Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest (2008) dir. Dominic Polcino
Voices by: Seth McFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis
“Family Guy” is the most obscure-referencing fanboy show out there. And so it’s only fitting that the naughty cartoon gets the authorized privilege of spoofing the granddaddy of fanboy films –“Star Wars”. Yes, with full support of Mr. Lucas Seth McFarlane has created a near shot for shot remake of “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” with his loveable yet profane characters. For Star Wars fans the inside humour is hilarious, and even for regular people it should be fun.
Chris plays a pudgy Luke Skywalker, Lois plays Leia, Quagmire and Cleveland plays C3PO and R2D2. Peter is Han Solo, Brian is Chewbacca, Mr. Herbert is Obi-Wan, etc etc. It’s amazing to watch the reverence for the material on display – starting with the title which refers to the fake name used during the production of “Return of the Jedi”. The animators manage to condense 121 mins of Star Wars’ running time into 45mins of Family Guy screen time. It’s funny because it’s actually difficult to figure out which pieces are missing. But what’s on screen is shot-for-shot as it was the original. In fact, though I can’t confirm, some shots appear to be rotoscoped.
The gags are hit and miss – some are simple visual gags which reminded me of the juvenile “Spaceballs (ie. the bumper sticker on the back of the Empire battleship cruiser) but there's plenty of subtle insider jokes that will please the hardcore fans. The writers pick apart all the inconsistencies and ‘mistakes’ in the original film, such as the battleship officer who doesn’t let his gunner shoot down R2D2 and C3PO’s escape pod at the beginning or when Han questions Luke for instantly believing in the force, having only heard about it three hours prior. These jokes went way over the casual viewer's head but the scene where Han tries to take a couch out of the trash compactor and into the Millenium Falcon is stand alone priceless.
The DVD special features contains a great interview with Seth McFarlane questioning George Lucas. There’s a giddy look of glee on McFarlane’s face that comes through in his questions. Lucas is his usual glum demeanour, but McFarlane manages to coax a few interesting answers out of the man.
The film sounds great thanks to the real John Williams score and some recycled sound effects – though I was disappointed the film was created in only 1.33:1 aspect ratio. I guess the pressure from the broadcaster to make the film TV-friendly won out over true fanboy authenticity. Because as we all know “Star Wars” is a 2.35:1 film .Oh well. Enjoy this must-have disc for “Star Wars” or “Family Guy” fans.
“Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest” is now available on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.