Rajneel Singh’s review:
Part of the (now decade long) tradition of retrofitted childhood nostalgia films filled with 1980's aesthetic of analogue tech, coloring pencil animation, pop culture homage and the celebration of school-yard paraphernalia, Garth Jennings' SON OF RAMBOW fares better than most similar films of its ilk thanks to its tight value of putting story before style. Where the works of directors like Wes Anderson, Jason Reitman, Spike Jonze or even New Zealand's Taika Waititi can come off as a bit cold or distant for some audiences, Jennings use of the retro-hipster-film aesthetic works beautifully here because its all grounded in the central story: about two school boys in the early 80's making a fan film after being inspired by the first entry of the Rambo film series FIRST BLOOD.
Highlighted by exquisite performances by the central cast and Jenning's sense of humor that hovers between farce and deadpan absurdity, the movie holds a sense of enchantment that feels genuine, real and almost erudite in research and execution. The end result, while not a masterpiece, is a strong and warm film about growing up that doesn't feel fake and goes on a fascinating journey with curious twists and turns that doesn't hurt the film's pace. All up, SON OF RAMBOW stands on its own as a smart and fun film that doesn't get lost in the fuzzy, warbling, cacophony of style-over-substance retro-nostalgia movies that we've been plagued with since the Sundance Baby Years.