The size and legacy of the Star Wars universe make it an easy target for parody. The trick is taking such an easy task and making it clever and fresh. The first Family Guy/Star Wars crossover, Blue Harvest, featured a successful mix of the standard Family Guy gags, along with clever commentary on the best-known movie in the world. The follow-up, Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, premiered on DVD last week and takes on arguably the best of the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back.
Despite (or because) of my love for Empire, I recognize the potential for spoofing it. The Luke/Vader stuff, Yoda, Leia‘s Force face. There’s a lot to make fun of. The problem this time around is that there’s too much Family Guy and not enough parody. The animators take great pains to replicate even the smallest of gestures from the film, but just seeing Peter Griffin turn his head like Harrison Ford isn’t parody, and certainly isn’t enough to sustain the 44-minute running time. Not that there aren’t a few good gags. But this is one of those times when the trailer contains all the best moments from the movie, and I found myself waiting for the next bit from the trailer to come along.
However, I would like to recognize Seth Green and how far he’s come as a comedic actor. While he continues to make questionable film choices (Old Dogs), his comedic timing and delivery surpass those of all the other actors on the show. I find myself eagerly anticipating every scene with Chris now.
I have no doubt Something, Something will be a big hit, but I have to believe there’s more to say about the most revered film in the Star Wars canon than jokes about Vader’s flatulence. But this is Family Guy, so maybe that’s the only goal. One thing this venture does extremely well, though, is remind its audience how beautiful and visually diverse Empire truly is. It made me want to watch it again, which is not a bad goal for any parody. The trick is making the audience want to watch the source material after the parody, not instead of. Return of the Jedi is up next and may be a better fit for Family Guy‘s bag of tricks. I wonder if they’ll let Meg play Jabba…or the Rancor?