Son Of Rambow

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Son Of Rambow
Son Of Rambow

Son Of Rambow is an odd hybrid beast - a film about kids, for adults, that kids will enjoy, too – and so Optimum's DVD package has been sensibly designed to cater for both markets, with a host of entertaining extras accessed through brilliant animated menus.

The audio commentary features writer/director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldmith (known collectively as Hammer and Tongs) in conversation with their young stars Will Poulter (Lee Carter) and Bill Milner (Will), interrupted at one point by the boys' mothers Caroline and Debs. "This isn't going to be one of those highly intellectual commentaries, is it?", suggests Garth at the beginning, and he is not wrong. For when he is not playing hilariously inappropriate alternative backing music over selected dramatic scenes (in tribute, he says, to Cameron Crowe's unintentionally surreal commentary on Vanilla Sky, scored by his musician wife), he is encouraging the others to re-voice scenes live (as MTV presenters, or elderly Russians).

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Not that we do not also learn interesting things about the film's background and production. Nick apparently provided the grandmother's snoring. Stanley Kubrick once lived in the house that served as Lee Carter's home in the film. "A very, very, very talented cow" managed to moo on cue. All the members of the band Travis have cameos as teachers in the school staffroom scene, and Edgar Wright appears as a Woodwork teacher, while the Maths teacher was in fact the real Maths teacher at the school where filming took place. There is, however, just as much time devoted to discussions of the range of snacks that the four are eating as they watch, or general verbal larking, in a commentary that is at times decidedly uninformative, but always infectiously good-natured.

The 25-minute featurette Boys Will Be Boys: The Making Of Son Of Rambow is essentially more of Garth, Nick, Will and Bill reminiscing over Behind The Scenes footage. We learn that neither Will nor Bill had ever attended an audition before they tested for the film, that funding problems made the whole project take about six years and that, in order to make the story more interesting, Garth projected his own childhood experiences onto the Plymouth Brethren that had lived next door to him as a boy. We also get a tour of the two Camden barges that are Hammer and Tongs' offices and editing suite.

The interviews with Jessica Hynes (five minutes) and Will and Bill (eight minutes) add little, but are just about short enough to get away with it. The outtakes, on the other hand, of Paul Ritter improvising his spiel as a jaded Geography teacher are so laugh-out-loud funny that you will wish they ran for 20 minutes rather than three.

Finally, two treats. In keeping with the kids' home-made video at the centre of Son Of Rambow, there is a 13-minute competition-winning film of guerrilla attacks, commando kills and menacing interrogations, as performed and shot by the four Dunn siblings around their home, pool and garage – and there is also Aron: Part 1, a 1986 short film made by Garth Jennings when he was a boy, in which the titular hero rescues his friend “Captain Warren” (played by Jennings himself) from a “Middle Eastern terrorist network.” Classic.

Also available as Blu-Ray, with same extras.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2008
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Son Of Rambow packshot
Delightful comedy about childlike imagination and love of the movies.
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Product Code: OPTD1237

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo/Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary; Making Of featurette, Jessica Hynes interview; Will Poulter and Bill Milner interview; US competition winner footage; Aron: Part 1 short film; "Geography lesson" outtakes; trailer; Optimum trailer reel; optional audio description; optional subtitles for the hard of hearing

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