|It was inevitable. The Griffin STAR WARS universe returns in It's A Trap!. Images: FOX|
FAMILY GUY: “IT’S A TRAP!”
Released on Triple Play edition Blu-ray/DVD from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT (also available as a separate DVD)
Reviewed by Scott Weller
Note: this review contains adult material!
“We’re doing JEDI aren’t we!” So says a drolly disinterested Stewie as the third power cut in Quahog launches Peter Griffins re-telling/parody of the final (and they mean final, truly, truly final!) homage to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy: IT’S A TRAP!
The FAMILY GUY writers and producers have always been wickedly and painfully accurate on the laughs front, and always ready to poke fun at both themselves and their FOX backers, but we’re sure that there’s more than a hint of truth within the words they've this time imparted during their now classic re-interpreation of the saga's main title crawl for the episode. With IT'S A TRAP they literally flat out, upfront apologize for the overall quality of this new adaptation, claiming that they’ve been burned out by the almost back to back behind the scenes work they’ve been doing in bringing the STAR WARS saga to animated comedy life and rushed into making this finale. Looking at the final product on screen, there may be the occasional time when they have a point, but overall I think they’re being a little too hard on themselves. There's not as many belly laughs in IT’S A TRAP, but when they come they sure do hit the spot well (one great example being Leia/Lois’s Alderaan moment during the Speeder Bike chase- an absolute gem of a scene!), still making this wrap up endeavour a welcome conclusion to a brave, already humour packed and ultimately very successful comedy spin on George Lucas’s timeless classic.
Interestingly, with JEDI having had some negative press in its original 1983 release, i.e. many critics considering it a toy/marketing commercial rather than a movie (hey, if you’re gonna say that, what about all the blink and you miss it stuff in EMPIRE?!), FG deliberately don't capitalize on such comments make any such gags or go in that direction-which is great- and instead keep to the story and the continuity they have established in their own "unique" adaptations for comic inspiration. Some might also say that there’s enough comedy, both intentional and unintentional, already in the finished film that it didn’t need to be adapted by FAMILY GUY, and you occasionally get that feeling being presented by the shows writers during varying points, but then that’s equaled with scenes where you can tell that any issues they have with the finale doesn’t stop them from loving the entire saga in general. JEDI’s selected plot deficiencies and holes, as with the previous classics, are brilliantly sent up but it’s never done nastily, with its script, at its core, being an affectionate all round win win situation to the audiences who already know this stuff, and that it’s okay to poke fun at the original film. And as for JEDI’s 1997 SPECIAL EDITION, well that certainly doesn’t get a reprieve from the FG team, with their cruel but ultimately spot-on attack on the films unnecessary extra CGI creatures-the sock puppet “add on” in Jabba’s the Hutt’s Palace is brilliant!
|A different variation on The Gang's all here!|
IT’S A TRAP certainly shows how big a universe the STAR WARS saga had become by JEDI, with so many characters and aliens to show, that the need to satisfy the audiences demands to have them involved in the plot became noticeably challenging when the Luke/Vader plot was ultimately so important. And FAMILY GUY’s conclusion obviously shares similar problems. Ultimately, of all the members of the Griffin family who have become their STAR WARS alter-egos, this really is the couch potato, alternate reality counter-part plonker Chris’s turn to shine as Luke, who was aforementioned always central to the success of JEDI (I’d love to know what Mark Hamill thinks of these parodies!). Totally avoiding the how the hell is he your father?Question from its predecessor, the script writers (Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and David A. Goodman) brilliantly make the most of JEDI’s dramatic core between Luke and the Emperor/Vader and truly milk from it some superb comedy gold, the standout being Luke/Chris getting angry when the baddies start verbally destroying Seth Green’s career, building further on this in the finale when he takes on Vader/Stewie (who wants a press release stating that he’s moved onto other worthy career ventures rather than just being killed off at the height of his popularity!).
Yep, that lovable little Sith horror Darth Stewie remains as brilliantly conceived as ever (look out for his hilarious apparition scene during the Ewok celebration finale!), and backed with Emperor Palpatine (Mister Pewterschmidt in perfect casting) where make a fun oddball couple to rule the galaxy! I liked the scenes where the Emperor spewed lighting bolts every which way and loose on Luke and, prior to that, when he fried several annoying children in the Death Star II swimming pool-and you never know, there may well have been a recreational area like that on the space station in the films but we just never saw it!!
The rest of the Griffin family’s part in the proceedings is not as strong but they do have a few fine moments here and there. Peter as Han sadly doesn't have as many great moments in the finale, though special mention of the scene in the Endor Bunker when he starts complaining that things are getting way too cuddly for him what with the Ewoks and all, and immediately has the captured Human Imperial troopers go out and start digging their own graves with their helmets! Priceless! Also disappointingly, after his classic "Fuck Off" response to Leia/Lois before being carbon frozen in SOMETHING, SOMETHING, SOMETHING DARK SIDE, the princess (who looks good in a slave girl outfit, too!) ultimately never gets to the chance to say it back to Peter, as the similar “I love you” scene between the Rebel lovers had done in JEDI. A bit of a wasted opportunity, I thought.
And as for those Ewoks…well, over the years they have obviously been a great annoyance to MacFarlane and his team of writers, but I have to say that I think I like these animated versions (led by Wicket, as played by THE CLEVELAND SHOW’s Tim the Bear) a lot better than the ones in the actual film! They’re ultra violent (their battle against the Imperial Stormtroopers has some serious bone crunching moments!), cannibalistic and totally feral! Oh for an alternate JEDI with these guys in!
|A priceless speeder bike re-imagining.|
Other FG supporting characters cameos equally prove all too brief, though Joe as Jabba the Hutt proves fun, as does the unlikely appearance of the maid Consuela within his court! Plus there’s the return of Carl as Yoda who gives us a uniquely disinterested and quick death after he tells Luke important info about his sister, whilst Quagmire as Threepio, though he has more to do here than in SOMETHING, SOMETHING, sadly isn’t as rude and crude as he was in the first STAR WARS (and I thought with all the Ewoks about there would be some sick bestiality stuff coming from his lips!), the same with Brian who really only has memorable AT-ST ground battle moment (though thankfully there’s no swinging TARZAN moment here for him to partake in!). Amongst the episodes fine comedy moments I loved the nodding scene prior and during the Skiff battle - though no fight for Peter/Han against the Boba Fett/chicken? Aw man…I really wanted to see that! Finally, old boy pervert Herbert’s return as the ghostly Obi-Wan is an absolute classic- one of those superb, below the belt comedy moments that only FAMILY GUY can get away with!
And as for poor Meg, now the ultimate clawed beak vagina as the Sarlaac. Surely, it was destiny for her to be that creature, wasn’t it?
There’s also great use of some welcome cameos linked to other sci-fi greats like LOST IN SPACE, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and, to add to the general lunacy, there’s the return of Seventies US music favourite Conway Twitty, but with a new cgi twist! Yaayy! Plus, extended contributions of popular characters from some of Seth MacFarlane’s other output, too, like the aforementioned AMERICAN DAD, with Klauss the Gold fish (as always voiced by THE CLONE WARS Dee Bradley Baker) as Admiral Ackbar, and Roger the Roswell alien as Moff Jerjerrod, whilst THE CLEVELAND SHOW’s young Rallo Tubbs is hilarious in his interpretation of Nien Nunb (loved the scene where he and Lando (Mort Goldman) observe the Death Star’s prime weapon in action! And adding a bit of official STAR WARS ness to the project is the fun return of Carrie Fisher, this time playing Rebel leader Mon Mothma: “the second woman in the STAR WARS galaxy!”
Plus, as usual, and always fun, there’s the obligatory 80’s references from music and films, Adam West (an institution in his own right!), carbonite fart jokes, and launches into other TV realms. All blended together with the STAR WARS universe once more as its superbly realized by the shows animation teams in this third labour intensive love sonnet.
|Epic visuals brilliantly recreated.|
The Blu-ray presentation, as with the previous releases, is absolutely first class and is the greatest way to see it, and special note must be made within the programe of the official use of some of John Williams alternate music cues for JEDI that didn’t make the original final film: primarily used here for the Speeder Bikes chase (of which the original film’s vision of the action sequence never had any music) both they and Ben Burtt’s sound design are wonderfully crisp and evocative to hear-I hope the new six film Blu-ray movie set of the real STAR WARS sounds as good when they’re released in September!
Rounding off the presentations are the obligatory tongues firmly in cheek audio commentaries from the crew, and some fun extras including a short but sweet phone message from Darth Stewie to Chris, an easy to copy guide on how to draw STAR WARS FAMILY GUY characters by one of the series lead artists, (who also directed IT’S A TRAP): the very talented Peter Shin, sock puppet animatics and making a scene, and the STAR WARS TRIVIAL PURSUIT: THE ULTIMATE CHAMPIONSHIP.
Eagerly awaited by fans and LUCASFILM staff alike (George Lucas even bought a copy of it in a Florida mall the day of release! My brother and his family, on vacation in the Sunshine State at the time, have the proof!), IT’S A TRAP, despite its makers fears (and perhaps there should have been a little bit more time allowed to the FAMILY GUY team to refine the script further), ultimately has more laughs and belly laughs in abundance in one hour than most other comedy shows have in a twenty episode run season. Like JEDI, it’s occasionally flawed but its still overall an enjoyable finale to the saga, and well worth having as part of your DVD collection, be it for STAR WARS or FAMILY GUY.
I know that MacFarlane and his team don’t plan on doing the Prequels (joking that they’re saving them for THE CLEVELAND SHOW instead!), but the idea of Stewie as Anakin Skywalker has potential to be very funny. Perhaps they could do it someday as one episode covering all three films…? C’mon, guys and gals at FUZZY DOOR productions, think about it!