Under The Radar 16: Fanboys

This week is going to be a little different as I’m focusing on a film that Star Wars geeks know and love, but I’ve noticed over the past few months that many other people have no clue about it. Fanboys is a comedy set in 1998 as a group of friends set out on a road trip across America to break into Skywalker Ranch and steal a copy of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Facing off against Trekkies, the law and Lucas’ personal security are just some of the obstacles they face in their journey to do something great with their lives. The film is a great mixture of comedy, action and even drama as it deals with friends growing apart and growing up as well as with the tough situation of cancer. This film stars Sam Huntington (US version of Being Human), Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jay Baruchel (Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Chris Marquette (The Girl Next Door) and features numerous cameos from Star Wars alumni like Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams as well as Star Trek‘s William Shatner.

When TV shows and movies try to “borrow” a genre, in this case Star Wars, for their own projects they usually crash and burn. The fans they try to attract usually end up shunning the product because it isn’t faithful to what they know or is done so horribly it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. At the same time, they fail to attract new fans because they focus so hard on pleasing that first group of fans. Fanboys succeeds in being entertaining for both “Fanboys” and non-Star Wars fans alike. There is a decent amount of jokes that only diehard Star Wars fans will get but not enough to alienate anyone who’s only seen the films a few times or not at all. The ensemble cast plays well off one another and their interactions with one another are often the main source of laughter as well as the many roles of Seth Rogan who plays (by my count) at least three different characters. Without losing it’s comedic edge, Chris Marquette’s character Linus is suffering from cancer which brings back Sam Huntington’s character Eric as they attempt to put their friendship back together along their trip.

Now if you’re thinking you recognize the characters but can’t tell from where, it’s because the film’s trailer was featured on the DVD for Kevin Smiths’ CLERKS 2, Smith and Jason Mewes even had cameos in Fanboys. The movie was originally delayed due to several re-edits of the final film and was eventually released almost 2 years later than expected. Originally released in only eight US markets, it would later see more releases across the states. The DVD would be released just 3 months after it began its theatrical run and featured audio commentary and several behind the scenes documentaries. If George Lucas approves it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good, but if I approve it as a die-hard Star Wars fan? You know Fanboys is going to be a treat.

About Peter Jurewicz

Peter lives by the motto "Give Geeks a chance." He graduated film school in '07 and made the next logical move to working in a pet store. He runs the blog BigDamnGeeks.com with some friends and likes to think that when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives (and it IS coming) that he'll survive longer than you.

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