guy has always subsisted on a diet of regurgitated pop culture references, so it makes sense that the show would chew lovingly on the Star Wars franchise, a six-course meal unto itself and undoubtedly one of the most influential "pop" phenomena of the 20th century. Find me someone under fifty who doesn't know who Luke Skywalker is, and I'll show you someone who must've been living on Dagobah for the past thirty years. But due to the series' multi- generational popularity, Star Wars spoofs are a dime a dozen, with Spaceballs and Robot Chicken and even—forgive me fanbase—the Star Wars prequels themselves, which are almost embarrassingly self-parodying. Still, there's a near endless audience for this kind of material, and Family Guy can dish it out with the best of 'em. In 2007's Blue Harvest, the Family Guy crew riffed lovingly on Episode IV: A New Hope, showing their love for Star Wars while employing their usual irreverent and absurdist humor. Now they're back in Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, which apes The Empire Strikes Back.
If you didn't see Blue Harvest and you're not sure what to expect from Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, imagine the plot of The Empire Strikes Back crammed into one hour and populated by characters from the Family Guy universe. After a parody of the Star Wars franchise's iconic opening crawl—lambasting 20th Century Fox for giving all merchandising rights to George Lucas—we're taken to the ice planet Hoth, where Chris Griffen, as Luke Skywalker, is dragged to Cookie Monster's icy lair before hacking off the creature's arm to escape. Rescued by Han Solo (Peter Griffen), who rides in on a Don-Don—an animal with Don Knott's head—Luke leads the fight against the Empire's invading force of AT-ATs, or "robot camels" as they're called here. Solo, Princess Leia (Lois), and Chewbacca (Brian the Dog) blast off of Hoth in The Millennium Falcon and hide out in an asteroid field, while Luke sets a course to Dagobah to meet with Yoda and embark on a training sequence spliced with footage from Dolph Lundgren's ridiculous montage in Rocky IV. The rest of Dark Side plays out almost identically to The Empire Strikes Back, all culminating with the trip to Cloud City (which has a J. Crew outlet), Han Solo mooning us while being frozen in carbonite, and Luke facing off against Stewie's pint-sized Darth Vader, who wears an oversized helmet that would put Rick Moranis in Spaceballs to shame.
As in Blue Harvest, Dark Side features some frame-for-frame recreations of iconic Star Wars scenes. The animation here is a hair better than most Family Guy episodes, thanks to an excellent mixture of the show's traditional 2-D animation with 3- D ships that almost look rotoscopped from original Empire footage (though this isn't the case, I later learned from the episode's commentary track).
It's obvious that Seth McFarlane and the other creators of Family Guy are enormous Star Wars fans, as Dark Side is more of a humorous homage than a barbed satire. There are a few jabs at Empire's oddities—like when Brian questions why Lando is wearing Han Solo's clothes at the end of the film—but most of the comedy is derived, in typical Family Guy fashion, from outlandish non sequiturs (Star Trek's George Takei showing up to make kissy-smoochy faces), bizarre pop culture interruptions (Ryan Seacrest getting drawn and quartered by lightsabers), and repetition (Peter heavy breathing for twenty seconds, which is so unfunny that it eventually becomes funny). And there's a lot of great stuff here, especially if you're a Star Wars fan, like Cleveland as R2-D2 getting accused of rape when he "docks" with a locked door, or a stormtrooper who wears a fishnet shirt instead of body armor because he's going out dancing after work. Most of the best lines are given to Stewie, the sexually ambiguous infant forever bent on world domination. I laughed particularly hard when the Emperor asks Stewie, as Vader, to "turn" Luke. "Maybe I can make him go bi," says Stewie, "but all the way?" Overall, Dark Side isn't the best Family Guy episode I've seen, but it's every bit as funny as Blue Harvest, and I look forward to We've Got a Bad Feeling About This, the inevitable Return of the Jedi parody.
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray, Video Quality
Something, Something, Something, Dark Side marks Family Guy's Blu-ray debut, and compared to cable broadcasts and previous DVD releases, this episode's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer presents an excellent upgrade in video quality. I'm sure some folks are still wary about how 1080p can benefit simple 2-D animation, but chuck Dark Side into your Blu-ray drive and you'll immediately notice the advantages. The outlines of characters and objects, for one, are much tighter with the increase in resolution. So, while you may not get the added textural detail that you'd find in a celluloid film, the image is much more crisp and defined when compared to its DVD counterpart. Similarly, black levels are deeper, and colors—even with a palette as basic as Family Guy's—have more presence, giving the picture a sense of "pop" that isn't nearly as apparent in standard definition. Just as notably, there are no wayward artifacts here, no noise, macroblocking or unsightly jaggies, though I did notice some extremely slight banding in one Cloud City sunset. This could easily be source related, though, and not a product of the transfer itself. Either way, as I said, it's barely perceivable. Overall, I'm really pleased with Family Guy's first appearance on Blu- ray, and I hope we'll see future episodes and seasons grace the medium soon.
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As a Star Wars spoof, Something, Something, Something, Dark Side obviously has more going on sonically than your average Family Guy episode. Thankfully, it's been granted a stellar DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that, while never taxing your home theater system, at least broadcasts the episode with pristine sound quality and a well-balanced mix. I know it will probably pain and pleasure a few Star Wars fans, tired of waiting for the franchise to hit Blu-ray, to hear John Williams' iconic themes in glorious lossless audio, but the music does sound fantastic here, with a great amalgam of detail, instrument separation, and potent bass. Many of the sound effects are a little thin—explosions are puny, for instance—but the track does make the most out of the surround channels. Tie Fighters criss-cross the rear speakers, lasers zip to and fro, fireballs ripple from front to back, and there's even a good amount of outer-spacey ambience tossed into the mix. Most importantly, dialogue is clean, clear, and prominent, making sure that all the jokes—whether they hit the moon or land somewhere off among the stars—are easily understood.
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Commentary by Executive Producers Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann and David Goodman, Actor Seth Green, Writer Kirker Butler, and Director Dom Polcino
The creators of Family Guy + tequila + commentary track = win. This track is as funny as you'd expect it would be, with tangents about Cookie Monster, lots of random asides, and even some genuinely interesting bits of trivia. A great listen for fans.
Family Guy Fact-Ups
Trivia tracks are usually hit or miss, but this one's pretty funny throughout, offering real Family Guy and Star Wars facts, plus plenty of little jokes.
The Dark Side of Poster Art (1080i, 9:18)
Ah, the unsung craft of poster art. Shirtless painter Joe Vaux and character designer Mick Cassidy lead us through the creation of Dark Side's box art, which imitates Roger Kastel's poster for Empire Strikes Back. And Kastel himself actually shows up here to talk a little bit about his work.
Animatic Scene-to-Scene with Commentary by Director Dominic Polcino (1080i, 6:36)
Here we see comparisons between the pencil drawn animatics for the show and the final color compositions. Polcino also explains how the Family Guy crew uses computers now to mesh with old-school animation.
"Family Guy - Something, Something, Something Dark Side" Table Read (1080i, 49:27)
If you're interested in what goes on behind-the-scenes at Family Guy, you'll definitely want to watch this table read, which features the entire production crew crammed into a fairly small room to follow the script while the voice actors run through acts 1 and 2. At nearly fifty minutes, this does run long, but it's certainly worth checking out, if only to see Seth MacFarlane switch between voices on the fly.
Sneak Peak of "Family Guy - We Have a Bad Feeling About This" Table Read (1080i, 2:26)
Likewise, get a small but hilarious taste of the final chapter of Family Guy's Star Wars parody.
Best Buy Exclusive Set
Additionally, if you purchase Dark Side at Best Buy, you can get it packaged inside of a lunchbox with an XL Family Guy t-shirt.
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's pretty simple. If you love Star Wars and you love Family Guy, then Something, Something, Something, Dark Side is an obvious purchase. For those unfamiliar with creator Seth MacFarlane's wacko family, it might be better to start with previous seasons on DVD, but true fans will definitely be excited to see Family Guy's high definition home video debut. The animation really does look great here, as simple as it is, and the sound of John William's Star Wars themes in lossless audio will have fanboys and girls pining for George Lucas' space opera to hit Blu-ray. For now, Dark Side will have to do. Recommended.
Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side: Other Seasons
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Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - December 22nd - December 22, 2009
Typically, the week before Christmas lacks big name releases due to studios admission that the majority of holiday shopping has already taken place, and there is no room for last minute purchases like a new Blu-ray release. In fact, the week after Christmas is ...
• Family Guy Presents Blu-ray Detailed - September 18, 2009
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side', which is due to hit store shelves on December 22nd, day-and-date with ...
• Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side Detailed - August 19, 2009
Our friends over at TV Shows on DVD have gotten hold of the release details for 'Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side', which as we told you last week, will be released on Blu-ray on December 22. Video will be presented in 1.33:1 1080p, accompanied ...
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