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Family Guy presents Stewie Griffin...
DVD disk
09.08.2005 By: JoBlo
Family Guy presents Stewie Griffin... order
Peter Shin, Pete Michels

Seth McFarlane
Seth Green
Mila Kunis


star Printer-Friendly version
The so-called "Family Guy" movie is actually a combination of three episodes, tied together by one big story, as well as an added prologue and epilogue. The episodes will apparently be seen on TV separately (although not everything on this DVD will be allowed to be shown on TV), but not the pro- and epilogues. The story finds baby child, Stewie, having a crisis of conscience after a close call with death. Soon thereafter, he comes to the realization that his father is not really the man who is claiming to be his papa, and therefore sets out to find the man who might actually have delivered the original seed. Family dog, and all-around cool canine, Brian, also tags along.
As many of you already know by now, I'm a massive fan of the "Family Guy" TV show, so I was elated when Fox decided to bring it back to TV, and even moreso when I received this full-blown "motion picture" DVD for review. Ever since I started watching the "Family Guy", it has become very difficult for me to watch any other televised animated comedy without being very disappointed when the laughs don't come every 10 seconds like they do in this show. Which is also what makes this film so hard to review, since holding that sort of comedic momentum for close to 90 minutes is difficult (and then some), but I'm glad to report that overall...the DVD works, the laughs are a-plenty, and any real fan of the show will definitely want to add this sucker to their collection.

Despite the "movie" seemingly being collated from three separate episodes, I didn't feel that at all, and especially enjoyed the additional intro and conclusion written in specifically for the DVD, with the characters from the show, showing up for their movie premiere, conducting interviews and the like. The film's first half hour is as solid as any "Family Guy" episode that I have ever seen, with jokes flying by the second, flashbacks galore and even a number of references to old shows for all the big fans, like yours nerdly ("Let's have a sexy party!"). The second half hour is when the show takes place more "on the road" and things still work pretty well, even though there is obviously a little more emphasis on the story, and not as many flashbacks and the like. That said, you gotta love it when someone notes that the sign on Quagmire's new cross-country Winnebago misspells the word "country" and he deadpans: "No, it doesn't" (think about it).

Before watching the movie, I honestly didn't think that the writers could pull off an entire movie focusing on Stewie alone (and I adore the kid!), but thankfully that wasn't the case at all, with an even mix with all of the characters throughout (although there is definitely more emphasis on Stewie and Brian in the film's latter half), although the neighbors (save Quagmire) are pretty much MIA. Unfortunately, the film's final 20 minutes or so didn't work all that much for me, and that had more to do with the fact that it went into "fantasy" somewhat (time-travel and the future) and that took away from all the well-known characters that I'd come to know and love (new characters like "Ron" weren't funny).

That said, overall, the story still worked, despite not really being the film's focus. The movie, just like the show, is best when it's lacing into people and situations at a click, and it does so here as well, with dozens upon dozens of new classic moments including some of my faves like the play on "Bugs Bunny" (finally!), the Vince Vaughn/Susan Sarandon movie (very funny!), the scene in which Stewie finds himself in hell for a few moments, the scene in which mother Griffin teaches her son Chris to "eat out" and plenty of other nasty jokes, as well as some newfound swearing (although the f*cks were bleeped out in my copy). Overall, I think this movie is an excellent way for new fans to get into the show (or to figure out whether or not it's their "type" of humor) and it certainly won't let old fans down, with plenty of more Stewie goodness and all-around "Family Guy" tomfoolery, wackiness and humor. Kudos to all involved. Note: The box claims the film to be only 80 minutes, when in actuality, it's closer to 90 minutes overall.
Commentary track by creator Seth McFarlane and others: I actually watched the entire film again while listening to this track (not a problem really) and was pretty entertained and informed throughout. The track features McFarlane along with the many, many writers of the show (the show has close to 20 overall, but they're obviously not all on the track), and a few of the cast members (people who provide the voices) like Seth Green (Chris) and Mila Kunis (Meg). What I liked about listening to these folks is that they were always dropping cool insights about the show, or how things looked or were on-screen, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes stories about what "made it" into some shows, and what didn't. One VERY ODD thing that I found out while listening to the track was that actress Mila Kunis, who has been voicing the character of Meg for few years now...had actually never watched an episode until most recently!! (when she started dating a guy who really liked the show). She was like "Yeah, it's actually a very funny show". Wow. Not much you can say to that. A great listen.

Animatic comparison: You get to compare a couple of scenes from the finished film, to the original drawings. Interesting for some.

You also get a "Family Guy: Volume 3" DVD preview (to be released: November 29, 2005), as well as the proverbial plug for McFarlane's other animated Fox adventure, "American Dad" (an okay show, but not as consistent as "Family Guy").
One of the most consistently funny television programs delivers an excellent re-packaged version of three of its episodes into a full-blown "movie" which lasts 90 minutes, features the core of their characters, plenty of their usual pop-culture and celebrity spoofs and flashbacks, as well as a continued sense of the creative and absurd. If you've never tried to watch the show, check this out and you will definitely know whether or not it's for you. The DVD doesn't have all that much else going for it, but then again, it's cheap and it features 90 minutes of the "Family Guy" that you've never seen before, so get it today and thank me later.
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