Family Guy: Blue Harvest (review)

I’m not usually a fan of Family Guy’s humor — it veers into adolescent tittering too often for my taste — and I’m a little ticked off because my brothers and I used to do this — retell the story of Star Wars to ourselves, with added snarking — too, but still: This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. This double-length opening episode of the Fox animated sitcom’s sixth season, which aired last fall, is a cartoon spoof of the first Star Wars movie, featuring Family Guy characters in key roles and, more importantly, throwing in geeky commentary on everything that’s dumb and wrong — and everything that’s wonderful and right — with the epic movie that so rocked my generation to the core when we were kids that we’re still obsessed with it 30 years later. For as goofy and, it must be said, occasionally juvenile as it gets, the animation is gorgeous, a beautiful homage in itself to the power of the film, and there’s something deeply, weirdly profound in both the intense love and the pop-culture philosophizing on show here: because, of course, this isn’t just about Star Wars but about the entire cosmos of pop culture we Star Wars kiddies continue to obsess over. I don’t think I laughed harder here than at the quick-hit reference to Doctor Who… but that’s how fast Blue Harvest moves: you’ve barely absorbed one I-can’t-believe-they-went-there nerdy allusion before they’ve move on to the next. I can’t wait for the sequel, in which the FG gang takes on The Empire Strikes Back — it’s tentatively titled Something, Something, Something Dark Side. The DVD version of the episode restores lots of bits that were clipped from the aired version, including an uncensored audiotrack that features R2-D2 saying something very naughty to Darth Vader, and the extras are a treat: a conversation with George Lucas, a making-of featurette, a commentary track, and more. True Star Wars devotees can opt for a special edition package that includes the DVD plus trading cards that ape the look of the original Star Wars cards, 3-D glasses (so you can watch a bonus 3-D scene not included on the regular edition), a T-shirt, a booklet on the art of the episode, and more. [buy the regular edition at Amazon/buy the special edition at Amazon]

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