Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DJG / Fanboys

Fanboys * * * ½
Directed by: Kyle Newman / 2009

What “Fanboys” lacks in originality and plot, it makes up for in heart. We’ve all seen a road movie that follows the road movie formula before. You know the like: bad directions and detours, car trouble, wacky characters, ridiculous scenarios, crude humor, getting chased or beat-up, self-discovery, best friends bickering and breaking apart and then reuniting for the better (among others). Very few road movies really “work” for me and I’ve rolled my eyes at several in recent months, but “Fanboys” is a treat as it hits my “Star Wars” sweet spot and tosses some coins in the coming of age fountain. It trades in Harold and Kumar’s White Castle munchies search for that of George Lucas’s “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”. Set way back in the good ol’ days of 1998 (has it REALLY been eleven years?!), a group of way-more-devoted-than-thou fanatics in their 20s decide to engage their 5th grade pact of making a cross-country trek (ha, trek…see it and you’ll get my joke) from Ohio to Skywalker Ranch in California. Their mission: to steal an early print of “The Phanton Menace”, the long-awaited first prequel to the original “Star Wars” franchise that molded their childhood. More important, one of them is dying from terminal cancer and his friends wish to give him one heck of a send-off and a chance to see the film months in advance. "Fanboys" is filled with the aforementioned road trip menu, though it's highly entertaining and was a fine tribute to "Star Wars", most importantly it's fans and made me wish I could still stay up all night to marathon the original trilogy. The film features delightful cameos and even George Lucas’s approval and blessing to use original "Star Wars" sound effects! When the fanboys (and girl) finally get to see what they’ve waited years for, the movie ends in a question: “What if the movie sucks?” Well, those of us who waited patiently for our midnight screening of “The Phantom Menace” know the answer, and just like with “Fanboys” the movie might not be the best, but is still very sweet from the journey. –djg

*Side Note:
I am reminded of another recent “Star Wars” fan related movie originally titled “5-25-77” but, now simplified to “’77”. Patrick Read Johnson’s film based on his own life and love of “Star Wars” was completed in 2007, but has yet to find proper distribution or something legal or financial is hanging it up. It’s not even a straight to DVD release. I really want to see it and have been curious about it for several years now. It’s stars John Francis Daley (Sam Weir from the beloved “Freaks & Geeks”!) whose life is changed forever on the day “Star Wars” came out on May 25, 1977.

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