“Guys, what if the movie sucks?”, a question uttered by Eric (Sam Huntington) at the very end of ‘Fanboys’ is a question that will haunt many a Star Wars fan for years to come, after waiting 16 years after Return of the Jedi to see Episode I in theaters and also for the many fans that fought to get ‘Fanboys’ released in the first place.
To start with, I’d like to give you a brief comparison of ‘Fanboys’, so that you know what you’re dealing with prior to renting the DVD.
If you have seen the KISS fan epic road movie ‘Detroit Rock City’, you’ve seen Fanboys. I don’t mean that to be harsh at all, as a kid my three favorite things in the world were ‘Star Wars, ‘Batman’ and ‘Kiss’, they were the way in which I escaped reality and I owe my sense of imagination equally to all three of them and to this very day, they all still entertain the heck out of me.
I don’t know how much, if any input Sam Huntington had on the script but with the fact that Sam Huntington is in both films, among other similarities is at times uncanny. They are both about a group of friends on the ultimate quest via Road Trip to indulge in the ultimate celebration of their respective fandoms. One being a KISS concert, the other being a viewing of Episode I. They both run into all kinds of hi jinks and shenanigans along the way, there is even a comparable scene in each film where one or more of our intrepid travelers are forced to perform a strip dancing routine, one for money and the other for survival and to fix a flat tire. In Fanboys there is a battle of Epic proportions between Star Wars fans and ‘Trekkies’ and in Detroit Rock City there is a battle between a car full of disco meat heads and the aforementioned Kiss fans.. like I said, they are essentially the same movie, written for fans of two different topics.
The four main characters of Fanboys are introduced rather haphazardly as former high school buddies who have been separated for a number of years, with Eric (Sam Huntington) having moved on to manage his dad (Christopher McDonald) ‘Big Chuck’s’ car dealership and the other three Hutch (Dan Fogler), Linus (Chris Marquette), and Zoe (Kristen Bell) running ‘Windows’ (Jay Baruchel) comic book store when they’re not hanging out in Hutch’s Mom’s garage (carriage house) playing video games and being stereotypical geeks.
Review Continues After the Jump
Once Eric finds out that his oldest pal Linus is dying of Cancer, he decides it’s time to reunite with the gang to take the ultimate quest to Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of The Phantom Menace prior to it’s theatrical release. The cancer subplot was one that fans fought hard to keep here, while they only touch on it quickly a few times in the movie, there are some touching moments, especially towards the end of the film that lend both a sense of sadness, as well as a sense of the true friendship that these ‘Fanboys’ have that really make it all the more real and not just another throw away road trip movie.
Like most road trip movies, there are parts of Fanboys that are hilarious and parts that are just ‘alright’ at best. When Hutch takes an unannounced detour while the rest of the ‘Fanboys’ are asleep and veers off to to Captain Kirk’s Iowa hometown to pick on some die hard Trekkies, that is one scene that truly makes this film funny and realistically geeky. When Zoe (Kristen Bell) re-enters the flick at the halfway point to join the boys on their quest, her spunk and attitude lend a seriously welcome jolt to the remainder of the film that, up to that point had survived on a crude joke here and a geek reference there.
Seth Rogen does an amazing job of handling not one, not two but three characters, first as a bucktoothed Trekkie, then dressed as a monster/alien Trek conventioneer, and most hilariously, as a Las Vegas pimp (who happens to be a Star Wars fan); he doesn’t steal the show or even the scenes that he takes part in from the lesser-known characters and in rare form, manages to not simply make the characters a different version of himself but actually manages to take the ‘Seth Rogen’ out of the characters altogether, which was surprising.
Let’s not forget about the cameo’s. I don’t think I’ve seen too many movies with quite the plethora of cameos, all of them lend some funny moments and definitely a hint of geek cred; from Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Jay Mewes, Jaime King, Pell James, William Shatner and many more. They are all well placed and are not made to appear just for the sake of being there.
The extras on the DVD are good but nothing to write home about, there is some funny stuff with Dan Fogler and Zoe Bell behind the scenes that are pretty funny and some decent deleted scenes worth watching. I can’t figure out why the ‘William Katt (from Greatest American Hero) scene was replaced with the one in the film, it was good to see it in the deleted scenes at least.
Is this movie perfect? No but it does what it’s supposed to and it is entertaining. I do think that among the Star Wars ‘Fanboys’, this movie will become a cult classic. Being a Star Wars Fanboy myself, I found myself wanting to go back to 1999 to experience the Episode I frenzy all over again; not so much for the movie itself but for the experience in the theater on opening night as it is so perfectly recreated at the end of ‘Fanboys’.
Witnessing that on film almost exactly 10 years to the day of the actual event (and yes, it was an event), both made me feel old and reminded me that we ‘Star Wars Fanboys’ will never be able to relive the excitement and bond of a Lucasfilm epic together like that again.. which is kind of depressing.
I give the ‘Fanboys’ DVD a 3 out of 5 Stars
Did you see it?.. what did you think? Let us know in the comments section.