TITLE: FAMILY GUY - LAUGH IT UP, FUZZBALL TRILOGY (BLU-RAY) (DVD)
Release Date: December 21, 2010 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Color / 2008-2010
MSRP: $49.98 (DVD); $59.99 (Blu-ray)
Packaging: Standard Blu-ray Cases in Box
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 3
Running Time: approx. 150 minute
Running Time of Features: approx. 150 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English, Spanish, and French Subtitles
Special Features (It's a Trap!): "A Very Special Message From Darth Stewie"; "Star Wars Trivial Pursuit"; "Drawing with Peter Shin"; "Sock Puppet Outtakes"; Animatic; "Making the Scene"; Commentary
Laugh it Up, Fuzzball, with the new Family Guy Laugh it Up, Fuzzball trilogy! We all know the story of Star Wars by now (and perhaps some of us feel like it is getting old), but this time, fans of both Star Wars and Family Guy will agree that the Griffin family takes these classic films and puts new life and new laughs into them!
The set retells all of the first three (or the fourth, fifth, and sixth for the Star Wars perfectionist) stories of Star Wars, from the original Star Wars film to The Return of the Empire to The Jedi Strikes Back. The first story, "Blue Harvest" was previously available as a single disc on DVD, and the second story, "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" was released on both DVD and Blu-Ray Disc last year. The third story, "It's a Trap!," is completely new to both DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and the trilogy (which this review covers) contains all three of the stories, and is available on both DVD and Blu-ray. For this review, we'll focus on the Blu-ray Disc version, as this is the version that we received to review.
The set contains three feature length episodes, which tell the story of Star Wars... as retold by Peter Griffin. The first two stories are not new to DVD, and we encourage you to read our reviews of "Blue Harvest" and "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" as a refresher.
The third one, "It's a Trap!," a parody of The Return of the Jedi, is new to DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The story begins with yet another power outage as the family is watching a VH-1 special on musical artists from the 90s leading to Peter starting the next story in the Star Wars saga. Once again, everybody is in their familiar roles, with Stewie as Darth Vader, Chris as Luke Skywalker, Lois as Princess Leia, Brian as Chewbacca, and Peter as Han Solo (naturally, Meg doesn't get an important role). This adventure features crossover characters from both The Cleveland Show and American Dad as well. As in the original film, Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader (Stewie) is building a second Death Star to defeat the Rebel Alliance. The Rebel Alliance, in turn, tries to defeat the Dark Side and Emperor Palpatine (Carter Pewterschmidt) before the Death Star can be complete. Darth Vader tries to convince Luke Skywalker (Chris) to turn to the Dark Side, but it doesn't exactly work. How does it all end? If you know the story of Star Wars, then you'll already know the answer, but if you don't, you'll find the answer in this episode!
The running times for the featured episodes are as follows:
1."Blue Harvest" (47:36)
2. "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" (54:43)
3. "It's a Trap" (58:32)
The packaging is fairly simple, with a mostly black and silver outer box having an image of Darth Vader (Stewie) embossed on the front. Inside, we find another box that has a color cast photo, and contains the three plastic Blu-ray cases for the features inside. The cover art for the Blu-ray Discs is the same as the DVD/Blu-ray Disc cover for the previous releases, with the newest release having a snapshot of most of the cast on the front.
The Blu-ray Disc set contains six discs, but they are definitely NOT "one-size-fits-all." There is one disc for each installment that contains the Blu-ray version of the installment, but the other disc contained for the installment is a Digital Copy that can be used to download the feature to your computer or iPod. But it gets even more confusing with "It's a Trap!," where the disc containing the Digital Copy also contains a version that is playable on a standard DVD player. The other two features can not be played on a DVD player (at first, I assumed it could be, since the third one could be) and will only work on your computer (PC or Mac).
Menu Design and Navigation:
We look at the menus for the Blu-ray Disc for all three features, as we previously did not cover those Blu-ray Disc versions. They are all very similar, with the Star Wars-ified Family Guy theme song playing in the background and options of Play, Set Up, Search, Extras, and Live Extras. Search is similar to the Scenes option as found on DVDs, but also allows you to place your own bookmarks within the disc. Live Extras allows you to access the BD Live content if your player is connected to the internet, although that content is rather limited on this set. All of the options, as is the case with many Blu-ray Discs, leave you on the main menu, where the option that you select pops up for you to see on top of the main menu. Chapters are placed throughout each feature.
The menu for the DVD version of "It's a Trap!" (the only one containing a DVD Video version) is in line with the previous Family Guy/Star Wars DVDs (and much more simplified compared to the Blu-ray Disc version), with a main menu featuring clips from the episode, and options of Play Movie, Scenes, Set Up, and Extras. The menus are animated throughout, with the Star Wars-ified Family Guy theme song playing in the background on the main menu. Chapters are placed throughout this feature, as well.
I do have one complaint, though. Every single DVD Video disc and Blu-Ray Disc contains a TON of trailers that you can't just skip past with one button! Why couldn't they have just placed these on ONE disc instead of all four of the
Video and Audio Quality:
Having seen the DVDs of the first two installments, I thought that the video and audio quality was great, but the video and audio quality of all three of them on Blu-ray Disc is incredibly impressive. There really are no problems of note on either version, but I think that most people will see a noticeable difference between the two versions. The audio is loud and clear, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. English subtitles are available for all of the main features. "Blue Harvest" and "It's a Trap!" also have Spanish and French subtitles, while "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" has subtitles in TEN different languages.
One important thing to note is that the aspect ratio for "Blue Harvest" and "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" is 4:3 full screen, while the aspect ratio for "It's a Trap!" is 16:9 widescreen. However, this is in line with the series itself, as it only recently made the transition to high definition.
We've covered the special features on the DVD versions of "Blue Harvest" and "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" before, and you can check out those reviews as a refresher.
The Blu-ray Discs, however, contain a few extra "live" special features that can be accessed through your internet connected Blu-ray Disc player. You have the option of either streaming these features, or downloading them to your hard drive (for better quality, also works better with a slower internet connection). Beginning with "Blue Harvest," we have "Droid Duo - The Best Parts" (1:47), where we get to see some of the best scenes of the characters played by Cleveland and Quagmire. "The Making of Blue Harvest" (2:51) gives us a behind-the-scenes animatic look at "Blue Harvest." Finally, "Trilogy Trailer" (0:17) is just what it sounds like... a trailer advertising the entire trilogy.
For the Blu-ray Disc of "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side," we have "Darth Stewie's Darkest Moments" (2:04), which is a "best of clips" of Stewie's moments from that feature. "The Dark Side of Poster Art" (2:29) gives us a look at poster art for the second installment in the trilogy. The final feature is a trailer for the second installment (0:32).
"It's a Trap!" also has Blu-ray Disc exclusive special features, beginning with "Comic-Con - It's a Trap" (1:59), where Seth McFarlane gives us a preview look into the final installment of the trilogy. "Making a Scene" (3:50) is another animatic look at the making of a scene from "It's a Trap!" Finally, this one also has a trailer (0:32), just like the other ones.
It is important to note that you can access all of these special features from any of the Blu-ray Discs. In fact, while you are at it, you can check out the Blu-ray Disc live special features for many things that Fox has released on Blu-ray, including Futurama - Volume 5, 24 - Season 8, The A-Team film, and more. It just goes to show that Blu-ray Disc is still a work in progress.
The remaining special features are available for "It's a Trap!," and can be found on both the DVD and Blu-ray Disc version. "It's a Trap!" contains special several special features, beginning with "A Very Special Message from Darth Stewie" (1:27), where Darth Vader (Stewie) calls and leaves a voicemail for his son, Luke (Chris), trying to encourage him to join the Dark Side.
The next special feature is video footage of the writing crew from Family Guy playing a game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit (31:27), which is hardly the most interesting special feature on the set, and not exactly enjoyable to sit through the whole thing. It is nice to have it included, I suppose, but it drags on for a bit too long.
"Drawing With Peter Shin" (19:28) is yet another special feature where we get to go behind the scenes with Peter Shin, who talks to us about drawing the characters in "It's a Trap!" It is interesting to see all of this go on a blank piece of paper from scratch and evolve into the characters that we see on screen.
"Sock Puppet Outtakes" (1:30) has a series of outtakes of the live action sock puppet action that went into "It's a Trap!." It is amazing that such a minor scene had so many outtakes. We get to see the sock puppet on a green screen background as it was filmed for the episode.
"Animatic" (38:51) is exactly what it sounds like... we get to see many animatic scenes from "It's a Trap!" here. These animatics, however, look different than the ones that we are used to, as the animatics were done on computer for this episode. It makes it a little more interesting to see it this way, as the animation is more fully developed than normal for animatics.
"Making the Scene" (6:15) is a feature from Peter Shin where we get to look at a few scenes from "It's a Trap!" and how the scenes changed from the animatic stage to the development of the actual episode.
Finally, there is indeed a commentary for "It's a Trap," featuring Seth MacFarlane, David A. Goodman, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Shannon Smith, and Peter Shin. Like most Family Guy commentaries, this is a pretty standard one.
I won't lie... I'm sick of Star Wars this, and Star Wars that, but this really is good and puts a much needed fresh (and very enjoyable) perspective on a pop culture film trilogy. The story is very interesting when they add in the typical Family Guy humor and gags that fans always love to see. I'm sure that fans of both Star Wars and Family Guy will definitely appreciate this set, and this is a rare occasion where I would say it is definitely worth picking up the entire trilogy on Blu-ray Disc, even if you already own DVDs of the first two. There is a definite improvement in quality that you'll have to see to believe. Now, what about the other three Star Wars adventures? I doubt we'll see those in a Family Guy parody, but it would be nice to see. May the force be with you!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
DVD Video Quality: 4.5/5
Blu-ray Disc Video Quality: 5/5
DVD Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Blu-ray Disc Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 12/31/10
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