Family Guy: Blue Harvest (2007) — A parody far, far away

“I Sithed my pants.”

Justin’s rating: YE-HAW!

Justin’s review: Like many of you, I have had an on-again, off-again blood feud with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. It started when MacFarlane made a show that was, save for a lesser quality of writing and animation, a carbon copy of The Simpsons — which was a fine enough thing, mind you, until MacFarlane started verbally bashing the very show he was ripping off. From then on, it was on: I spat in his coffee cup, he took an ad out in Variety stating how I was attracted to hedgehogs. I convinced Canada and Puerto Rico to file a warrant for his arrest and execution, he kidnapped me and placed me in a Truman Show-type bubble where everyone else was actors and I was being filmed 24-7. I forced him to watch The Doom Generation twenty-six times, and so on.

Perhaps it is time to call a public truce to this feud, lest it get out of hand. For all of the annoying attributes this squinty frat boy may exhibit, he and I do share a passionate love for pop culture references dating back to the ’80s and earlier. How can I be angry at a guy who not only tosses Star Wars references into his show on a weekly basis, but actually convinced LucasFilms to let him craft an hour-long animated parody of Star Wars: A New Hope?

Granted, this is not the first time we’ve seen a Star Wars-inspired parody, nor is it about the hundredth time. From 1977’s Hardware Wars to 1987’s Spaceballs to 2007’s Robot Chicken: Star Wars special, George Lucas’ fanatically-followed film has compelled far greater men than Seth MacFarlane to mimic and mock. Far greater men, yes, but perhaps nobody as slavishly devoted to the minutia of the Star Wars phenomenon.

From its insider-joke title (referring to the code name that Return of the Jedi filmed under), Family Guy: Blue Harvest takes the most ardent Star Wars fans in the galaxy on a ride unlike they’ve ever imagined. Well, wait. Considering that Blue Harvest contains dozens of small moments where the characters stop and discuss the oft-nitpicked moments (such as Luke berating Han about not believing in the Force, even though Luke only learned about it a few hours before) just like any obsessive Star Wars fan has done, this is exactly the kind of ride you might imagine.

Substituting Family Guy characters for Luke, Han, Leia and so on, Blue Harvest wings its way through A New Hope with eerily spot-on imitations, gut-busting hilarious jokes and gags, numerous non sequiturs referring to other classic films (like… Dirty Dancing?) and the genuine fun that Star Wars is known for. Of course, because it’s Family Guy, there is an emphasis on lowbrow gutter humor.

Actually, I was pretty stunned to see very well-done animation, some of it of movie-quality, and to hear John Williams’ classic score used throughout. Not to mention that MacFarlane is such a Star Wars geek that he used the original Star Wars cut — NOT the special edition — to parody. Rejoice: there’s no Greedo shooting first here!

However, due to the 48-minute condensed runtime, Blue Harvest unfortunately skipped over a number of the more insidery Star Wars moments, such as Luke’s “Tashi Station” whinefest or the stormtrooper knocking his noggin against a blast door. This is more of a backhanded compliment, however; for all of the parts of A New Hope they did well, I only wanted them to do even more.

Sure, while many of the jokes will simply shoot way over the heads of anyone who hasn’t analyzed Star Wars second-by-second (quick quiz: who is Jek Porkins, and what was his fate?), if you’re even passingly familiar with the movie, you’ll find a treasure trove of laughs here.

Didja notice?

  • The overly awesome opening scroll (75% of which is dedicated to Angelina Jolie)
  • Han Solo shoots first! Again!
  • Doctor Who in hyperspace
  • The pimped-out Tie Fighter
  • ASTEROIDS
  • Dirty Dancing… that got a look from my wife
  • The Breakfast Club “bull by the horns” reference
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation! And Chevy Chase actually cameo’d the part!
  • Porkins… I love that guy!
  • The meta-joke between Family Guy and Robot Chicken at the end (Seth Green is involved with both shows)
  • Muzak version of “The Imperial March” in the elevator
  • The Wilhelm scream
  • Bender from Futurama in the cantina
  • The Airplane! references
  • Stormtrooper church?

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