Movie Review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).
So, I'm trying something a little new here. Since I'm such a movie fanatic, I thought maybe I'd try my hand at doing a movie review or two and seeing how they do. So, for this first post I thought we'd take a look at one of my favorite films from 2016, Hunt for the Wilderpeople by New Zealand director Taika Waititi. I'm going to write with the idea of being spoiler free, so nothing you'll read here will do much to give anything important away. I've only seen one piece of Taika's past work, which was the horror/mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.
I personally thought it was an absolute amazing movie and probably my favorite film of 2014. Although it's not anywhere near the same genre, it still encases Taika's very animated humor and talent for directing and writing absurd dialogue and scenes.
Personally, this movie reminds me of a live action Up. A live action Up with some Wes Anderson type vibes, and instead of a old grumpy man and a boyscout, we get a grizzled hunter/ex con, and a colorful juvenile delinquent. Our main character, Ricky, is introduced to us as they put it "A real bad egg", who has been moved from foster home to foster home due to no one being able to handle his behavior while also getting in trouble with the law for doing acts of graffiti and other small things.
His Child Welfare Services officer, Paula, treats Ricky as just another problem that she needs to solve, and constantly lists all the things wrong with him instead of anything good when speaking of him. She also strongly perceives the saying "No Child Left Behind" as a negative, almost threatening thing, instead of it being a nice consolation.
Paula brings Ricky to a farm and introduces him to his new foster parents, Bella and Hec. Sam Neill does an amazing job playing the grizzled ex-con, Hec. Although he doesn't get quite the amount of amazing lines that Dennison (The actor who plays Ricky) does, his performance is still excellent and he nails each scene he is in. Ricky bonds quickly with his new foster mother, though Hec seems not all that interested in being a foster father and spends most of his time hunting in the woods. I won't go into spoilers as for what reason this happens, but eventually Ricky decides to try and live off the land on the run, with his dog Tupac.
This leads to Hec searching for him, finding him, and injuring himself. Due to the injury he sustains, he must wait to recuperate enough before heading back to society. The long absence of the duo prompts the authorities to come looking, along with volunteer search parties of hunters looking as well. This leads the pair into some of the most hilarious, touching, and dramatic scenes I've seen in a film in recent times.
This movie balances comedy with drama perfectly, and produces emotions that you weren't expecting to feel. The duo meet so many interesting and sometimes insane characters, and they build off one another and grow into better people. Some scenes will make you misty eyed, while others have you cackling like a madman. I can only say please check this movie out if you've got the time, it's well worth it!
I hope you enjoyed this movie review, as it was my first one and I know I'm not the greatest writer. If this gets any good reception and interest I may make a few more. Leave any remarks, suggestions or questions in the comments. Thanks for looking!