Recently I had the chance to see Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary about vampires. If there is anything that is more tired than mockumentaries and vampires I don’t know what it is. Even so, I laughed my head off. So I was pretty excited going into Waititi’s latest film Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I saw it tonight and I loved it but I really didn’t laugh that much. It felt like more of a drama to me with moments of humor.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople reminded me a little bit of last years Walk in the Woods but with a better script. Both are about people escaping modern world into the woods for several months, following their journeys.
To be more specific, it’s a pretty simple story. A child named Ricky is taken in as a foster child by a couple in New Zealand. Then tragedy occurs and Ricky and his foster Dad or “Uncle Hec” as he’s called go on the run into the bush escaping the law. They meet eccentric characters and face challenges as they are pursued by child protection officers and others seeking a reward.
There are funny moments with the dialogue and some of the crazy people they meet but like I said I was more chuckling than roaring with laughter. But I really liked these characters and I liked seeing them grow and change together. It was sweet and heart-warming. I like that they never really softened them up that much. You saw growth but it felt natural and believable instead of cornball material it could have been.
The performances from Julian Dennison as Ricky and Sam Neill as Uncle Hec are wonderful and they have chemistry despite not getting along at first. They were people I was rooting for and wanted to see them succeed.
It’s also a beautiful movie with cinematography that will make you want to go to New Zealand! I also really liked the score and other music used.
If you are looking for a film that will make you smile with likable characters than Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a good choice. I really enjoyed it. I just thought it was more of a drama than a comedy, but that’s not a bad thing.
Overall Grade- B+
Here’s the trailer