Back in 2007, self-professed Star Wars superfan Seth McFarlane and his creative team cooked up a very special episode of their animated Fox TV show Family Guy in which they retold/parodied Star Wars by using their characters in an hourlong episode called Blue Harvest. Following the smashing success of that special, the team took on The Empire Strikes Back with their homage entitled Something, Something, Something, Dark Side. Finally, out of what may have been obligation, they finished out the trilogy with It’s a Trap! (which is, of course, a parody of Return of the Jedi). While the film as a whole may feel a little tired or halfhearted, it’s definitely good for quite a few laughs. Hit the jump for my review of the Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Blu-ray review.
Plotwise, It’s a Trap! follows Return of the Jedi pretty much to a T, so there’s really no point in relaying it back to you. If you haven’t seen Return of the Jedi: 1. What’s wrong with you? And 2. Why are you watching a parody of the movie in the first place? Characterwise, this is how its set up: Chris is Luke Skywalker, Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, Brian is Chewbacca, Quagmire and Cleveland are C-3PO and R2D2 respectively, and Stewie plays Darth Vader while Carter takes on the Emperor.
The opening title scroll of It’s a Trap! pretty much sums up my feelings on the movie as a whole:
“…But Fox suddenly had dollar signs in their eyes, and they said, ‘Seth, if you don’t do ‘Jedi’, we’re not gonna let you leave to go direct your movie…Look, just do me a huge favor and lower your expectations, okay? Just this one time. I promise I’ll make it up to you. I mean, ‘Star Wars’, fine. ‘Empire’—still not bad. But on this one we ran out of gas. Seriously, we let the assistant write it.”
While it may seem like a joke at the beginning, going through the rest of the film you start to get the feeling that they weren’t really kidding. Some of the jokes seem tired, the film moves really fast, and it just seems like they were ready to get the movie over with. However, my biggest problem with It’s a Trap! was the inclusion of characters from McFarlane’s much less-humorous show American Dad!. They seem out of place and it all feels like they’re being shoehorned in there as if to say “Look! American Dad! really is funny if you give it a chance! You won’t? Well fine, we’re gonna force you to watch these characters anyway until you get it!” Their inclusion just kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and every time they were onscreen I couldn’t wait for the scene to be over.
However, all this isn’t to say that It’s a Trap! is a bad film. Quite the contrary actually. It does have some very funny moments. The fact that it’s marred by some dry characters and a few tired jokes doesn’t take away from the fact that the rest of the movie is actually quite funny. Consuela’s appearance, particularly the tag of her scene, is one of the funniest parts of the film. Meg, again, is confined to the role of “line-less monster.” And the set-up for the Emperor’s provocation of Luke features a prolonged, and very meta, joke that plays really well. Family Guy’s take on the Ewoks is pretty funny, and there’s a fantastic Planes, Trains and Automobiles reference that a precious few will appreciate.
The Blu-ray includes a DVD and Digital Copy version of the film. Extras-wise, it’s pretty slim: there’s a little bit called A Very Special Message from Darth Stewie, Star Wars Trivial Pursuit: The Ultimate Championship, “Drawing with Peter Shin”, Sock Puppet Outtakes (the character makes a really funny appearance in the film as one of the few instances of George Lucas-mocking), Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Animatic, Making the Scene and an audio commentary.
In the end, if you enjoyed the first two Family Guy Star Wars homages/parodies, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s not as well crafted or thought out, but it’s still good for a few laughs. At the very least, you’ll be pleasantly entertained for 57 minutes. Now, one can only hope the Family Guy team gets started on those prequels ASAP…