February 9, 2009

Movie Review: Fanboys (2009)

fanboys2_largeHere is a movie I am surprised anyone got to see on the big screen. It feels as if years have passed since I first heard about this movie. Once it fell under the purview of the Weinsteins with reported orders of cuts, edits, and reshoots, along with an ever delayed release date. I had long since given up on the possibility of seeing it on the big screen, completely expecting to see it pop up on the DVD release schedule of some random week. Well, color me surprised to see it actually arriving on the big screen, albeit severely limited, but it's there. Consider me officially excited to find that one of those few theaters is not too far from me. Now, the only question left is whether or not it will live up to expectations, considering the delayed schedule and the decidedly geeky nature of its subject matter.

fanboyspic1Having now seen the film in a criminally empty theater, I am happy to report that the film lived up to my expectations and even exceeded them in many ways. It should be noted that I did keep my expectations in check; with all of the reported meddling since it was initially cut I could not help but have some reservations going in. I should also say that Fanboys is not really a good movie, but it is one that goes a long way towards refilling the internal geek cup of any self-respecting Star Wars geek. Now, I am not so sure that I qualify as one, but I definitely have my moments.

The plot of Fanboys is a simple one, and is likely one that many Wars fans dreamed of in those halcyon days leading up to the release of Star Wars: Episode I. A group of childhood friends, Eric (Sam Huntington), Linus (Chris Marquette), Hutch (Dan Fogler), and Windows (Jay Baruchel), spent many hours plotting and planning a way to sneak into George Lucas' ranch and steal the workprint of what was then the Holy Grail for fans. as high school students, the plan was something of a pipe dream with no actual hope of coming to pass. It is a dream forgotten until the group are reunited at a Halloween party.

This reunion leads to the revelation that one of their own has cancer. With that being the case, it is the perfect time to bring back the dreams of the past and make it a reality of the present. So, off they go on a cross-country journey filled with bonding, comedy, and adventure to make those dreams come true.

Far from perfect, Fanboys is not a movie that will appeal to everyone. A good way to think of it is like a sketch from a Kevin Smith film stretched to the length of a feature. Anyone who has a seen pretty much any of Smith's films will know his love for Star Wars and penchant for having a related conversation in his films. Now, stretch that exchange out, perhaps make their discussion a reality and have them embark on a journey that glorifies the world of the geek. That is what Fanboys is. It is glorious.

fanboyspic2Yes, you read that right, this movie is glorious. So it is a little light on character development, a lot implausible on the plot side, and not terribly complete in any respect, but that does not stop it from being thoroughly entertaining. All right, let me be completely honest, I love Fanboys. The humor works completely for me. It is goofy, outlandish, and I find it so completely endearing.

Director Kyle Newman and writers Ernest Cline, Adam F. Goldberg, and Dan Pulick came together and crafted a wonderful dedication to geeks worldwide. No, it may not be the best story, but it is all about the geek. It does not hide what it is, it comes right out and says it. The movie is not going to play well to wide audiences and I do not believe it was ever meant to. The jokes, the cameo appearances, everything just goes so well together.

On top of the obvious love the creative team has for the subject matter, the cast seemed to be right there with them. The collected assemblage of geek characters had the chemistry and the timing to make the story work. Plus, you cannot forget the added bonus of Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) in the Leia slave outfit.

Bottomline. If you like Star Wars and you have not already seen this in some fashion, you must track it down and do so. It is hilarious, ridiculous, and sweet all wrapped up in one geek trivia laden package.

Highly Recommended.


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