To Boldly Flee is ultimately not quite as impressive as last year's Suburban Knights. Really, when you get down to it, the movie's biggest flaw is its chronic over-reliance on pop culture and film references. See, while the anniversary specials have always been massive orgies of gratuitous shout-outs and fan-service, those things have always only been jokes; they haven't ever taken over the entire plot before, and here, they really do. The majority of the movie is actually taken up by an unbelievably overlong Star Wars parody, and most of the rest is taken up by random shenanigans with villains who didn't need to be here to begin with. "Turrell" and Zod don't have anything to do with the themes at hand, they're not actually very villainous, and they don't really have any story to them, either. They're only here to be aimlessly wacky, but their shtick goes on far past the point of being funny. As a result, after the initial setup, the actual story and good jokes don't really kick into gear until about part six out of eight, which is...pretty damn late, to be frank. Probably the most painful part is where the Critic dresses up as Judge Dredd for no reason and spends a huge, extended sequence shooting up nameless, faceless mooks we have no cause to care about. The entire segment could have been cut, which probably could have cut the movie down from eight parts to seven right then and there. And all of this is a real shame because at the movie's core, there's a really touching, genuine story about what it means to be a critic, what it means to be a fan of films, and even what it means to be alive. It's surprisingly deep and truly compelling, and you can tell everyone involved poured so much passion into it. It's a top-notch exploration of where the site's been and where it's going. It's a great celebration of TGWTG's legacy and a pretty good skewering of its foibles. It does have its issues, though. Namely, its cast is so huge that it becomes unwieldy, with many characters being sidelined for almost the entire movie, and its jarringly unsubtle SOPA satire that peters out without ever making a meaningful point. Still, on the whole, To Boldly Flee is funny, charming, fairly emotional, and occasionally even very clever. It's not the best anniversary special, but it's certainly a good one.
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