Thursday, April 9, 2009
REVIEW - "Fanboys" (2009)
It’s really scary how big the Star Wars universe has expanded. It’s gone from a trilogy of three movies to an epic six followed by a fountain of youth in merchandising, two television shows, video games and the proposed, upcoming live action television series. By now the world is starting to get sick of Star Wars and I’m in front of the line with that sentiment. So why is a movie about people who love Star Wars so attractive? “Fanboys,” in all its mayhem, manages to get people to remember why we love Star Wars—Even if you’re more of a Trek guy. Like me!
Placed six months before the release of “Star Wars – Episode 1,” a group of hardcore Star Wars fans embark on a journey to steal a rough copy of “Episode 1” before their friend dies of cancer. The trek (ha!) leads them into a fist fight with Ain’t it Cool News’s Harry Knowles, a Star Trek convention with William Shatner, a hospital run by Carrie Fisher and a courthouse ruled by Billy Dee Williams. Lets not forget the van they're traveling in has an interior dressed as the Millennium Falcon cockpit.
The plot, I’ve decided, is a work of comic genius. For those even sick of Star Wars, you can’t help but laugh at all the nuances that define nerdom. This is not only a movie made for Star Wars fans, but a love note for sci-fi nerds across the world. For everyone who has memorized the cast of Star Wars, suffered through Ain’t it Cool News’s overexcited reports, loved a plethora of genre films and spent a large amount of their lifespan on the internet… Welcome to your comedy paradise. It is both a pleasure and a sad thing that I can laugh at almost every joke and gimmick spewed on the screen without shame. At least not too much shame…
The cameos, however brief they are, are reeled out like moments lined up for the crowd to cheer. In any other movie this would be unacceptable. But because this film is about a group’s journey through total geekdom I found the brief moments with Kevin Smith and Billy Dee Williams to hysterical. Listen closely at Carrie Fishers’ cameo. Fans will love her exchange of dialogue with one of the fanboys.
While the journey is more exciting than the lead cast, the characters aren’t as stale and one-dimensional as one might think an internet surfing, Star Wars humping nerd would be. (At least not all of them.) I was actually surprised at the underdeveloped, yet appropriately effective love story subplot. And although I wasn’t fully convinced of the emotional story arc involving a dying friend seeing a Star Wars movie, I enjoyed the way it closed. The final monologue of the character I’m referring too is understandable and relatively moving. However, I’m afraid it might be the point of unintentional laughter for those outside the target audience. This leads me to the film’s ultimate downfall.
The movie is targeted at the geeks, the nerds and the “fanboys” of today. Granted, that’s a large community, but one that doesn’t exactly scream “majority.” As a love letter to fans, this movie may not be what everyone is expecting. Say, for example, I’d like to show this movie to my girlfriend. Well, she’d get a few things, I’m sure, but she wouldn’t quite grasp what makes the movie work for others. Knowing the reality of the world, taking the somber moments seriously becomes a problem. Or maybe I’m just too cynical?
Regardless of my feelings toward the film’s more serious moments, it delivers in spades with comedy. No its not for the whole world, its for the fanboys. And they—We, will no doubt hold this movie in high regard. It’s nice to remember why we love Star Wars again. And yet it’s equally hysterical that the reality of the franchise comes tumbling down on us with the movie's final line. At least we can laugh at it now... Right? Right?
*** out of ****