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DVD Review: Son of Rambow


Son of Rambow is definitely different from any movie I can ever recall seeing. From the outset, it's pretty clear that this is a low budget movie with an independent feel, and although it was by far not my favorite movie, it was often sweet, occasionally funny, and kept me watching just because I wanted to see what would happen. The story focuses on two young boys who are complete opposites and yet somehow for a strong friendship. Kid number one is Will Proudfoot. He lives with his mother and little sister as part of a very strict, religious family. Being part of the Plymouth Brethren, they are not allowed to anything that's fun, such as listening to music or watching television. I know this film takes place in the 1980s, but wasn't tortured outlawed even back then?

Kid number two is Lee Carter, who lives with his bullying older brother while his mother is over is some other country or something with her new husband or boyfriend (I don't remember which). With no decent parental influences in his life, Lee constantly acts out, does what he wants, and doesn't give a second thought to consequences. The story of both kids is just sad, which is probably why there are able to come together. One day, when Will has to sit outside the classroom as the rest of the class watches a video, Lee gets himself in trouble and is sent into the hall, where he meets, and throws a ball at, Will. After a fish tank is broken, both kids are sent to the office, and Lee convinces Will that when they are called into the door, that an evil woman inside will beat them silly. Lee then says he'd be willing to take the full beating for both of them, in exchange for Will's watch. As the buzzer sounds for them to enter the room, Will agrees, hands over the watch, and takes off. Lee then sneaks off as well.

Later the two run in to each other outside as everyone is crowded around a bus dropping off exchange students. When Lee notices Will, he starts acting all hurt and everything, like he got the beating of his life. And somehow Will doesn't notice Lee pickpocketing the crowd. Anyway, the two talk, as Will seems quite taken by Lee, so Lee is able to convince Will to be the stuntman in an amateur film he is making for some contest. While at the building where Lee Carter lives, the two hear Lee's brother arrive, so Lee quickly has Will hide, and this is when Will gets to see one of the coolest action flicks of all time... Rambo!

By the time Lee gets back to where he hid Will, the movie hand ended and Will had taken off. And of course, being a kid who has just seen Rambo, his imagination starts running wild. On the way home, he creates a story in head about an evil scarcrow that kidnapped his father, Rambo, and it was his duty as the Son of Rambo to resuce his dad. The way this was filmed was pretty neat and surreal looking, especially the way the scarcrow came to life. So being the little artist that his is, Will draws all of his ideas in his notebook, which Lee eventually sees, and decided to film Will's story as the film for entry into that contest.

Finally, this is where the film starts to pick up. Now we get to see both boys being extremely creative in recreating stunts from Rambo and coming up with new stunts, creating special effects using whatever they happen to have laying around. As Will takes the role of Son of Rambo, Lee takes on not only director and producer of the film, but also the role of Colonel Troutman. And he did a good job of making himself look like the Colonel, dressed in his adorable trenchcoat. Of course, making a film with Lee is kind of challenging for Will since his home life is so strict. He has to find ways to sneak over to Lee's place, and it doesn't take long before he's caught.

Now, there's also some subplot about one of those exchange students I mentioned earlier. This kid acts and dresses like the coolest kid around (that is, for the 80s... today he'd surely be laughed at all the way home). All throughout the film we're wondering what in the world this kid and the entourage he picks up has to do with the main story of the movie... and it's like way over halfway through that we find out the answer. Being bored, he discovers Will's notebook as Will and Lee are off filming a scene about a flying dog, and instantly this kid wants to be in the movie. So this soon escalates such that everyone who loves haning around the cool kid also wants to be in the film, and thus Lee begins to lose control. This, along with the fact that Will isn't supposed to see Lee anymore, puts a serious strain on their friendship.

Anyway, this movie was kind of sweet, but also depressing, and sometimes funny, and then sometimes boring. The two kids did a great job on making their characters feel real, and I loved the hacked-together feel of the special effects. I don't regret spending my time on it, but I'm sure I'll never have a desire to see it again. For special features, this DVD includes a commentary by the directory, producer, and cast, a little making-of featurette, and the original short film that inspired this movie. Now THAT was BORING. My wife and I kept looking at each other, not believing how lame it was. I know it's an amature video made by a kid, but I've still seen kids put together mini films way better than that. Of course, kids nowadays have grown up creating films, so I guess I can't really compare. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this for more than a rental.

Press Release: Son of Rambow

The "wildly funny" (Film Journal International) and fresh take on friendship, family and film heroes, SON OF RAMBOW, debuts on DVD August 26, 2008 from Paramount Home Entertainment. The irresistibly original and hilarious film follows the adventures of two boys growing up in the video age of the 1980s. Will Proudfoot is looking for an escape from his family's stifling home life when he encounters Lee Carter, the school bully. Armed with a video camera and a copy of Rambo: First Blood, Lee plans to make cinematic history by filming his own action-packed video epic. Together, these two newfound friends-turned-budding-filmmakers quickly discover that their imaginative-and sometimes mishap-filled-cinematic adventure has begun to take on a life of its own! Entertaining, uplifting, and brimming with nostalgia, SON OF RAMBOW "makes you feel like a kid again" (Giant). The film stars newcomers Will Poulter and Bill Milner, as well as Ed Westwick of "Gossip Girl".

The SON OF RAMBOW DVD includes commentary by director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), producer Nick Goldsmith and cast members Bill Milner and Will Poulter, Garth’s short film “Aron”, which was the inspiration for SON OF RAMBOW and “Boys Will Be Boys: The Making of SON OF RAMBOW”. The DVD also includes the winning entry from the SON OF RAMBOW short film contest, which launched during the film’s theatrical run on SonOfRambow.com and challenged filmmakers to create their own short film. The competition was judged by Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, who selected the winner.

SON OF RAMBOW DVD

The SON OF RAMBOW DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and Spanish 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish subtitles. The disc includes the following special features:

  • Commentary by director Garth Jennings, producer Nick Goldsmith and actors Will Poulter and Bill Milner
  • Garth’s Short Film: “Aron”, which was the inspiration for SON OF RAMBOW
  • Boys Will Be Boys: The Making of SON OF RAMBOW
  • SON OF RAMBOW short film contest winner

In the U.S., the DVD will be available exclusively for sale at Best Buy and for rent at all major rental locations. It will be for sale or rent at all major retailers in Canada.

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