TITLE: FAMILY GUY - SOMETHING, SOMETHING, SOMETHING DARK SIDE
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 1
Running Time: 57 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, French, and Spanish subtitles
Special Features: Commentary; Family Guy Fact-Ups; The Dark Side of Poster Art Featurette; Table Read
A long time ago in a galaxy far away, there was a very popular film franchise called Star Wars. And now, Episode V of that film franchise, The Empire Strikes Back, meets one of today’s most popular animated sitcoms, Family Guy, in Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side!
In 2008, we saw the original Star Wars film parodied in Family Guy: Blue Harvest. But much like the real Star Wars, the Family Guy creators saw it fit to create a sequel to that film (and by the way, a third one is coming up in the future based upon Return of the Jedi), and Something, Something, Something Dark Side is once again a great recreation of a classic film told with the typical style of Family Guy humor, character stereotypes, and cutaways that fans of Family Guy have become accustomed to. This episode has not yet aired on TV, and although it will air near the end of the current season on Fox, it will not be the same version as shown on DVD.
This episode begins with a power outage in the Griffin household as they are watching a new TV series, and the family wants to know if Peter knows any more stories similar to the one he told the last time they had a power outage (when he told the original Star Wars story). At first, he starts to tell the story of Black Snake Moan, but quickly goes in to the story of the film The Empire Strikes Back.
As was the case in Blue Harvest, Chris plays Luke Skywalker, Peter plays Hans Solo, Lois plays Princess Leia, Stewie plays Darth Vader, Quagmire playes C-3PO, Cleveland plays R2-D2 (wait, wasn’t he supposed to have left the show already?), and Brian plays Chewbacca. And Meg, well, she plays a highly unattractive space slug. In here, Luke is out patroling the base when he is suddenly attacked by... Cookie Monster! Yes, the guy from Sesame Street. But he gets away and has a vision from Obi-Wan Kenobi (Herbert the pedophile) who tells him to learn the ways of the Force. He learns this by watching DVDs of virtually every film imaginable, along with the special features.
The whole story is based on the story of the movie The Empire Strikes Back, so many people probably already know how it all ends (in other words, with a lot of questions), but the unique Family Guy twist makes it all more interesting.
The packaging for the episode is pretty standard, with a regular Amaray case with cover art that features the main cast of the episode in one scene. The back contains a few snapshots from the episode and the basic DVD information. On the outside, there is a cardboard sleeve with the same artwork as the Amaray case. There is only one disc in this release.
Menu Design and Navigation:
On the main menu, we have some music playing that should sound familiar to your ears. In fact, it is the Star Wars theme music. We have an animated menu with options of Play Movie, Scene Selection, Languages, and Extras. All of these options are pretty straightforward. As you select each option, you get brief clips from the episode and plenty of background music to go along with it. There are chapters scattered appropriately throughout the episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The episode looks great as far as video and audio quality are concerned. The picture is clear and without any issues, although I don’t understand why this was done in standard definition and in fullscreen. Of course, the series is still airing that way on Fox, but for a special episode like this, you would think that the producers would be thinking more about the future. The audio, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, is perfectly fine. The episode is closed-captioned and also has English, Spanish, and French subtitles. The entire presentation runs at 54 minutes, 32 seconds, which suggests to me that either a LOT of material is presented here that will be cut out on the broadcast version of this episode or that it will be split into three parts instead of two.
The DVD includes some nice special features, beginning with an audio commentary from Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann, David Goodman, Kirker Butler, Dominic Polcini, and Seth Green. I actually only listened to the first half of this commentary for this review, as it seemed to be the pretty standard type of Family Guy commentary that we are accustomed to. It would have been nice to have George Lucas included in the commentary, though. “Family Guy Fact-Ups” is a featurette that gives you many pop-up trivia facts about the episode as you watch it, much like VH-1’s Pop-Up Video. I loved watching this featurette, as it included many useful (and useless) facts to go along with the episode. The only thing annoying about it was the “zoom” sound effects that came up everytime a fact appeared on screen. “The Dark Side of Poster Art” (9:16) gives a behind-the-scenes look at creating the poster art for this movie. Why is the poster art relevant? Well, that is essentially what you see on the cover art of this DVD. They talk specifically about making them look similar to the original poster art of the Star Wars films. There is an animatic scene-to-scene featurette (6:39) with commantary from Dominic Polcino, which is pretty straightforward. Another nice feature is the table read of acts 1 and 2 (49:24), which shows footage of the “rehearsal” of the episode. Finally, we have a preview of the table read of the third installment in the Star Wars series from Family Guy, “We Have a Bad Feeling About This” (2:25). I can’t wait for that one!
I’m not big on Star Wars at all, but I love these Family Guy parodies of Star Wars. They make the storylines bearable and funny, and despite being a “remake” of an established story, they are very creative. Robot Chicken can’t top this (you’ll have to see the episode to know what I’m talking about). This is a nice DVD as well, although it is a rather high MSRP for what amounts to just one two-part episode and a few bonus features, but I’m sure that is how the producers of the series wanted it. Sometime in season 9 (or maybe 10), the third part, a parody of Return of the Jedi, will be airing on Fox, and it is likely that it will appear on DVD before then. I can’t wait to see that one, but until then, enjoy this and... let the force be with you!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 12/29/09
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