Saturday, August 29, 2009

DVD Review: Fanboys

"We storm the ranch or we die trying"

gives us great laughs from start to finish, but also portrays a story that wont be forgotten within 10 minutes of the end credits. There are plenty of great comedies out there, but all to often they sacrifice a good story for the sake of a good laugh. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when a movie comes along that manages to squeeze both into 90 minutes of cinematic glory you know you are watching something special.

Admittedly though, the creators clearly had a specific audience in mind for this one, and that audience is geeks. Most of the humor in here is going to center around the obscure references and in jokes referencing geek culture and Sci Fi in general. So if that's not you, then you need not read further because you probably wont enjoy the film. Or at least you wont enjoy it as much as the rest of us.

This is a movie that has seen a troubled development. There were endless delays and hang ups with the proposed cinematic release in theaters, which eventually never happened anyway. Instead the movie finally saw the light of day in the somewhat troubled direct to DVD format. Nobody has any respect for a movie that skips the theater, it's just the way of things. Granted the vast majority of such movies are indeed terrible, to the point of being unwatchable, but there are the occasional gems (Boondock Saints anyone?). Anyway, I rather wish this movie had gone to theaters because it would have made for a great flick to see with the guys.

The plot revolves around four friends who intend to break into Skywalker Ranch and steal the rough cut of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace before it is released. Now that in itself sounds like your standard, all for laughs kind of movie. However, throw in the fact that one of the guys is terminally ill, and will otherwise not be able to see the movie and suddenly the story has a little more weight. Without doubt this is still a comedy though, so the ominous nature of the friends demise is kept on the back burner for much of the story, but it is still there. It would have been easy for them to remove that aspect in favor of a lighter story, but I am glad they stuck to their guns and kept it in. After all, the looming death is what separates this movie from the droves of other comedies out there.

The cast was terrific, I honestly can not fault a single casting choice in this movie. Sam Huntington (Eric), Chris Marquette (Linus), Dan Fogler (Hutch) and Jay Baruchel (Windows) all had great chemistry together, I could buy that these guys are long time childhood friends. Through in Kristen Bell (Zoe) as one of natures rarest of species, the geek chick, and you have a cast that really shines. Not to mention that they include a scene where Bell is dolled up in the Princess Leia Slave garb from Return of the Jedi. Lets not forget some great cameos from Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ray Park, William Shatner and even Carrie Fisher. Everyone in this movie is clearly having fun with it, and it shines through in their performance.

As an added perk, the DVD comes with a Cast and Crew commentary and several hilarious deleted scenes. You can pick this one up for about $15 depending on where you buy it which is well worth it.

Final Verdict on Fanboys:

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