NEW YORK — I can still remember watching the DVD of “Clerks 2” back in 2007. I’m a sucker for trailers, but wasn’t especially paying attention to them this time – a by-product of trying to watch a movie while being with friends. All of the sudden, I start hearing “Star Wars” references coming from the TV and realized, after watching the entirety of the “Fanboys” trailer, I had fallen in love with a movie concept.
It took until Feb. 6, 2009 for the film to be released into theaters.
Kellen Rice and I were lucky enough to catch the film while were in NYC for New York Comic-con as it is in painfully limited release. It was the right audience to see the movie with because we were surrounded by nerds just as dedicated to “Star Wars” as we were. In fact, if you have never seen “Star Wars,” this movie wouldn’t even blip on your radar. On that same trend, if you have never seen “Star Wars” (or didn’t like it), don’t bother going to see this movie.
Written by: Adam F. Goldberg and Ernest Cline
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler
Running time: 90 mins
Seen at: AMC Loews 34th Street 14
“Fanboys” is nothing more than a loving homage to how much the actors involved (Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Smith and Kristen Bell, to name some people you’d recognize) love “Star Wars.” And they love “Star Wars.” The movie is so chock full of references that there wouldn’t be a single ounce of humor with out it.
The film is set circa 1999 (all the way down to “Lump” and thick square laptops) months before the release of “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.” Eric (Sam Huntington) decides that the best way to repair the three years of anger that had ruined his relationship with ex-best friend Linus (Chris Marquette) – for a reason that will remain unnamed due to how big of a spoiler it is — he and the rest of their old group of friends; Hutch (Dan Fogler) and Windows (Jay Baruchel), should travel to Skywalker Ranch and steal “The Phantom Menace” from right under George Lucas’ nose.
There were a lot of shout outs to the Star Wars culture; like questioning whether Boba Fett really was a bad ass just because he had a jet pack and recalling a three-year-long argument between Eric and Linus over whether Luke really knew Leia was his sister or not when he kissed her, as well as the ongoing Star Wars versus Star Trek feud (just watch the trailer).
But it’s the “in retrospect” moments that really give the movie its humor. There is one scene where a character played by Seth Rogen is showing off his “Star Wars” tattoos: the Empire on one shoulder and the Rebel Alliance on the other. Then he turns around, lifts the shirt off his back and reveals a huge tattoo of young Anakin Skywalker alongside Jar Jar Binks. “Jar Jar Binks, man,” he predicted, “that dude is going to be awesome!”
“Fanboys” is hysterical – if you get it. It is a film that is meant to honor, in a funny way, a film that the people behind it clearly love with all their hearts. Sure it gets outlandish at times, but the way the fan culture is described is not as off-base as those uneducated in “Star Wars” would like to believe. If you think the final scene where Eric and friends are camped out outside the movie theater for the release of the film is a bit out of proportion, just watch this:
But there was a lot of obvious love that went into the making of “Fanboys” and it makes someone who loves “Star Wars” as much as they do appreciate the fact they made the movie to begin with.
The Force clearly was with Kyle Newman and Adam Goldberg in the decision to make the movie, though it probably took a Jedi mind trick for the studio execs to get it into the theaters. Which is undoubtedly why it took three years to release.