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voice cast: Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Alex Borstein, H. Jon Benjamin, and Mike Henry
creator: Seth MacFarlane
52 minutes (15) 2009
20th Century Fox DVD Region 2 retail
review by J.C. Hartley
Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side
As I've pointed out before, here, the late great Viv Stanshall deplored impressionists, saying that their comedy value simply lay in 'recognition'.
Now, of course, that kind of comedy, translated as the 'have you noticed how...' school, is the one dominating the mainstream, and the acknowledged
king would have to be the inexplicably unfunny but hugely popular Michael McIntyre.
Family Guy, basically The Simpsons with fuck jokes, produced a version of Star Wars called
Blue Harvest which retold the story using members of the Griffin family
and their friends in the lead roles. Blue Harvest was a faithful retelling of Star Wars with shots that accurately reproduced scenes from
the original, therein lay much of its charm. Something, Something, Something Dark Side is pretty much a shot-for-shot cartoon remake of
The Empire Strikes Back with jokes and, as the blurb says, 'cultural references'. Some of the animation is very good indeed and some of the
jokes are fairly funny but the whole thing is tired in the extreme and begs the question why bother? The joke-count is relatively low, there is
very little that is genuinely original; it's often as tedious as an issue of Mad magazine.
Seth Green, who is Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's collaborator on the series, voicing the role of Chris, has done a couple of Star
Wars makeovers with his own stop-motion series Robot Chicken, and it has to be said he has shown far more inventiveness. Robot Chicken
scores well with better jokes and original set-ups, Family Guy just fleshes out the Star Wars story with in-jokes and parodies. You
watch transfixed because it's a cartoon, as waves of smart-alec stuff wash over you. There is no earthly reason to acquire this unless you're a
Star Wars or Family Guy completist. The depressing thing is the horrible certainty that there must be a 'Family Guy: Return Of The
Jedi' makeover in the pipeline.
The DVD release contains a mess of rather disappointing extras. The usual cast and crew commentary, a film of the 'table-read', cue whooping and
applause, this is shot from so faraway that you can't see the individuals involved. There's a Family Guy 'fact-up' - which interrupts the
action with little pop-up boxes containing facts about Family Guy. An animatic version with director commentary, poster art and, told you
so, a sneak peak table-read of 'We Have A Bad Feeling About This, Episode VI'. They took the title right out of my mouth.