“Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in order… But, you know this story…”
Know this story, you do. It’s the opening of the third, or actually the 6th in sequence, but it is the 3rd one made, unless you count… Never mind. This is the prologue to Return Of The Jedi. Not so long ago in this Galaxy, Family Guy took a shot across the bow of those Imperial Cruisers with its extremely funny and on the spot spoof of the first Star Wars film, or actually the 4th chapter…. Star Wars: A New Hope. It was only a matter of time before Seth MacFarlane would steer his own ship back into George Lucas’s universe a third time. With equal parts faithful adaptation and off-the-wall detours, he’s done it again, delivering another very funny tour into the dark side.
From the opening shot of Imperial cruisers in space to the glorious John Williams score, this spoof begins by looking very much like an animated redux of the film. Of course, as soon as you see the characters, you start to settle into Family Guy familiar territory and style. Peter is once again Han Solo, as are Lois as Leia, Chris as Luke, Cleveland as R2D2, Stewie as Darth Vader, Brian as Chewbacca, Glenn Quagmire as C3Po, Carter as the Emperor, Mort Goldman as Lando, The Giant Chicken as Boba Fett, Carl as Yoda and Dr. Hartman as various Imperial Storm Troopers. With the new film come new parts. This time around we see Mila Kunis as Sarlaac, Patrick Warburton as Jabba, and Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn in a Trek cameo.
The animation is light years ahead of the normal television series. Many of the shots are direct copies of shots from the original film itself. The film is completely uncensored, so let the F-Bombs drop where they may. You might consider that this is very much a cartoon for adults.
There are plenty of little stabs at various other favorites including A Christmas Story, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Caddyshack, and Lost In Space. Rush Limbaugh is the monster in the pit. The talk show host supplied the voice. There are also certainly a ton of subtle references that make repeated viewings a little like a treasure hunt. They figured correctly when they decided that we’d also pick up this one if only to complete our trilogy.
It is presented in full 1080p video with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec. We finally get a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The bit rate is a very solid 30 or more mbps. Everything is perfect. The image is stunningly sharp. Colors are bright and have the appearance of original animation cels throughout. Detail allows you to believe you are looking at film scenes of some of these ships. Black levels are extremely inky and dark. This makes those deep space moments rather a nice study in contrast with the white ships against those wonderful black backgrounds. Truly exceptional.
The DTS-HD Master audio is just as remarkable. The score is as brilliant and glorious as it is on the original films. From the brass highs to the horn lows, the most subtle elements remain. The dialog is perfectly placed. There isn’t a lot of aggression in the mix, but it more than makes up for it in dynamic sound. Even the subs will give you sound that makes you forget you’re watching a cartoon.
A Very Special Message From Darth Stewie: (1:26) This plays out like one of those celebrity expose shows that found a scalding voice mail from Stewie as Darth Vader.
Star Wars Trivial Pursuit – The Ultimate Championship: (31:29) The writers gather for a game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Sorry, but it is boring watching other people play a board game for a half hour.
Drawing With Peter Shin: (19:29) The artists shows us how to draw some of the film’s characters.
Sock Puppet Outtakes: (1:29) You really don’t want to know.
Animatic: (39:19) Check out some side-by-side comparison of animatics and storyboards. It comes complete with narration.
Making The Scene: (6:14) Animatic to finish for two of the film’s scenes.
DVD and Digital Copy
This series of films has actually been pretty sweet. Still, I have to admit that the Jedi spoof is probably the weakest of the three. I guess it rounds out the trilogy just fine. I just think they pushed the toilet humor a little too much, and some of the detours were rather forced. The production quality remains as high as ever. The opening crawl might have just said it all: “You know what? We don’t care. We were thinking of not even doing this one. Fox made us do it.”