Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★

Why do they[wild horses] need to be ridden anyway? Why can’t they just eat grass and be happy?

While Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople does little to forge new territory in the coming-of-age genre, the on-screen chemistry of Neill's Hec and Dennison's Ricky Baker and the overall execution of the story elevates this film to be something much more memorable.

While What We Do in The Shadows is mostly a comedy film, we see Waititi's versatility as a director here, as we not only experience a film filled with a lot of comedic moments and characters, but also one with equally as many tender and awe-inspiring moments. Waititi captures the rugged Waitakere Ranges of New Zealand beautifully, which reminded me a lot of the way that Ken Kwapis shot A Walk in the Woods in the Appalachian Trail, albeit less successfully. Hec and Ricky are well-written characters, where Hec is not simply reduced to a grumpy old man, and Ricky is not merely just a teenage rabble-rousing delinquent. Both are characters that society has taken pity on and not recognized for who they truly are, but who are both equally flawed. Throughout the journey that Hec and Ricky embark on, we come to appreciate the depth of their characters, and we nearly forget about the fact that it plays out with similar beats as most coming-of age films, because they steal their way into our hearts so quickly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople proves that you do not necessarily need novelty and originality to create a good film - sometimes charming characters and a cleverly written script are enough to win over the hearts of the audience. While I am not a huge comic book fan, I am excited to see what Waititi brings to the MCU with Thor:Ragnarok!

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