Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 33.9 GB
Film Size: 12.9 GB / 10.4 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

Video
Family Guy makes it's Blu-ray debut with Something, Something, Something Dark Side. Included on the Blu-ray disc are two 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentations. One encode for the film and the other for the film with pop-up trivia.

Being the first time we saw Family Guy on Blu-ray I wasn't too sure whether to expect a true high-def master or an upconvert like the previous Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy release. I am very relieved to say the Blu-ray is definitely from a high-def source, looking fantastic and much better than I anticipated.

The animation levels are very strong, despite the simple look use for Family Guy, outlines and other effects looked quite impressive. We definitely could have experienced more jaggies in outlines due to lazy animation or other technical issues, but everything is kept to a minimum.

The film is presented in it's original 1:33:1 aspect ratio, which some viewers may hate as yes there are black bars on the sides of the screen. A film can look fantastic no matter the aspect ratio, just because it doesn't fill up your entire HDTV does not mean it cannot be among the best. Family Guy's Blu-ray debut is very strong and features a video presentation with extremely minimal issues. 9.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and sounds much better than I anticipated. The film's surround use is not necessarily amazing, but it can be quite impressive at times. I really was expecting an entirely front heavy experience, but whoever mixed the audio did a fantastic job at incorporating some great surround use into the mix.

The film is front heavy for the most part though, with dialogue at the center of it all. Dialogue levels were very clear, never a word that was overpowered or difficult to understand. The film's music, much of it from Star Wars is clear and aggressive, although it never expanded to the surround area as much as I hoped.

The film's effects are great when it comes to surround use, the battles in space travel throughout the surround field and feature very strong direction. The film's effects just have a very aggressive and fitting impact on the mix and bass use is not half bad either.

for a direct-to-Blu-ray mix, it's very easy to expect much less from it, particularly being from a very simple animated sitcom. There is no way though that one could be disappointed by the mix as it's actually very strong and impressive. 8.5/10.

Extras

Audio Commentary
by executive producers Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann and David A. Goodman, Writer Kirker Butler, Director Dominic Polcino and Actor Seth Green.

Family Guy Fact-Ups
Watch the film with some very random facts popping up within seconds of each other.

The Dark Side of Poster Art (9:17) (HD)
Hear the idea for the poster/cover art and why they decided to paint it.

Animatic Scene-to-Scene (6:37) (HD)
With commentary by Director Dominic Polcino.

"Family Guy - Something Something Something Dark Side" Table Read (49:28) (HD)
Featuring Acts 1 & 2.

Sneak Peek of "Family Guy - Episode VI: We Have a Bad Feeling About This" (2:27) (HD)
Footage from a table read is included.

Digital Copy
Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.

There are a decent amount of extras included, the included trivia track version of the film is much deeper and entertaining then it sounds, they clearly put a lot of work into it and you may find yourself viewing the entire film this way as well. The table reads are fun for those who enjoy them, but 49 minutes of people sitting at a table is not a preference of mine, no matter how funny they can be. 7.5/10.

Blu-news Summary
Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side comes direct-to-Blu-ray and is something I have been looking forward to for quite some time. I would not call myself a huge Family Guy fan whatsoever, but I have enjoyed episodes from time to time. Something, Something, Something Dark Side is the second in a series of Star Wars inspired/parody films and clearly these titles have generated enough consumer interest for even this second film release.

While the movie is basically the runtime of two episodes, it's actually quite epic and delivers a lot in only a 54 minute runtime. I am not a Star Wars fan to be honest, now that I have seen all the films I can appreciate and even enjoy a lot about it, but I personally feel they are slightly overrated. With this parody film I was able to associate much of the humor as the majority of the jokes were things many would capture due to the impact on pop culture that Star Wars has had.

The film features all your favorite characters, including Chris as Skywalker, Peter as Solo, and Lois as Princess Leia. The biggest highlight of all is Stewie as Vader, the bad guy of the movie. The movie is filled with many dirty jokes, but this is Family Guy, it's to be expected. The dumb humor works though, making something as small as a hug quite funny and slightly awkward.

If you dislike Family Guy, you will not like this movie, it's quite routine to the series although a bit stronger than the average episode. I also would not recommend you purchase the film if you are unfamiliar with Famil Guy as the humor is not for everyone, I would give it a rent first. Overall this is a solid film and one that any Family Guy fan will love. 8/10.

The Blu-ray release is very strong, featuring impressive video and audio, as well as a nice selection of extras. The Blu-ray disc is definitely the way to go for those deciding which version to purchase. 'Recommended.'

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