February 22, 2008

More Fanboys Woes...

More Fanboys news has hit the web this morning, and it’s not good. Apparently, the reshoots have been designed to bring the film down to a lower common denominator, more profanity, nudity and no cancer plot. While I’ve been advocating people to withhold judgment, rather than jumping the fence and condemning the movie just yet, this just doesn’t help things.

I’m looking forwards to this movie. I want to look forwards to this movie. I’ll most likely see it opening night. However, whether it’s going to be the original version or the new version will be the major determining factor in whether I will be trooping to the film in armor or not. If it’s the original version, I’ll be there in line, early, in armor. If it’s the newer version, I’ll slink in and sit towards the back.


While I’m not ready to condemn the film yet, I’m not happy with apparent lack of cancer plot and the wrangling that the film companies are doing to this to get what sounds like a sub-par film out to the general public. From what I’ve been hearing, a lot of the heart and soul of this film will be removed. The reasons that the 501st has such a keen interest here is because of that heart and soul, because it closely parallels with our goals.

Here’s the two articles:

Weinsteins Turning on Fanboys with Revised Fanboys

We've all heard the term 'fanboy' tossed around at one time or another within various categories of obsessions. Probably the most well known usage is for those die-hard followers and fans of Star Wars. Admittedly, I'm not one of those people. But I do know well enough not to mess with them (e.g. cutting in line at a premiere, god forbid), and I certainly wouldn't fuck with a film titled after them. It seems the Weinstein Company isn't so cautious and apparently is materially altering the original concept of Kyle Newman's Fanboys, much to the dislike of many.

Fanboys was originally about a fictitious group of devoted Star Wars fans who make their way to Skywalker Ranch in order to steal an early copy of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Such a pursuit sounds insane, sure; but they were doing it for their friend who was dying of cancer, and they wanted him to experience the movie before succumbing to his illness. The essence of the film is largely split between the funny, unique dedication of Star Wars fans and the bond of friendship. Sounds like a great, interesting, potentially hilarious flick, right? Most everyone that saw early cuts of director Kyle Newman's version thought so.

However, word comes recently from a variety of sources - most thoroughly Cinematical - that the original, inspiring plot is being taken in a very different direction by The Weinstein Company executives. Gone is the plot line concerning the ill friend, and in its place a forthright escapade of Star Wars fans who seek to steal the Episode I copy out of pure fanboy hunger. Kyle Newman, in fact, is no longer even director - a man who has almost become a hero among these legions of followers. In his place is Steve Brill (who directed Without a Paddle and wrote and directed Little Nicky), who managed a number of late-stage reshoots.

Erik Davis over at Cinematical reports:

"Apparently both versions were screened for test audiences – and the new version only tested two points higher than the old version… But since Weinstein had to justify the fact that they spent an extra $2 million on the re-shoots, they went with the newer, flashier [version]."

The reshot version now lacks the cancer storyline and includes "nudity, lots of F-bombs, the whole works." It seems the Weinsteins are now catering to a lower common denominator. Not only that, Davis' inside source claims there might have been plants in the test audience to artificially inflate the favorability of the new version. Shady!

Outwardly, it seems that the Weinstein Company may be a bit shy releasing a film that is so inside-joke Star Wars-centric that it's hollowing it out a bit for mass appeal. (But why do away with the cancer bit? That aspect of the story at least elevates it to an endearing one of friendship and support.) Of course, changing the script jettisons the to-date cult following of the film, and ensures the general public will only view this story through one mocking, comedic lens.

AICN has posted a letter from "a group of Star Wars fans and the 501st Legion members" who state that they intend to boycott all of the company's films and "attack the Weinstein Company death star, even if it is a suicide mission." If those aren't fighting words… Not that I'm in support of the Weinsteins' new direction, but I'd love to see a massive costumed-up protest!


And the second article, from Cinematical:

The Dirty Truth About 'Fanboys'

Posted Feb 21st 2008 1:32PM by Erik Davis

Filed under: Comedy, RumorMonger, Celebrities and Controversy, Fandom, The Weinstein Co., DIY/Filmmaking, Comic/Superhero/Geek

Here's the Fanboys synopsis currently up on IMDb: "Star Wars" fans travel to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" for their dying friend."

Problem is, that's not the movie everyone will see when it eventually hits theaters. There's been a ton of talk surrounding the Fanboy re-cuts; how the cancer storyline was taken out, how Kyle Newman was replaced as director, and how the Weinsteins have pretty much turned Fanboys into a completely different film from what was originally intended. Yesterday, fans wrote into AICN claiming to have donated props for the film, and were upset over all these changes. So upset they were starting a campaign against The Weinstein Co., hoping to get Newman's original cut released instead of this new one.

Thanks to a well-placed, super delegate secret spy source, Cinematical was able to get the real skinny on what was going on with Fanboys. Some of this info is new, some old, but I have confirmed all of it to be true. First off, Kyle Newman definitely was replaced as director for the re-shoots by Steve Brill (Without a Paddle). The "dying of cancer" storyline was completely dumped, and, instead, the fanboys are now trying to sneak a copy of Phantom Menace simply because they're fans and want to see it. According to my source, the story is now "disjointed, nonsensical and lacking any heart."

Oh, there's more ...

Here's where it gets messy: Apparently, both versions were screened for test audiences -- and the new version only tested two points higher than the old version. My super delegate source also claims plants may have been in the audience -- there to pursuade moviegoers to vote against the original version -- but this has not been proven. In two days, after the old version was screened, Brill re-cut the film and they tested it again -- this time it was tighter, dirtier and contained nudity, lots of F-bombs, the whole works. And even with all that, it still only tested two points higher than the old version. But since Weinstein had to justify the fact that they spent an extra $2 million on the re-shoots, they went with the newer, flashier, Without a Paddle-esque version of Fanboys.

This new version, I've been told, is funny, but nowhere close to what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be for fans who grew up with Star Wars -- it was supposed to be a love letter to George Lucas -- and now it's, well, Without a Paddle 2. The real problem here, I feel, is not so much the fact that the movie was re-shot and re-cut, but that the studio may have been using plants in a test audience to try to get moviegoers to sway their opinion. What the f*ck is the purpose of a test audience then?

There's some more that I can't get into, but there you have it. There's still no word on when the film will arrive in theaters (if at all), but I'll be checking out a cut of Fanboys soon and will report back on how it is.

Neither of these bode well. Let’s hope that LFL will throw some weight around and get the original version back.

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