RANGER ROB: THE MOVIE
The film was clever on many levels. It even had some gentle religious satire in it! I wasn’t expecting that. The narrative arc from down-and-out to hopeful Ranger Rob was satisfying. There were some good throwaway lines, as when the eastern mystic guy exclaims at one point “Jesus!” and when someone says about the snake character that “He’s even purple!”, a reference to Barney. You threw in a lot of pop cultural references, which I like.
He used to be one of the biggest TV stars of the '80s. His children's program inspired kids all over the world to read and learn. However, that was a long time ago. Now he's lost, alone, and not quite all there, but there's a spark inside that's about to turn into a fire. Ranger Rob is going to get his show back.
A sheer delight from it's '80s heyday beginnings all the way to the slightly cloudy but still sunny ending, Ranger Rob: The Movie is a mockumentary to remember. A small but dedicated cast and crew has worked very hard to make every scene count. Helmed by the very talented Tim Balko at the director's reigns, he brings to life a wonderfully funny and touching script by Andrew Osburn and star Rob Antus. And Cory Yee's camera work never misses the right emotion or laugh.
It's really quite an original and refreshing work, with Ranger Rob and documentarian Chip Calhoun(a spot-on Osburn) running into a whole cache of colorful characters and silly situations. Our Ranger pulls out of his lowest point and heads towards hope, full speed ahead. Between hip spiritual gurus, sock puppet swindlers, angry pizza jesters, and one big bear of a man, I got a huge kick out of all the weirdos they threw my way.
But to write this off as simply a comedy about weirdos would be a mistake. There's a real heart at it's center. Sure, Ranger Rob may be a goof, a screw up, a guy living in his own world. He's had some bad breaks. But there's a searing passion deep down inside him that really just wants to get back to doing what he did best: making people excited about the amazing world we live in. I think anyone who's ever felt beaten and broken down, been given a raw deal, or felt like their dreams were fading away can take inspiration in the determination of this man. A man who's realized that it ain't over til it's over, and that's more than enough reason to get back out there and give it your all.
And there at the heart of it all is Rob Antus. He makes a character that could have come off as silly and unbelievable into a real human being(who is still pretty silly, of course). I cracked up at his escapades, I got choked up when he bared his soul, and I cheered him on, all the way through the final credits and beyond. Count me in as a proud and faithful member of the Ranger Rob Fan Club.