Something, Dark Side
It's hard to argue for or against the merits
of Family Guy's second Star Wars episode,
Something Something Something Dark Side. At best,
humor is a subjective thing, and people laugh at different
things. Up top, I'll just say that it didn't work as well
for me as did the previous parody, Blue Harvest.
For me, Family Guy is a lot more
hit and miss than it is for others, but when I watched Blue
Harvest, which forced Seth McFarlane and his writers
into following a lot more structure than usual, the experience
cured me of my curmudgeonly ways and briefly made me into
a regular watcher of the show.
But time, time, time, look what's become
of me. Every now and then I check back in and get a few
laughs, and regardless of whether you think the show is
genius or a sign of the apocalypse, McFarlane stands out
as an incredibly inventive, creative man. Unfortunately,
he also often takes the easy way out with his humor.
That worked easily when taking shots at
Star Wars. Proving exactly what Harrison Ford meant
when he complained to George Lucas, "you can write it, but
nobody can say it," Blue Harvest exposed all the
weaknesses of a beloved childhood memory. Without stepping
outside the action to comment, as Brian the Dog does here,
McFarlane and company used a lot more of the set-ups and
dialogue from the original movie than you might think.
With just some slightly different readings
and funnier voices - which probably made Lucas jealous and
sparked that whole Truman Capote Hutt in Clone Wars
-- they spun comedy gold. The legend had it coming.
Even if you don't watch Family Guy,
the characterizations are strong enough to keep it funny.
Putting two overweight guys in the roles of Han and Luke
is funny (even geekier funny if you've ever read
Lucas' first draft. Okay, clearly, I know too much).
If I can pinpoint why I didn't like the
sequel as much, it may be that it's because The Empire
Strikes Back is just a better movie. Redoing the lines
isn't enough; in some places, that's all the show really
tries, or just replaces with an obscenity. (Okay, sometimes
that works, but the Fanboy Planet staff has been arguing
over one such replacement for weeks - once again, it's subjective,
and damn McFarlane for this being such a clear over/under
Still, it's a funny show, with the use
of Stewie as Darth Vader being a brilliant joke that might
even last all the way through the parodies of Episodes 1,
2 and 3. In fact, if Lucas would go back and insert Stewie
in place of Hayden Christiansen, I might enjoy those movies.
We got sent the Blu-Ray edition, and even
with television animation, it's the way to go, A very crisp
transfer gets topped by the ability to have little pop-up
factoids come in - some of which are funnier than the action
Though the tone of the commentary options
are a little self-congratulatory - success would do that
to people - the disc includes a lot of analysis of the thinking
behind the process. That includes a table read of the inevitable
parody of Return of the Jedi that's coming, though
it presumably won't take the three years it took the movies,
and which are threatened here.
Something Something Something Dark Side is worth
the hour of watching, and probably better than it will be
censored on television. For fans, the extras are going to
be gold. For non-fans, at least the pop-up video version
is worth a second look. The only thing I'd really want more
is a special edition with t-shirt and trading cards. Because
real Star Wars fans want more, even when they're
only lukewarm to it.