Web Video: Rob Ager

Rob Ager (born 1973) is a British internet-based independent film director, self-help theorist and political activist who is best known for his analytic discussions of themes, hidden messages and other detailed stuff in mainstream films. His Web site, "Collative Learning", features many written analyses and video reviews of films like as well as non-movie related stuff, like hidden symbolism in the work of pop band The Prodigy. He became notable after he posted his videos on YouTube, where he attracted a large audience. Some of his analyses are only available on his website (either written or with a video on order), while other stuff is available on Youtube.So far he has analyzed themes in films such as:

One of Ager's claims-to-fame was spending a long time explaining that while Kubrick and Clarke themselves said it was coincidence that the computer HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey" actually stood for IBM (to the point of it being made fun of in the book sequel), Ager cites IBM's Product Placement in the film as proof that Kubrick pushing the HAL/IBM angle. Some of Ager's opinions and interpretations have been criticized by some as being a bit far-fetched or just planting Epileptic Trees, but his reviews are quite interesting and shed new light (if only from a Fanwanky perspective) on films you may already know by heart.

Rob Ager provides examples of:

  • Audience Participation: He often changes or adapts earlier versions of his analyses, based on interesting suggestions or new information, sent in by readers and viewers.
  • Call Back and Continuity Nod: He notices several call-backs and continuity nods to earlier scenes in certain films. Or to other films by that same director.
  • Censor Box: He censors nudity so that YouTube doesn't remove his videos.
  • The Conspiracy: His videos often fuel these kinds of ideas and he made an entire video on how to make sense out of conspiracy theories. Once Ager has found something he assumes is a theme or a message then it will be Word of God. He even tells his viewers that they are free not to believe him, but always says this in a very condescending tone.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He doesn't hide his local accent.
  • Out-of-Character Moment:
    • Despite his reputation for discovering previously overlooked details and facts Ager admitted that he was actually mind bogglingly unaware that the film Starship Troopers had satirical anti-militaristic undertones when he first saw it. He then spent the rest of his review exploring these themes in detail.
    • He frequently dismisses belief in the The Illuminati as nonsense, which also sets him apart from most conspiracy theorists.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Ager is probably better known as a movie analysist at the moment than for his own low-budget movies.
  • Properly Paranoid: His detractors dismiss Ager often as being nothing more than a conspiracy theorist. He defends himself by stating that he just reviews films and doesn't rally people to believe in conspiracy theories. Though his own opinions sometimes shine through (see also below: With Europe But Not Of It)
  • Reference Overdosed: Ager uses a lot of sources and cites them by name, too.
  • Scenery Porn: Ager's reviews make you appreciate the attention to details and backgrounds in films more.
  • Subliminal Seduction: He finds several examples of these. He also does this in his own movie projects.
  • Take That, Critics!: He once made a video about Alien which was basically one gigantic "fuck you" aimed at all the people who claim a lot of his theories are far-fetched. All the stuff he mentioned in the video was tongue in cheek and ridiculously over the top.
  • With Europe But Not Of It: According to Ager, Stanley Kubrick intended the Nazi imagery in A Clockwork Orange as a warning for the hidden agenda of the European Union and infiltration of Nazi and Fascist ideologies within it. Ager does not really bring in actual sources to back up his claims that Kubrick solely had the EU in mind, left alone that this was an actual message of the director. Kubrick hardly talked about his movies at all, so it's impossible to really know what he meant with certain symbolism in his work. Also, A Clockwork Orange takes place in the UK, but for some reason Ager doesn't assume that the movie could be a warning about infiltration of Nazi and Fascist ideologies in the UK government. As some critics have noticed: Ager was once a member of the Liverpudlian representative of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which opposes Britainís membership of the European Union. This makes him not completely unbiased regarding the matter.
  • World of Symbolism: Or Faux Symbolism to some.