January 18, 2008
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'Family Guy' DVD mocks 'Star Wars'
By BRUCE KIRKLAND - Sun Media


Don't get cocky, kid! Peter Griffin does his best Han Solo imitation, in Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest, out on DVD this week.

Family Guy went 30 years into the past to create a new wave for the future.

The "past" part is their 2007 spoof, Blue Harvest, which launched the sixth Family Guy season.

Substituting Family Guy characters for the original actors -- including Stewie as a diapered Darth Vadar -- it deliciously mocks George Lucas' Star Wars of 1977. As fans know, the title is the code name Lucas employed to shoot Return of the Jedi.

Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest debuted this week as an uncensored, stand-alone DVD, so the swearing is restored.

To compensate for the brisk 48-minute running time, the DVD is loaded with cool extras, including Seth MacFarlane's reverential interview with Family Guy fan Lucas. There is also a group commentary led by MacFarlane, a 10-minute reel of Star Wars jokes in previous Family Guy episodes, a making-of doc and the animatic version for tech junkies.

There are also two versions of the standard DVD (both in fullscreen). One is the inexpensive routine release. The other is pricier gift pack. It combines the movie and extras, a T-shirt, an art booklet and one set of 3-D glasses to view the exclusive stereoscopic version of Blue Harvest's 66-second aerial dogfight. You sit with Peter Griffin, as Han Solo, and Chris, as Luke Skywalker, as they shoot lasers at Empire baddies. It works okay in 3-D but is not spectacular.


The "future" part of the DVD --in both versions -- is a second disc which allows buyers to upload a digital copy of Blue Harvest to iTunes. This innovation -- the Apple version of what Warners offered on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- was announced Tuesday at Macworld in San Franciso.

Apple brain Steve Jobs cited this as the easiest, fastest way to transfer a movie to your iTunes library for play on a computer (Mac or PC), iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. That limits Canadian appeal because we do not have all those services.

This copy can be uploaded only to one iTunes library. So the Apple Force controls you -- and some consumers are unhappy. But DVD digital uploads are part of a 2008 trend. The future is now and may change how we buy and watch our movies.

Good Luck Chuck

Mark Helfrich's so-called romantic comedy, Good Luck Chuck, debuted this week in the Chucked Up! Uncut Edition, in separate full or widescreen versions.

Despite chemistry between co-stars Jessica Alba and Dane Cook as star-crossed lovers, I prefer the no-screen version. This movie is a disaster.

Gross-out comedy is king in Hollywood but this one is a joker. You need clever writing, such as in Knocked Up, to make crass T&A humour play without damaging the delicacy of romance.

Helfrich, unfortunately, was working with a dismal script. Undisciminating fans of bare breasts and simulated sex scenes may love it, however. At one point, Cook is simulating sex with 16 different women in various positions in 16 images on the screen at the same time. Nice work if you can get it.

The DVD's lame extras includes the option of watching each of those "sex matrix" scenes separately. Big whoop.

Wedding Daze

If you think Chuck got upped, try watching Michael Ian Black's wretched Wedding Daze. This straight-to-DVD romantic comedy, out this week, has no romantic chemistry and zero comedy. It pairs Jason Biggs (American Pie) and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) as strangers who get engaged on impulse. Sasha Baron Cohen, Fisher's real-life fiance, should have used his Borat bzillions to buy the movie and burn it.

The bare-bones DVD has deleted scenes. It also has full and widescreen versions on flip sides but widescreen would not play on mine. Manufacturing glitches run rampant in the digital world.




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