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Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A+
Video/Audio/Extras: A+/A/D+

Directed by: Pete Michels
Written by: Alex Borstein, Steve Callaghan, Gary Janetti and Chris Sheridan
Based on the television series by: Seth MacFarlane
Produced by: Kara Vallow
Voices of: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, Lori Alan, Mike Henry, Phil LaMarr, Rachael MacFarlane
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

After returning from it's dreaded cancellation, Family Guy not only brought fans many new episodes but a feature film as well. Even though it's not being released in theatres, the direct-to-DVD release is doing extremely well and possibly better than animated films like Madagascar and Robots that were released in cinemas. The huge sales aren't very surprising. For the past couple of years, old and new fans have bought the DVD box sets and have watched the reruns on Cartoon Network which continue to do better than David Letterman and Jay Leno. Now, with a Family Guy movie for adult animation fans to enjoy, people are probably wondering, "Why hasn't a Simpsons movie been released?"

In the new season, Stewie hasn't had that big of a role and has never had any stories revolving around him. The reason for that is probably because they were saving up for his big story here. Stewie Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) the diabolical baby genius of the dysfunctional Rhode Island clan is now obsessed with beating a boy at his swimming classes. When an attempt to kill him goes wrong, Stewie gets a near-death experience and is sent to hell. Not wanting to go there again, he decides to be a good boy for a change (although he already tried that in the third season Christmas episode). Brian (Seth MacFarlane) the highly intellectual dog finds out what he's up to and decides to take him out for a drink. Stewie then decides never to drink ever again. The next day, when watching the news, he sees a man who looks exactly like him and decides that he is his real father. Along with Brian and the perverted Quagmire (Seth MacFarlane), they head to San Francisco to look for him. Meanwhile, the dim-witted Peter (Seth MacFarlane) gets a job as a rants man for Quahog 5 Action News and he also attempts to teach his other children how to date.

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is an hilariously funny film, however you will need to have watched some episodes of the show to understand what is going on (It's worth it a lot). Supporting favourites such as the evil monkey, the Greased Up Deaf Guy and Ollie Williams turn up to give the fans something to laugh. However, there are still great gags for everyone to enjoy such as a Gandhi stand-up routine and a well-deserved punch at Bono (literally). The writers have also decided to take advantage that this is not a television episode and add some f-words into the mix. They don't go over board like Trey Parker and Matt Stone did with South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut but then again they didn't need to. Viewers should also note that if they want to watch the film without bleeps, they need to go to the Language Selection menu to do so. Profanity not withstanding, the humour, the violence and the sexual content isn't that much different from the television series. That doesn't effect the brilliant comedy, though which helps this film get into "A+" territory. Family Guy is a bright and colourful cartoon so the colour and image are very well handled so an "A+" grade to the video department for sharpness and cleanliness. This was originally three different episodes so the sound doesn't exactly blow you away nor should it so the audio gets an "A."

Despite the brilliance of the movie, the picture quality and the sound, the rest of the DVD just doesn't match up. The only worthwhile extra is the audio commentary which features many participants including series creator-voice artist Seth MacFarlane, director Peter Michels and writer-voice artist Alex Borstein. They provide a great commentary with talks about the resurrection of the series, the length of the film, deleted jokes and an hilarious story about how they couldn't get the rights to a certain song. It's an amazing commentary, which is sad they couldn't have worked more on the other extras on the disc. First we are treated to storyboard-final animation comparisons, which aren't very interested. If they had shown the actual storyboard session, it would have been so much better. The disc ends off with a thud with previews for the fourth season of Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane's new show, American Dad. I'm not usually picky about previews, but they could have added things to them that we haven't seen before on television. If it weren't for the commentary, the extras would have gotten an "F" grade. Thanks to the commentary, the special features are brought up to "D+" which is very disappointing.

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story is amazing but the lack of amazing extras doesn't make me recommend that you purchase it, even if you are a rabid Family Guy fan. You should either rent or borrow it from a friend (luckily that's what I did).

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