Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Review

We round off the Family Guy spoofs of Star Wars with It’s a Trap. Knocking on not only Jedi but themselves, you have to wonder if the opening text scroll, actually an apology to the audience, is true. It is perfectly believable the studio execs had no faith in Blue Harvest, but then it made money, and it all ended up here whether Seth McFarlane and crew wanted it to.

Business dealings aside, It’s a Trap remains hysterically funny, character selection the key to this under 60-minute animated farce. Rush Limbaugh replaces the Rancor (physically and in voice), Jabba is Joe Swanson (Patrick Warburton), and Admiral Ackbar is Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker) from American Dad. Apparently, this trilogy spoof has come so far they can’t even rely on the vast universe of Family Guy anymore as source material.

The fourth-wall digs at Jedi are of course true. Can you argue that rebuilding the Death Star with another massive hole that will cause it to be destroyed internally was a stupid idea? No, you can’t. You can’t really debate the amount of time the Ewoks had to plan their counter attack against the AT-ATs either. In other words, Jedi parodies write themselves in a lot of ways, maybe not as much as Phantom Menace, but still.

Not everything hits like it should, the nodding gag on the sail barge running its course long before it concludes, but then again, it’s a carry over from the show anyway. Double parody? Maybe, but it’s still not funny. The action scenes are enjoyable for the enormous attention to detail, right down to the Falcon swinging forward towards the screen during the Rebel assault in space. Interspersed are swipes at Seth Green in an attempt to make his character (Chris/Luke) turn to the darkside and plenty of toilet humor, as if Family Guy ever did anything better. While the parodies have lost a bit of their energy, the zingers come fast enough to fill an hour.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

This is the first of series to go widescreen (what took so long?), breaking free of the 4×3 constraints. The end result mirrors Something, Something Darkside in that aliasing is a constant bother, the worst of it on the ships themselves. From the opening view of the Star Destroyer coming overhead, lines not only reveal blocking, but break-up and flicker. None of the ships in the space battles are safe from the problem.

Endor and the interior of the Death Star are not free of problems either, although the aliasing is a little harder to spot around the fine lines of animated characters. On the surface of the planet, banding becomes irritating, littering the ground and the sky. The steely rooms of the Death Star are the same, especially behind the Emperor’s chair. Space, being a basic solid black, doesn’t have these issues.

Compression complaints go absent elsewhere too, the solid colors not giving this AVC from Fox (who else?) much to handle. Mosquito noise is is never a problem, creating an image that is clear, clean, and pure. That leaves the typical Family Guy palette pleasing, some bright oranges, flesh tones, and blues striking. The desert of Tatooine during the Sarlac rumble is a nice golden hue, a nice change from the ugly greens coating on Jabba.

There are a few live action shots, one from Caddyshack that looks okay, and another with Conway Twitty that was pulled from what is obviously an analog source. Those are the only breaks from the stable animation that is pleasing enough to get by, if not overwhelmingly awesome. No doubt the goal of releasing this to TV kept the budget a bit lower than it should have been.

Video ★★★★☆ 

The best part of these spoofs are the actual Star Wars sound effects and score. It provides a nice preview of how John Williams music will eventually rip through our speakers in DTS-HD (or TrueHD… or PCM). It’s enough to excite, although the final release will surely have a bit more kick and range. The sweeping score still bleeds into the rears effectively, and keeps the action as intense as it should be.

Bass is generated from the ship’s engines, the opening Star Destroyer pass not only effective in the rears, but the low-end too. What’s really odd is the shield generator explosion. It’s as if someone forgot to mix the bass all together, offering no subwoofer action whatsoever. Jabba’s voice has an artificial rumble that’s more satisfying than that critical explosion.

At least the rears work when they’re supposed to, including the various fights. Lasers whip around the soundfield and ships pass through. There’s a nice bit inside an X-Wing at 16:25 too where the hum of the engines is properly placed behind Chris/Luke. It’s a serviceable mix, although it does make the wait for the real thing even harder.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

A crowded audio commentary has Seth McFarlane, writer David A. Goodman, Shannon Smith, supervising animator Peter Shin, and Cherry Cev… Cheva…Chevap… this woman. A Very Special Message from Darth Stewie is a short voice mail, more of a deleted scene that wouldn’t fit anywhere in the feature. Star Wars Trivial Pursuit Championship is a 30-minute piece where staff members play “Star Wars Trivial Pursuit,” and as you can imagine, it’s about as much fun as watching people play a board game. Sock Puppet Outtakes is another short piece about a bit character.

A nearly 40-minute animatic run through takes viewers through every scene in the movie as it was in pre-production. Making the Scene should be plural as Peter Shin commentates about two specific sequences. BD-Live access offers a Comic Con featurette.

Extras ★★★☆☆ 

About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can follow Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki. His Amazon wish list is available for those wishing to help out.
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