Featuring a story and script partially penned by Ernest Cline, the author of Ready Player One (and Two) and Armada, Kyle Newman’s film, which gestated for awhile, and had some distribution issues hit the screens in 2009, and while it may not have found its audience then, watching it at home, this film has always delighted me (well except for its portrayal of Trek fans) in its story of an adventure of a group of Star Wars fans who take a road trip to steal themselves a copy of Episode I, before it hits the theatres.
Before The Phantom Menace hit, excitement for a new Star Wars film was unparalleled. There was a high for fans everywhere, each glimpse of a set, an image, a character generated excitement. And a group of friends, united by the common love of the Wars, and the troubling reality that one of their own won’t make it the year (the cancer subplot adds a nice emotional layer to the film), decide to drive across the country to break into the legendary Skywalker Ranch to watch the new film.
Jay Baruchel, Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, Chris Marquette, and Kristen Bell play the group of friends, who have immersed themselves into Star Wars culture, even if it has caused the separation and drifting apart of Linus (Marquette) and Eric (Huntington) over the years.
With a slew of cameos, and nods to the greatest space opera of all time including line references, images, sound effects, and more, the film is a romp, and with a little more in ways of runtime and character development, the cancer subplot could have made for a real emotional core, instead, it kind of gets pushed to the edge of the narrative until its convenient.
Still, the film is a lot of fun, and honestly, paired with the equally hilarious, Free Enterprise, makes for a wonderfully funny, and geeky night.
I hadn’t watched this one in about a decade, since I picked up a blu-ray copy and laughed my way through it. I honestly forgot how enjoyable I found this one, and how recognisable the characters were, I know these people, and they are me and my friends. Of course, I said the same thing about the characters of Free Enterprise.
I love the characters at work here in the story, and though I wish the emotional core of the film was a little more prevalent, the sheer joy of seeing characters sharing in the love of something I’ve embraced since that summer of ’77 is always a joy. Sure it has its problems, the pacing is a little shakey in parts, but I think that is because of how it was edited down to eject some of the moments to slim down the runtime.
It’s a fun film, a no-brainer, but with enough Star Wars love to resonate with most fans.