There are currently few things more needed than escapist entertainment — a vacation from the couch. Take us away to somewhere sunny, seaside… and swarming with crabs? Realm of the Robber, a gorgeously shot journey to a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, is perfect for all you cooped-up adventurers tired of watching “The Office” reruns.
Realm of the Robber explores the fascinating variety of native creatures sprawled across the preciously named Christmas Island, so-called for the sea captain William Mynors day of discovery. And, no, the “robber” of the title isn’t likely to stick up a bank. The enormous coconut crab is more prone to scuttling through the tropical landscape in search of its favorite food. (No points for guessing what that is.)
Narrator Colin Solman does a fine job with the voiceover, if never quite reaching the pinnacle highs of “Planet Earth”s David Attenborough. He carries the appropriate whimsy during scenes showcasing the clumsy nature of dozens of red crabs migrating through a golf course’s fairway. The doc’s more downer moments get the gravity they deserve, sprinkled throughout to remind us that Mother Nature isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
And let’s be real, there are a lot of those scenes. There’s the plight of a young booby — shut up, it’s a bird — as it struggles to free itself from the clutches of the island’s homegrown murder tree. The pisonia’s barbed seeds serve as a nightmare deathtrap for any winged creature hoping to fly. A (human) forest ranger provides a genuinely touching show of emotion over the coconut crab roadkill littering the tiny community’s roads.
But fear not; the film never lingers on a gloomy spirit. How could it with underwater visions of coral reefs that would fit right into any scene in Finding Nemo? Realm of the Robber ends up unexpectedly soothing, finishing with the hopeful tale of a new generation of multi-legged arthropods. In a climate steeped in apprehension, one thing is certain: crabs gotta coconut.