Synopsis: Once again, the Family Guy alliance travels far, far beyond the boundaries of good taste to bring you an outrageous intergalactic journey. Join them for one last outer space adventure, as Han Solo (Peter), Chewbacca (Brian) and Princess Leia (Stewie) and the Emperor (carter) try to recruit Like Skywalker (Chris) to the dark side of the Force with taco nights and T-shirts. Filled with outlandish humor and exploding spaceships, Family Guy unites for a final sci-fi spoof! We aren’t doing any more, folks.
eyelights: its fantastic animation.
eyesores: its limp retelling of the same exact story. its bland jokes. its soul-destroying product placement.
“We’ll be lucky to come out of this without a lawsuit!”
A year after ‘Something, Something, Something Dark Side‘, ‘Family Guy’ was at it with yet another homage to the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy – this time, ‘Return of the Jedi‘. Aired on May 22, 2011, the episode follows the same format as the previous two: take the original film, cram it in 56 minutes with the ‘Family guy’ character substituting for the originals, and throw in a few gags and product placement to make it your own.
Needless to say, I’m not impressed. I wasn’t thrilled with the previous installments, either, and ranted at length about ‘Family Guy’s utterly uninspired formula. Strangely, the criticism also comes from an unusual source: Seth MacFarlane himself: in the opening text crawl, he babbles on about not planning to do this one, but being coerced into it by FOX, after the financial success of the previous one. He apologises for its quality.
Thing is, I prefer this one to ‘SSSDS’ because at least the jokes are mildly funny.
Some of them.
- There’s a VH1 spoof of ’90s singers which is amusing, if overly long.
- When Darth Vader arrives on the Death Star, he’s the last one off, as a group of tourist get out first.
- Alec Baldwin is Jabba the Hutt. Makes sense: his girth has grown with his arrogance over the years, hasn’t it?
- They poked fun at Jabba’s Palace scene having more creatures in the Special Edition, by throwing a blathering sock puppet into the mix.
- Han defrosts from the carbonite freeze and farts. Yes, he was mooning.
- Han refers to the “giant anus in the desert” when talking about the sarlacc pit.
- Rush Limbaugh is the Rancor. Nice
- Bin Laden’s hiding in the Tatooine desert.
- There’s a reference to Leia being the only woman in the whole galaxy. Tell me about it!
- Han has a side gig running an employment agency, Han Jobs. Expect all the lowbrow jokes that come with that.
- When Han tries to sneak up on a Scout trooper, he steps on a branch, then bubblewrap, then a horn, a puppy, …etc. Nice.
- They poke fun at how easily Wicket is subdued by Leia.
- Threepio tells the Ewoks the story of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air instead of their own adventures. Ha!
- Darth Vader and Luke’s meeting is played like that of a divorced dad and his long unseen son, planning out their day together.
- Han gets three Imperial dudes to take their helmets to dig their own graves. “Han, That’s dark!”, Leia comments. Which he rubbishes by saying it makes up for all the cutesy stuff. Nice.
- Girl Stormtroopers use the Ewoks for a pillow fight. Sweet!
- The Emperor taunts Luke by poking fun at Seth Green (who voices Luke in ‘Family Guy’). Very funny – especially since Green plays along.
- The Emperor lands in Lando’s windshields. Pfft.
It’s still not a great episode. There are a number of missteps, like the opening scrawl, the pie fighters and bike chase, the usual products placement (the worst being the lengthy Chips Ahoy! one) and the culturally insensitive jokes, like the South American cleaning lady and Lando wearing a Star of David arm band (WTF? Ouch). I’m surprised that they didn’t make something of the Asian/Mexican copilot in the Millenium Falcon.
But the worst of it is the rape joke referencing Leia being made a slave of Jabba’s. It’s absolutely unnecessary and in poor taste. Rape is no laughing matter; the physical and psychological trauma that the victims suffer last years and sometimes never heals. And there are way more rape victims than we care to admit, as many keep it a secret. So it’s disgusting to make light of something so horrible, especially knowing it affects so many.
The fact is that most of the time, the writers of such jokes are men. There are exceptions to this rule (ex: Sarah Silverman), but it’s mostly people who have not, never will experience and/or will never even be at risk of suffering from rape. I suspect that they would feel very differently is someone near them (mother/partner/daughter) was a victim of rape. Until then, however, they believe that it’s fair game. And it really is not.
It’s not just being politically correct. It’s being empathic, being human.
Anyway, for all its flaws and lame jokes, ‘It’s a Trap!’ has one redeeming value: the animation is really stellar. This is the case for all of the episodes in the series, but this one is especially good, because it features that finale between the rebel and imperial forces around the Death Star. The 2D animation is sharp as all get out, and the 3D animation looks terrific as well. It’s a nice blend that really heightens the overall work.
However, I’m loathe to recommend ‘It’s a Trap!’ for just that. Like I mentioned in previous write-ups, if I want to watch a ‘Star Wars’ film, I’ll just watch the damned film – not a retread of it, but with lame gags injected sparsely throughout. Even if it’s animated, and especially well. I mean, the movie already exists. Ultimately, the ‘Family Guy’ crew have played it far too safe with the films, and it is to their -and our- detriment.
Date of viewing: November 22, 2015