Something, something, something Darkside (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

For the last twenty years I’ve been a big fan of “The Simpson’s”, watching episodes time and time again. The writing is clever and insightful, the characters never change and it’s been my favorite show since I was in high school (and this is coming from someone who’s in their mid-30’s). There have been many animated series that have tried to copy “The Simpson’s” and only one has come close: “Family Guy”. I started watching “Family Guy” a few years ago mainly because my local Fox station plays them in order for two hours. Admittedly I’ve become a fan of “Family Guy” though I still prefer Bart and company. While “Family Guy” is clever in its own right, it’s a bit more raunchy and, understandably, polarizes viewers with the humor. The one thing these series have in common is that they’re both owned by Fox and this gives them the “freedom” to delve into the myriad of the “Star Wars” franchise. A few years back, “Family Guy” did a parody of Episode IV entitled “Blue Harvest” and it was a hit. So, with five other movies in the series, it was only a matter of time before we got a parody of “The Empire Strikes Back” and that wait is now over. “Something, something, something Darkside” is what its called and fans of both “Family Guy” and “Star Wars” will certainly enjoy this parody.

As far as a plot goes, well if you’ve seen “The Empire Strikes Back” then you’ve essentially seen this. No, it’s not a literal step by step interpretation of the film and the main members of the “Family Guy” cast reprise their same roles as in “Blue Harvest” (Peter as Han Solo, Stewie as Darth Vader, and so on). Alas, poor Meg is relegated to the role of the monster in the asteroid. I long for the day when Meg gets the respect she deserves! MacFarlane, as with “Blue Harvest”, had not only the cooperation but the support of George Lucas with the project and it shows. The little nuances, the attention to detail and even the dialogue are all very reminiscent of “The Empire Strikes Back.” As with the series itself, this contains some pretty mature dialogue, plenty of references of homosexuality and is recommended for late teens or older. Still, fans of “Family Guy” will get a kick out of this and I’m curious as to what they’ll do with “Return of the Jedi.”

Video: How does it look?

Fox has presented this Blu-ray in a full-frame, 1.33:1 aspect ratio and the AVC HD transfer does look incredible. Now not everything in Blu-ray will automatically be in widescreen and this is one of those rare instances in which we see the image as it’s meant to appear on a 4:3 television. The colors really pop and the depth is immediately noticeable. Animation always tends to look better on disc and this is the case with “Family Guy”. The strong lines give way to impressive detail and forget about any artifacting or anything wrong with the way this looks. About the only thing holding this back from getting a perfect score are a few minor inconsistencies, other than that ? a valiant effort.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio track actually sounds pretty good. We’re presented with the same soundtrack as with the “Star Wars” movies and there are a few good battle scenes that engage the surrounds a bit. Of course, we can’t expect this to shake the room, but this is a lot more robust that I was expecting. Dialogue sounds very clear and strong, we get all of the “hooooo-chhhhhsh” from Stewie, er “Darth”. Like the video, the audio delivers on more than one level.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“Something, something, something Darkside” comes to Blu-ray in a two disc set with the extras located on the first disc (the second disc is a digital copy of the film). We start out with a commentary by Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann and David A. Goodman and a couple of the writers along with Seth Green who provides the voice of Chris in the series. It’s a good track with plenty of chatting and laughing. Green admits he hasn’t seen the film and as we might expect, they’re doing some drinking so as the track progresses, they tend to get a bit on the rowdy side. We then have a “Fact-Ups” feature that’s essentially a pop-up trivia track. We learn some things here and there, but nothing earth shattering. Next up is “Poster Art” in which we get some interviews with Joe Vaux as he walks us through the process of creating the poster and its homage to the original “Empire” one sheet. We then see the table read for this installment and get a sneak peek at the next installment “We Have a Bad Feeling About This”, so as it turns out – that’s what it will be called! Any “Family Guy” fan will add this to their collection and they’ve got a good thing going with these adaptations. Recommended.

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