Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Original Poster
I have a long and storied history with Fanboys. WAY back (at least in movie years) in December of 2006 I got an invite to a test screening of the film in LA. I had heard of the film off and on over at AICN, but didn't know a whole lot about it. I of course looked it up on IMDB and found that my CelebriCrush, Kristin Bell was in the movie, and immediately wanted to see it. Unfortunately my wife was feeling bad, but made me a promise: We would go see Fanboys opening day, Valentine's weekend 2007. So reluctantly I agreed to wait to see it.

Soon after my (at the time) new favorite magazine, Geek Monthly, had a cover story with Bell about the upcoming release of Fanboys.
February 2007 came and went without the movie being released and I was sad.

Cut to May 2007, some friends of mine are going to Star Wars Celebration 3, which is taking place in LA and was marking the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars. So I decided to join my friends, since I'd probably never get an opportunity like that again. Of course I was even more inclined to go once I discovered that there would be a Fanboys panel at which several minutes of the movie would be screened and much of the cast would be in attendance.

So on May 25, 2007 I finally got my first glimpse of Fanboys. The director, Kyle Newman, and several of the cast members including, Chris Marquette, Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, and Kristin Bell introduced the footage and spoke a little about the film. They then screened about 45 minutes of the film (roughly half of the final running time) and it was hilarious, definitely if your a fan of Star Wars.
Afterwards there was a Q & A with all the people who introduced the footage (except Bell who took off once the footage started) at which it was revealed that The Weinstein's had faith in the movie and were putting money back into the film to shoot some extra scenes that had been written. Unfortunately the earliest they could get the cast together was September which meant the movie wouldn't come out until Early 2008. So once again I was stuck waiting for a movie I couldn't wait to see.

Now let me take a break to explain the movie a bit. Fanboys is set in 1998, 6 months before The Phantom Menace was to be released. It's the story of 4 friends who are die hard Star Wars fans. Unfortunately one of them is dying of cancer and only has 3 to 4 months to live, which means he won't live long enough to see Episode 1. So the friends decide to break into Skywalker Ranch and steal a copy of the film, so their friend can see the movie before he dies.

Cut to January 2008, its been months and I've heard nothing about the movie coming out. Luckily I have a good friend who is friends with someone who stars in the film, so I ask him what's up with the movie. Apparently the friend in the movie was not happy, a new producer was involved and they had done research, apparently any mention of cancer in a movie kept an audience from laughing for 5 to 10 minutes. So they had decided to excise the cancer from the film and fill it with nudity, language, and other things which had made Apatow's films so successful.

I quickly ran to my blog and broke the story (Read it Here), mainly because I was upset they were taking out the cancer. Because if you take the cancer out of the above story, you've just got a group of punk kids who decide they can't wait to see a movie and set out to steal it. By Excising the cancer they were ultimately taking out the heart of the film. The story was picked up by Aint It Cool News, and from their it snowballed. A group of actual fanboys, many of whom had donated their authentic star wars costumes to the film, became as angered as I was and created a massive grassroots campaign to keep the cancer in the film. The campaign included a boycott of Weinstein films and getting as many people as possible to e-mail every employee of The Weinstein Co (TWC) to plead for the movie to be released as it should be. The New York Post evetually ran a story citing to both this blog and AICN. Eventually TWC decided to release Fanboys, with cancer, in theaters in November of 2008.

Of course the movie was then once again pushed back and was finally released on 43 screens in 8 cities, one of which was here in Austin, TX. So finally last Wednesday I got to see a movie I've been waiting to see for over 2 years. (And because the movie had a high enough per screen average it was recently announced that it would expand to 10 more cities this Friday!)

So I'm sure you're asking yourself, was it worth the wait? And I answer, Definitely! The movie is really a love letter to Star Wars, Fanboys, and friends. And I can honestly saw if you're a fan of Star Wars you will enjoy this movie. The movie is basically Star Wars joke after Star Wars joke, with a few jokes at the expense of Star Trek thrown in for fun. And my friend and I had a blast, and from the sound of the people around us, they had just as much fun as we did.

The movie as I said before follows four friends played by Huntington, Fogler, Marquette, and Jay Baruchel who decide to go on a road trip to steal a copy of The Phantom Menace so that Marquette's Linus can see it before he dies of cancer. Bell plays their lone gal pal who shows up halfway to safe their butts from the slammer. And all five of the main actors do a great job portraying their friendship and the strains that growing up can have on those relationships. (And Bell looks nice near the end of the film in her Slave Leia gear!)

The other great thing about the movie is all the great cameos. The movie packs in cameos from Star Wars stars such as Billy Dee Williams, Ray Park, and Carrie Fisher, who has the best line of the film. But there's also great cameos from Star Wars fans like Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. And even a cameo from a well known Star Trek actor.

I am excited to see what all they put out on a DVD. I know they shot a lot of footage for an R rated comedy, and since this is PG-13 I assume most of it stayed on the cutting room floor. Also I'm curious as to whether or not they will put out a disc with both the cancer and non-cancer versions of the film so fans can see if we actually won in the end or not.

There's not much more I can say about the movie. It's a great way to spend an hour and a half, as long as you like laughter, otherwise you'll hate it.

The New, Far Inferior 40 Year Old Virgin-esque Poster


John said...

Incidentally, we're going to Waco in Spring Break. If it hasn't made its way to Dallas by then I was thinking of stealing down to Austin for a few hours to see this.

I'm not sure when exactly, just be sure to clear your calendar for that whole week.

The CineManiac said...

You'll have to be more clear as Spring Break covers many weeks depending on the school.
Also it will have to be after I get off work at 5.
Oh, and it will have to be when I want to see you.
So why don't you work around me.

John said...

Good point, I don't know exactly when Brandy's break is, so you'd better just clear off March.

Be sure your phone is on. See you then.

phil3000 said...

Really glad it finally got released, esp with its cancer sub-plot intact. It must have taken so much love and passion for SW to have held on for 10 years. Maybe it is a missed opportunity, but i doubt thats solely down to a directorial lack. Reckon Weinsteins’ limited release, is still gonna damage its chances of getting much of an international release. I’m in the UK, so will just wait for it to come out on DVD, that’ll do the trick ;-) Always sounds to me like Harvey Weinstein is chewing some seriously sour grapes; and doing his best to have the last laugh, THAT is the sad thing/truth about this film. Kind of like Fanboys, thought you might be interested, but a bit more serious (probably not a many lightsaber=penis jokes) is ‘The People vs George Lucas’. Trailer was released on Friday,a documentary about Fanboys, trailer here:


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