Sunday, August 2, 2009


This, I think, is the first movie I've ever seen where I'd previously exchanged emails with the screenwriter. Ernest Cline wrote a fan script for Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League a few years ago, although he had to take it off his website. It's around, though, if you know where to look. So I happen to know that this movie has some solid fanboy credentials behind it.

It's set in the distant past of 1998, when Star Wars fans still liked George Lucas and "Episode I" was just something to look forward to. I think Episode I gets a bad rap, so it was kind of fun to have characters talking excitedly about it. The idea is that one of the characters is dying of cancer (movie cancer, though, so he only has physical problems when it's time for a plot complication) and the only way he'll get to see Episode I is if everyone piles into a van and drives from Ohio to Skywalker Ranch in California and steals a copy of The Phantom Menace. This will also allow one guy to finally admit his love for the Girl Geek (Kristen Bell) and the two estranged buddies to reconcile.

There's also another guy who doesn't actually have a plot. But he's the most entertaining one, so he ends up taking a lot of screen time, so by the end of the movie, I'd forgotten about the two-friends plot entirely.

A lot of the movie rings true. If anything, there could have been more dialogue lifted directly from Star Wars. I didn't really dig the ongoing "Star Wars fans hate Star Trek fans" angle, but I can allow it.

The sequence at Skywalker Ranch was particularly enjoyable for me, since I've actually been there for a July 4 party. That's not relevant to the review; I just wanted to mention it.

It would be nice to see a movie like this that isn't awash in stuntcasting. In addition to the previously mentioned Kristen Bell, there's William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes. Also Danny Trejo, but he's really just being deployed the same way he always is, so I think that's just normal casting.

No comments: