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Review

‘Fanboys’ falls short with technical skills, rebounds with believable acting

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March 5, 2009

Certain movies develop a cult following over time, but few are made to cater specifically to an already existing cult fan base. However, the recent film “Fanboys” is a film that definitely fits into the last category, with its constant homage to the Star Wars saga. The film is a good example of how to pay tribute to a series through comedy and how to be a good comedic actor, but it also lacks a lot of technical skill.

The film’s plot concerns a group of friends from high school who all share an obsession with Star Wars, but they seem to have drifted apart. When one of them is diagnosed with cancer, they embark on a mission to break into Skywalker Ranch in order to see the rough edit of “Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.” Their journey takes them through the Trekkie infested foothills of Iowa, to the strip of Vegas to receive insider information from an unlikely source and ultimately to the ranch itself.

The film excels at presenting jokes that not only the die-hard “Star Wars” fans will get, but that the entire audience will enjoy as well. With several different people from the original trilogy making cameos along with others from Hollywood, it can only fully be enjoyed from a true fan’s perspective, which is unfortunate. Although there is something for everyone in the flick, only true fans of the original trilogy will get the most out of the movie.

The acting in the film is actually believable across the board—something that is rare for this type of comedy. The performances from the four best friends is what makes the film truly work, and not just in a comedic light, but when the film turns serious at points. The audience can still believe what is being said and done by the characters. Notable among the numerous cameos in the film are the appearances of Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes and William Shatner, and will leave the audience in hysterics.

But, for all the good things the film does, it does fail at technical aspects. The camera work seems to be mostly handheld, and can at times be painful to watch. There are some editing issues as well, mostly due to a bizarre production schedule for the film, but it is just a small annoyance. One thing to be said for the makers of the film is that the editing of the original “Star Wars” sound effects into the film works out flawlessly.

With everything that the film does wrong technically, it makes up for it in the spirit and comedy of the film. The film will be celebrated by geeks and fans everywhere for its accurate and heartwarming portrayal of this aspect of society, but it is a sad fact that they will be the only ones in on all the jokes. That is the only thing that keeps this movie from moving from out of the cult film genre and into getting a more mainstream audience. However, if you had planned on busting out your original edit versions of the trilogy on DVD this week, go see this instead. The force is truly strong with this film.

3.5 stars out of 5

Nathan Piotrowski is a digital film and television major with a film studies minor. In his spare time, he attempts to be a professional lottery winner.