With my love for the original Blue Harvest virtually drained by the lacklustre Something, something, something Dark Side, could Seth MacFarlane and co. salvage something from Family Guy’s final return to the original Star Wars trilogy with It’s A Trap, the parody retelling of the weakest (pre-prequel) episode, Return of the Jedi?
Here the Griffin family reprise their far, far away roles with Peter as Han Solo, Chris as Luke and the diminishingly funny Stewie as Darth Vader to name a few. In fact ‘few’ is very much the operative word, with much of the extended MacFarlane universe being raided to fill the various ‘made for merchandise’ Star Wars characters with Claus the goldfish from American Dad playing Admiral Akbar and Rollo from the Cleveland Show taking some of the more memorable cameos.
Without wishing to spoil the plot of the original Return of the Jedi (hint: the Empire win), the Family Guy treatment takes a faithful if somewhat restrained take of the film with jokes occasionally trickling through padded filler sequences that end up being the animated version of the original film, which are impressive but nonetheless needless. Add to this Family Guy‘s latter tendency to use profanity and over-extended sequences to garner some cheap laughs; the feeling that this episode could transcend Something, something, something Dark Side or come even slightly close to Blue Harvest soon fades.
Luckily there are some moments of genius with the cannibal Ewoks, Peter crossing to the Dark Side, the Emperor drawing up the Death Star on a napkin in a bar and a remarkable if warped reference to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air all being standouts. The start of the episode is pretty pithy and begins well but loses its momentum at times before (thankfully) picking up towards the end. Overall though, It’s A Trap feels inhibited on what should be extremely fertile pastures especially considering MacFarlane’s early work and how weak and woolly the original Return Of The Jedi was; and while It’s A Trap is better than Something, something, something Dark Side, it fails the capture the zest, vigour and humour of Blue Harvest.