Shit! Just! Got! Real! in Taika Waititi's HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE - Sundance Review
Taika Waititi is one hell of a great filmmaker who makes amazingly funny films! I've enjoyed all of the films that he's made in the past, which is why I was so excited to see his new project, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. If you've enjoyed any of his previous work as well such as Eagle Vs. Shark, Boy, and What We Do In Shadows, you're going to love this movie because it's easily the best one that he's made so far! It's also the best movie I've seen at Sundance!
There's always a small handful of films that I see at the film festival that blow my mind and wow me. Hunt For the Wilderpeople, did that for me this year, and it's one I'll be recommending and forcing people to see when it's eventually released.
The story follows an overweight trouble-maker named Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), who has had a long road through the foster care system in New Zealand. His been labled a bad egg, and at the start of the film he's dropped by social services at a small home in the middle of the New Zealand bush where a woman and her husband have agreed to take him in and try to make things work with him. This is a fresh start for Ricky, and it takes him down an incredible coming-of-age life adventure that he'll never forget.
I know this may sound like this could be a heavy drama, and it does have some very serious and dramatic moments, but at the same time it's absolutely hilarious! The theater was rolling with laughter all through the film, but it was also mixed with some heartfelt tears.
Ricky has basically given up on the system that he's found himself trapped in, and at first he doesn't want to be with this new family. The woman who takes him really embraces the boy and makes him feel at home. He eventually warms up to her, but her husband Hec (Sam Neill) is less enthusiastic about having the boy live with them. He's more of a hardened wilderness man who let the boy in just so that his wife could help him.
There is a series of events that lead to Ricky and Hec embarking on a journey together through the New Zealand wilderness as they are being hunted down by social services and the police. I won't tell you why or what happens along the way because I want to keep all of the greatest parts of the film a surprise. I will say, though, that the relationship and bond between Ricky and Hec grows stronger as they are on this adventure together.
This is a brilliantly written and directed film that I know for a fact audiences will love. Waititi has reached a new level of excellence in his filmmaking career with this movie. All of the characters are amazingly wonderful and likable and you can't help but fall in love with them. It doesn't hurt the the actors cast as these characters amazingly bring them to life for the audiences enjoyment.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople has got everything you want in a movie. Action, adventure, comedy, drama, danger, and excitement. I really couldn't have asked for anything more from this movie. In my mind it was a perfect film.
Watching this got me even more excited for what Waititi will bring to Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok. We've heard a lot about how that movie will be a buddy adventure film, and that's exactly what this movie was.
This is seriously a special film that begs to be seen. This is going to get a theatrical release, and when it is released, make sure you watch it! It will make your life a little better and happier. I know it's still early in 2016, but I think this movie will still be on my list of favorite films of the year by the time 2016 ends.
On a side note... the title of the post, "Shit! Just! Got! Real!" is a line of dialogue from the film that when heard in context is absolutely amazing.