Brett (Artpig)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Is it possible to be like, in love with a movie?
So, as I got some textbook book I have to do for school, I decided to put another movie on. As I was scrolling through Hulu, I saw this gem. Now, I saw this movie when it came out in 2016 and absolutely loved it. It was in my ten favorite movies of that year even. However, rewatching it I now realize that Hunt for the Wilderpeople is really a pitch perfect movie.
I've loved Taika Waititi ever since his involvement on one of my favorite shows, Flight of the Conchords. The man has such a specific wit and humor to him that I appreciate so much. Probably the closest to a Terry Gilliam we have in this generation. The man is hilarious, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople has that amazing dry humor we all expect from him in spades. The specific moment that gets me is the funeral scene (which sounds wrong but if you've seen it you've known what I'm talking about.) Lets just say, if you've heard as many sermons as I have had in my life, that scene will make you belly laugh because it's pretty authentic.
The entire film is just shining with so much imagination. It almost feels like a cartoon brought to the big screen with its quirky characters, vibrant colors and beautiful cinematography.
What really makes this movie work is its emotional core. I love Waititi, but, if the man has a flaw with his writing and directing it's that sometimes his humor is so quick and zany it can undercut the plot or emotion. This was kinda an issue a lot had with Thor Rangarock and while I love that movie and think there's more of an emotional core then people give it credit for, I see the complaint. What We Do In The Shadows there is that wonderful scene at the end that comes out of nowhere about the tragedy of being a vampire. This movie, however has the most authentic and intimate scenes out of any of his films. There's a scene early on that makes you understand this isn't just a zany comedy but there's some tragedy as well. There are some really harsh reality and truths explored in this movie that is good to touch upon, especially for a younger audience.
The movie is just delightful the entire way through. Sam Niel gives a career best performance and his relationship he creates with Ricky Baker is so lovely. Ricky Baker might be one of my favorite characters in movies in all honesty. He could have come across so obnoxious if handled incorrectly but this wonderful kid Julian Dennison and Waititi find the perfect note to make this kid very flawed but ultimately likable. You want to see him do well and cringe when he makes crucial mistakes. I'm really excited to see what the kid does in Deadpool 2.
This entire movie is just a delight. It feels like picking up and opening a storybook where you feel things, learn things and most importantly, be taken into a world of whimsy and mayhem for an hour and forty minutes. Any film that can do that is perfect in my book.
(also I've been picking movies well lately)