I’ve been back and forth about how I feel about Disney being in charge of Star Wars. They’ve produced some pretty awesome stuff and it’s wonderful to see the Star Wars franchise active again, but hearing about some of the messes they’ve had behind the scenes during production is worrying. Charles Dickens said it well: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’
However, no matter what they do, it seems I am a hopeless fanboy because I have to say: I am PUMPED for the Rise of Skywalker! I was almost more excited for it than I was for my own wedding (I’m not exaggerating).
Since The Force Awakens came out I’ve had a ritual screening of specific Star Wars related media, and the actual films that I watch in preparation for the new film (just the Skywalker films, not the Anthologies). I wanted to share it with everyone because it’s always fun building up to the new release.
First, the Family Guy Star Wars episodes (titled the Laugh It Up, Fuzzball trilogy), Robot Chicken Star Wars, the movie Fanboys, and finally, all the films in chronological order. Then on the night of the midnight premiere (best way to avoid spoilers), I watch the most recent film, and then head off to the premiere.
- Laugh It Up, Fuzzball trilogy (all 3 in one sitting)
- Robot Chicken Star Wars (also all 3 in one sitting)
- The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
- Revenge of the Sith
- Rogue One
- A New Hope
- The Empire Strikes Back
- Return of the Jedi
- The Force Awakens
- The Last Jedi
Since the end of what they’re now calling ‘the Skywalker Saga’ is approaching, I thought it might be a good time to do a short review of the stuff on my list, starting with Family Guy! (That exclamation point was ironic).
I remember when Blue Harvest came out in 2007 (I was 16 and Family Guy was the funniest thing ever because, well, I was 16). I loved it. It was hilarious, faithful, and best of all: I understood all the jokes and when you’re a teenager, understanding in-jokes makes you feel so damn clever. The title comes from the fake working title for Return of the Jedi.
The level of detail that went into it was remarkable. When the Millennium Falcon is turning around inside the hanger to blast away from the Death Star, the animation is so well done that it almost looks like the actual model. In the commentary, Seth MacFarlane and the other animators and producers talk about how excited they were to make Blue Harvest to the point of doing unpaid overtime. The jokes were, well they were Family Guy jokes so they range between hilarious to inexplicable to almost insultingly stupid. Sadly, this trend got worse with the sequel, Something Something Something Dark Side.
The title crawl rants about how short-sighted Fox was when they let George Lucas keep all the merchandising rights because they originally had no faith in the original film (I bet George ain’t complaining). There is also a purple CG elephant.
Something Darkside was a definitive downward step. It’s still faithful and wonderfully animated, and the jokes are still (mostly) funny, but there is an obvious sign of them not being as invested in this one. MacFarlane even says it in the commentary. He explains that everyone was excited for Blue Harvest, but kind of ran out of steam for the sequel, which brings us to the final instalment, It’s a Trap.
The title crawl of this one kind of says it all. It literally says “Okay, you know what, we don’t care. We were thinking of not even doing this one,’ and ‘Look, just do me a huge favour and lower your expectations for this one, okay?’. I mean that says it all.
I honestly don’t know what else to say about it as it kind of tasted like disappointment. For some reason, the speeder chase on Endor is done on six-speed bicycles and ends with one of the weakest jokes I’ve ever seen involving Leia and a falling chunk of Alderaan. I don’t remember the commentary which says a lot and I know I listened to it (yes I listened to all 3 commentaries, I know it’s sad).
Ultimately though, it’s Family Guy parodies of Star Wars; you get what the name says. I recommend watching all 3 in one go. They are fun and silly and stupid, they make Star Wars jokes, and if you watch them with some friends and some drinks, you’ll have a laugh. When it comes to Family Guy, it’s best not to over think things. Just switch your brain off and enjoy yourself.
– Tim Baker