Family Guy Presents: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side… just as a heads-up, I have to tell you that I'm a big Family Guy fan and I loved the Star Wars movies, so I'm pretty much the perfect target audience for this type of title. With that in mind, I have to say that while I did like Dark Side, it wasn't quite as good as Blue Harvest. Still, it was enjoyable, and fans of both genres will like it. A quick side note, however, if you haven't seen Blue Harvest, you should watch that first because Dark Side continues the story started with Blue Harvest and it also contains references from the first installment.
Family Guy Strikes Back
As you may have already guessed, Dark Side is a spoof of The Empire Strikes Back. The same Family Guy characters reprise their roles here from Blue Harvest and there are also some new characters introduced to fit The Empire Strikes Back plot line. So the story goes like this… the first scene opens with our hero rebels Luke Skywalker (Chris), Han Solo (Peter), Chewbacca (Brian), and Princess Leia (Lois) on the Hoth planet. As in Strikes Back, Luke is out on patrol in a storm. He spots an enemy droid and is then attacked and abducted by a Wampa (who turns out to be the Cookie Monster). Han rescues Luke and brings him back to the secret rebel base just in time for the attack by the Empire. There are some definitely funny jokes here, especially when Luke and some other rebels are fighting the AT-ATs (walkers). Han (Peter) wanting to be called Carlos Spicyweiner was just strange though.
Anyway… after the battle, Luke departs with R2-D2 (Cleveland) for Dagobah to train with the Jedi master Yoda (Carl). Some funny highlights here are when Luke is training to some of the music from Rocky IV and his scenes are contrasted with scenes from the movie where the Drago character is training. Of course, while Luke is training, Hans, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO (Quagmire) are in the Millennium Falcon trying to get away and hide from the Empire and Darth Vader (Stewie). Since my favorite Family Guy character is Stewie, I enjoyed his scenes the most… especially the ones where he is arguing with the maid – hilarious! The remaining cast of characters is introduced when they all reach Cloud City, where Lando Calrissian (Mort) betrays them and hands Han over to Vader and the bounty hunter Boba Fett (Giant Chicken). And as per The Empire Strikes Back, Luke fights Vader and finds out that Vader is his father leaving us with the burning question of what will happen next. Not to worry though, because there's another Family Guy Star Wars special already in the works.
Something, Something on Blu-ray… sort of?
Now when you buy a title on Blu-ray, you expect it to be widescreen, right? Every Blu-ray title I own is widescreen… that is, except for this one. Not sure why the Family Guy team decided to put this out as a full frame title, but in any case you do still get the advantage of an AVC MPEG-4 1080p hi-def encode, and the picture does look very nice. Something odd happened to my viewing though… I keep an older TV around for watching full frame titles and they usually fill the entire screen. Well, Dark Side had a 1-inch black border around the entire picture and I have no idea why. The menu screen displayed fine and the trailers played in full frame, filling the entire screen. Maybe it's because I use a PlayStation 3 as my Blu-ray player? I've never had this happen with any other titles though. Strange.
The audio for the title is provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and it sounds great. The classic Empire Strikes Back music and sound effects are provided here along with clean and clear dialog. If you close your eyes and ignore the dialog, it sounds like you're actually watching a Star Wars movie.
Something, Something Special Features
The Dark Side sports some nice bonus features for fans, starting with the Audio Commentary with Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Mark Hentemann, David Goodman, Dominic Polcino, and Kirker Butler. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes knowledge shared here so it's definitely worth a listen. Family Guy Fact-Ups provides an alternate version of the title where pop-up facts are displayed on the screen while you watch. It's very entertaining and definitely worth watching the entire movie again. The Dark Side of Poster Art is a 9-minute featurette that provides an interesting discussion from the artist and painter of the Dark Side cover art. Animatic Scene to Scene is a 6-minute featurette with commentary by Dominic Polcino that talks about the animatic version as compared to the final version.
Table Read shows the cast doing a table read of the first two acts of the movie. You'll notice that some of the material is different here and must have been either changed or cut from the final version. It's pretty cool to see the actors doing their parts off-screen although the camera never moves and is positioned on the far side of the room, so you can't really see Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, or Mila Kunis very well. This feature is also 49-minutes long, which is a bit much for just watching people sit at a table and read… it's interesting though. Sneak Peek provides another table read (only 2-minutes this time) from the upcoming "Family Guy – Episode VI: We Have A Bad Feeling About This." Finally, a digital copy is included for viewing on your computer or mobile device.
Something For Family Guy Fans
Okay, so here's the deal… for people who are not fans of Family Guy or are Star Wars-only fans – this movie is not for you. Well, there might be some Star Wars fans out there who might enjoy Dark Side even if they've never seen Family Guy, but for the most part, you really need to be a fan of both Family Guy and Star Wars to truly enjoy this title. As I mentioned earlier, it's not quite as good as Blue Harvest (which is something you should watch first anyway), but it has its moments and I definitely recommend it for all the Family Guy fans out there.
For more information:
* Family Guy Presents: Something, Something, Something Dark Side (Blu-ray)
* Family Guy Presents: Something, Something, Something Dark Side (DVD)
* Family Guy Presents: Something, Something, Something Dark Side AND Family Guy Blue Harvest(Two-Pack DVD)