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WEINSTEIN COMPANY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Kyle Newman
Cast:
Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, David Denman, Christopher McDonald, Charlie B. Brown, Seth Rogen
Writing Credits:
Adam F. Goldberg, Ernest Cline (story), Dan Pulick (and story)

Tagline:
Real fans don't wait in line.

Synopsis:
Get ready for the comedy adventure that’s “smart, funny, and tailor-made for the inner-Jedi in all of us” (Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com). In 1998, four childhood buddies with a shared love of all things Star Wars reunite for one final, hilarious odyssey. Their insane plan: a cross-country road trip to storm George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch and steal a copy of Episode I before it’s released. With the police, a crew of angry Trekkies, and a crazy pimp hot on their trail, what could possibly go wrong? Featuring Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, and Kristen Bell, plus a slew of hysterical surprise cameos, “the Force IS strong with this one!” (Brian Gallagher, MovieWeb)

Box Office:
Budget
$3.9 million.
Opening Weekend
$171.533 thousand on 44 screens.
Domestic Gross
$685.484 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 5/19/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Kyle Newman, Screenwriters Adam F. Goldberg and Ernie Cline, and Actors Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell, and Sam Huntington
• Six Deleted Scenes
• “The Truth About Fanboys” Featurette
• “Star Wars Parallel” Featurette
• “4 Fanboys and 1 Fangirl” Featurette
• “The Choreography” Featurette
• “Disturbances in the Force: A Series of Webisodes”
• Trailer
• Sneak Peeks


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Fanboys (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 5, 2009)

It seems like Trekkies get most of the “obsessed sci-fi fan” press, but a few projects are trying to give Star Wars fans their due. In addition to the 10th anniversary release of the documentary A Galaxy Far, Far Away, 2009 provided the theatrical release of Fanboys, a flick about a quest led by some diehard Star Wars buffs.

Set in 1998, we meet a bunch of 20-something Star Wars obsessives. Eric Bottler (Sam Huntington) drifts away from his childhood pals Windows (Jay Baruchel), Hutch (Dan Fogler) and Linus (Christopher Marquette). In particular, Linus remains bitter; he and Eric planned to become comic book creators, but Eric bailed to work in his dad’s car dealership.

Eric runs into them again at a Halloween party and becomes ensnared in a plot to see Episode One way in advance. How will they do this? They plan to drive across country, break into Skywalker Ranch and steal a print. This leads them on a series of adventures as they attempt this crazy feat.

As a nearly lifelong Star Wars, I thought Fanboys looked like fun. Appearances can be exceedingly deceiving, and that proves true for this inane, forgettable film.

Really, with a semi-clever plot and the involvement of a few reasonably talented folks, I can’t figure out how Fanboys went so wrong. The road trip flick offers a time-tested formula, and I don’t have any problem with it. However, given the number of entries in this genre, a new one needs to do something special.

Fanboys doesn’t. Often, the film feels like it gropes for its own identity. With Baruchel, Bell, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen and Craig Robinson in the cast, one might think it comes from the Judd Apatow factory. With appearances from Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes and Ethan Suplee, one might guess Smith himself made it, especially given his own Star Wars obsession.

In the end, the film comes across like a melange of these influences and one that never creates its own identity. The story is warmed over road trip nonsense, and the decision to make Linus sick doesn’t add the desired emotion. Instead, that choice seems manipulative. I get the impression the filmmakers hope it’ll suck out a little sentiment and bring fake “heart” to an otherwise silly enterprise.

Even without that tacked-on subplot, Fanboys wouldn’t work. The script lacks bite or much cleverness, as it consists of a long series of pop culture references and not much else. We’re supposed to be amused because we recognize these – or because we love the many cameos. None of these actually entertain, and the movie ends up as a flat, joyless exercise.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

Fanboys appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though always watchable, the transfer seemed ordinary.

Sharpness varied. Most shots demonstrated good delineation, but more than a few exceptions occurred. Wide shots tended to be somewhat soft and fuzzy, so they created occasional distractions. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but edge enhancement cropped up through the film; I noticed moderate haloes a fair amount of the time. The flick also tended to be a bit grainy, but other source flaws failed to appear.

Colors looked fairly ordinary. The image took on a golden tone much of the time, but the image stayed with a pretty natural impression. The hues seemed acceptable but they weren’t particularly strong. Blacks appeared reasonably dark and tight, but shadows tended to be a bit too thick, though. All of this was good enough for a mediocre “C”.

I also thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Fanboys remained unexceptional. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day. Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did little more than that. The hallucination scene had some life to it, but that was about it.

In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a standard “comedy mix” and became a decent reproduction of the material.

When we shift to the supplements, we open with an audio commentary from director Kyle Newman, screenwriters Adam F. Goldberg and Ernie Cline, and actors Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell, and Sam Huntington. All sit together for this running, screen-specific look at locations and sets, references to Star Wars and other pop culture elements, cast and performances, cameos, editing and alternate scenes, music, story and script, and production design.

Commentaries with this many participants often become silly and chaotic. Given the comedic nature of the film, I expected the worst from this track, so color me pleasantly surprised by its coherence. Anecdotes rule the day, as the speakers throw out quite a few amusing tales about the production. They also include a good amount of actual information, and that helps make this an interesting and useful piece.

Six Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 50 seconds. These include “Six Fingered Man” (1:07), “Big Chuck Board Room” (0:52), “Sex With Ewok or Wookie” (1:43), “William Katt” (1:36), “Kyle as Yoda” (1:21) and “Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Extended)” (1:11). We hear about some of these during the commentary, and a few simply add a little to existing scenes. The most interesting actually offers an alternate version of a sequence in the movie. “Katt” is nearly identical to a part of the final flick except Danny McBride plays the Katt part there.

Four featurettes follow. The Truth About Fanboys goes for five minutes, 49 seconds as it provides notes from Bell, Fogler, Newman, and actors Jay Baruchel and Christopher Marquette. Despite a few shots from the set, this is generic promotional fluff.

Next comes the five-minute and 19-second Star Wars Parallel. It features Baruchel, Marquette, Fogler, Newman, Bell and Huntington. “Parallel” details various references. Most are obvious, some aren’t, but this still feels like another promo piece.

4 Fanboys and 1 Fangirl lasts eight minutes, 50 seconds and includes remarks from Marquette, Bell, Huntington, Baruchel, Newman, and Fogler. The show looks at cast and characters. It’s not particularly insightful, but it has a few interesting notes.

For the final featurette, we go to the three-minute and 40-second The Choreography. It looks at the strip club scene and shows some of the preparation for that sequence. Like the other featurettes, it seems pretty forgettable.

Entitled Disturbances in the Force, we get seven “webisodes”. These fill a total of 11 minutes, 40 seconds as they show bits from the set. These are light and fluffy but they’re more interesting than the featurettes.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Inglourious Basterds, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Soul Men and Outlander. The disc also provides the trailer for Fanboys.

Despite a good cast and a fun premise, Fanboys turns out to be a dud. It does little more than throw cameos and pop culture references; these aren’t enough to overcome the dull characters and general lack of creativity. The DVD offers mediocre picture and audio but compensates somewhat with a set of extras highlighted by a surprisingly interesting audio commentary. I wanted to like this movie but found it to be a witless dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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