An Alright Star Wars Parody... Filled with Hit or Miss Jokes... That Mostly Miss
Dec 16, 2009
With Something Something Something Dark Side right around the corner, it only seemed apt to go back and watch Blue Harvest. You might recall that a couple of years ago, Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy crew decided to do a spoof of Star Wars. Well, it's not really a spoof. It's more like a retelling of the tale with Family Guy characters. For the most part, nothing about the integral plot has been changed. For Family Guy fans this might be something enjoyable. It suffers from many of the problems that Family Guy suffers from now--particularly that there are A LOT of jokes thrown at the wall, but hardly anything that's incredibly funny.
As a Star Wars fan, I was quite intrigued by the idea. I'm not too impressed with Family Guy much, but I'm a guy who takes a long time to abandon ship when I was rather fond of it. It might be another two or three years before I abandon Family Guy entirely. There were two reasons Blue Harvest grabbed me. The first was that it was Star Wars.. the second was that Seth MacFarlane would actually have to deal with some sort of story or plot. And granted it's not his story and plot, but it is, at least a moment where his show actually has to have some kind of focus. Of course, I was wrong to think that MacFarlane would hae focus.
The cast is simple enough. Each of the Family Guy characters plays a part in the story in and of itself. Chris takes the role of Luke Skywalker, Peter takes the role of Han Solo, Lois takes the role of Princess Leia. Quagmire and Cleveland take the rolls of C-3PO and R2-D2 respectively (the only time Cleveland was actually interesting in Family Guy... is when he's R2-D2... seriously) and Brian plays Chewbacca. The role of Vader is portrayed by Stewie. Considering that the boys already adapted The Empire Strikes Back, one has to wonder if the roles were thought out clearly enough (this would mean that Chris's mother is his sister and that Stewie is--somehow--Chris's father). But you can more or less think of it as them "playing" the roles in a similar way actors would. In short Chris plays the role of Luke Skywalker. And throughout the entire thing the characters will refer to each other as Luke, Han, Chewie etc.. Even if some of the casting doesn't make a lick of sense you have to give them credit for working with what they have. Family Guy has an enormous cast.
If you want to know who plays the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, it's that old pedophile, Herbert. Sure the gag in and of itself is funny... but it's not like you're getting any new funny gags that you haven't seen for nearly ten years now. You get little quips from him hinting at his desire to get into Luke's pants. If you've been with the show long enough, you'e surely grown tired of some of these jokes. If only because you keep getting the feeling their running out of material for Herbert.
For the most part, it's basically the story of the first film in the Star Wars Trilogy condensed into an hour long episode of Family Guy. It pretty much keeps the same storyline, with it's only real deviations being when it brings up a cutaway gag of some sort or throwing in needless pickings at the movie that you probably already heard a billion times before MacFarlane jumped on it. How many more times can you really pick at the "A Long Time Ago..." and then point out that it seems like it takes place in the future, for example? That's been run into the ground, by now. And how many times do we have to be reminded that Harrison Ford was the only one who went on to a lucrative career following Star Wars? It's hardly that these bits provide little humor as it is that for any Star Wars fan you've been beaten over the head with these kinds of things by George Lucas, The History Channel, A&E and one Star Wars Documentary after another about it. MacFarlane is, in these cases beating a dead horse. Needless to say if you're not a Star Wars fan many of the jokes and references will probably go over your head entirely. It's not something the non-Star Wars fan will enjoy in the slightest.
Blue Harvest mostly suffers from many of Family Guy's common follies. There are a lot of cutaways that just aren't that funny, and a lot of gags that aren't that funny, either. That's not to say you won't laugh... but the most hilarious bit consist of Han and Chewie trying to get a couch out of the trash compactor and into the Millenium Falcon. In short, while you get laughs... they're very few and far between. While MacFarlane is certainly faithful and continues with his strange sense of humor, it seems like many of the jokes your getting here were jokes he talked about with his writers that seemed funny on the drawing board, but painfully unfunny in execution. The bit where Obi Wan peforms "The Time of My Life," for Luke before departing to shut down the tractor beam is one bit, for example, where you pretty much go negative on the humor scale. It ends up being one of those moments where you get the feeling the boys working on Family Guy just needed something to fill space rather than to add any sort of humor or substance. By far the most annoying moments are the asides made by much of the cast. They're not cutaways, they're just moments where the characters have to give much of their own commentary. For example, Vader complains about the halls not being cleaned up for his arrival onto the rebel starship. Who cares!?
And what would Family Guy be without their punching bag, Meg? If there are any sort of jokes that have just about worn their toll, these would be it. It's bad enough that Meg NEVER does anything to contribute to the show... ever, but what's worse is that she's not the character that's only there to be run over with a car... and then immediately run over again by the same car in reverse. Meg as the punching bag has become so old that when she pops up as the monster in the garbage compact you're more likely to smack yourself in the head for not being able to guess that of course Meg would be given the worst role and made the ugliest creature. But once again, it just isn't funny. Meg has been the punching bag pretty much since the show came back and now it's just so old and platonic that it's lost the ability to be funny. At the very least, Chris as Luke means that Chris actually has to do something besides spout off some stupid line and then be forgotten for the rest of the episode.
For the most part you're getting something faithful. Some of the lines spoken by the Family Guy cast are the exact same lines spoken by the Star Wars characters. Sometimes there are a few alterations (for example the part where Han says, "Don't get cocky" in the film is replaced with: "Don't get penisy here.") but for the most part MacFarlane didn't do quite as much tampering as you might think. In some cases there are moments taken shot for shot from the original movie. The same original score is used as well. No doubt, you can't fault MacFarlane for showing his love and appreciation of Star Wars. As if his Encyclopedic Knowledge of Pop Culture wasn't enough, even the title of the episode: Blue Harvest is another bout of trivia and a reference, albeit one that even some Star Wars fans might've overlooked. Blue Harest was the fake working title for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (and has been used as a fake working title by many many other directors). Of course, if you don't know this it's another one of MacFarlane's many pop culture references that fall on deaf ears.
Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest isn't really bad. For the most part you might find some joy in it. It's only to say it just isn't as funny as you expect it to be. There are so many jokes packed into it... but not much is going to make you laugh. While almost anyone can stick a hand in and pull out a joke, it becomes questionable as to whether or not the joke is funny. Seth MacFarlane is a funny guy, he clearly can be by some his past exploits... it's just that he isn't harnessing most of it. With Something Something Something Darkside around the corner (I'm guessing that's supposed to be a funny too) I can only guess you'll get much of the same thing. For Star Wars fans it's worth a look just to see what MacFarlane does. If you're not a Star Wars fan this is pretty much a waste of time for you.
THEN they filled it with offensive religous material, political propaganda, tasteless jokes, bad jokes, unfunny jokes, long padded out scenes that don't end and pop culture remarks and references that eclipsed the material at large. That show is Family Guy and it never stops trying to lure me back into the fold. This time they succeeded with a full on Star Wars tribute show and inspite of it's own at times lame trappings, is very faithful and very funny. … more
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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The Force is strong with this episode of FAMILY GUY that devotes an entire hour to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Seth McFarlane?s spoof-happy animated sitcom casts the Griffin family and other Quahog residents as characters from George Lucas?s sci-fi classic: patriarch Peter is Han Solo, wife Lois is Princess Leia, son Chris is Luke Skywalker, family dog Brian is Chewbacca, and baby Stewie continues his quest to kill Lois as the evil Darth Vader. From Mos Eisley to the Millennium Falcon, no element of Lucas?s beloved universe is safe from McFarlane?s hilarious satire. FAMILY GUY PRESENTS BLUE HARVEST includes four minutes of new material and interviews with MacFarlane and the Jedi Master himself, Lucas.