In honor of May the 4th, I decided to review a Star Wars film. So out of the 8 canon films, I decided to watch something not even in the series. Fanboys is a comedy about a group of friends that drives across the country to steal a print of Episode I: The Phantom Menance. It is a hilarious comedy that is grossly underrated and underappreciated as a tribute to Star Wars.
For those old enough to remember, there was a time when Episode I was the most anticipated movie of all time. Even after it came out to largely negative feedback … it still went on to be one of the highest grossing films up to that point. While Fanboys doesn’t focus entirely on the hype leading up to the movie, it does relish in the rich fandom of the series.
I would give it 5 “What if the movie sucks?” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
6 months (Halloween of 1998) before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 3 friends Linus, Hutch, and Windows reunite a long lost high school buddy Eric. After learning Linus is dying, Eric decides to recruit everyone for a long time plan of breaking into Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of the much anticipated film. Of course many things a pit stop to harass Star Trek fans, a flat tire, accidentally gay biker bar run-in, and mistakenly hiring escorts. They eventually make it there, but fall short of stealing the prize.
The cameos and rising stars really make tbe film though: Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jaime King, Danny McBride, Ray Park, Craig Robinson, Ethan Suplee, Joe Lo Truglio, Lou Taylor Pucci, Will Forte, Danny Trejo, and William Shatner.
The highlight of the movie in my opinion is Seth Rogen. Whether it is his Trekkie with horrible teeth, the alien, or his pimp they are easily the best parts of the movie. Want to dig a little deeper? The scene we are introduced to the pimp is the shining star of the movie. When he shows off his light side and the dark side tattoos, I die laughing. But then he lifts up the back of his shirt revealing Anakin and Jar-Jar Binks in their gangster pose … this might be my favorite Seth Rogen scene out of any movie.
The main characters just fall flat. I generally judge movies based on and this wasn’t a character based drama. Linus is sick / dying but we never see anything that indicates this. There was also some supposed conflict between Linus and Eric, but it never really comes up or matters after the first act.
To top it off, their whole mission was to steal Episode I and had been planned for several years? Not sure how that seems plausible since the movie would have recently finished being edited and the super fans would know. Nitpicking I know, but it brings the whole movie down.
While it is a great comedy, with wonderful cameos, and some great references … Fanboys ends up falling short. There isn’t any connection to the characters, which isn’t a complaint I generally have since I like to judge a movie based on what it tries to be. This causes the movie to seem like a series of skits. I remember liking this movie a lot more than it turned out this time. I am not sure if that is due to having another long period of times between Star Wars films or if the movie lost its luster. I would say it’s worth at least renting if you haven’t seen it and like Star Wars.
My recommendation is going to be a shocker based off this decision … Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace! Sure it was a drastic departure from what made the original trilogy so great. They leaned into the CGI, tried to explain the force, used trade negotiations instead of a war, and didn’t really have a main antagonist. There is so much to actually like though! The pod racing scene was fun and you are lying to yourself if you say otherwise. The piece-de-resistance was the final lightsaber fight.