🦇 Dr. DuLacula 🧛’s review published on Letterboxd:
We're offering ten thousand dollars to anyone who can capture them, dead or alive. Oh. Alive. They should be alive.
I've been wanting to watch this for a while without even seeing a trailer or reading up about it. I knew it was directed by Taiki Waititi and... yeah that's about it. I didn't even know Sam Neill was in it because I didn't recognize him on the poster.
Basically it's because that Waititi has not only proven that he's a great comedy director that can infuse some honest drama into his films, but he's proven that he's one with a unique voice and style also. I'm so used to seeing comedies, even the ones that I like, having nothing remotely unique about them. There's nothing distinctive that makes me point out that any of them were made by a different director. That is until you come across movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows and Eagle vs Shark, THOSE movies clearly tell you there is something "different" about the director.
There's an obvious comparison to the movie Up, what with the fat kid and cantankerous old man going on an adventure, but it's so much more unique than just a live action version of Up. It's downright hilarious at times while managing to almost always be touching while being entertaining from start to finish.
Waititi's direction is great, but I have to guess that the casting was a blessing too. Julian Dennison as Ricky Baker cracked me up from the very first moment he appears on screen. When he silently takes a look at his new foster home and simply goes back to the police car and sits in the back he had me sold. This poor kid though is going to get hounded for years to come by people yelling "Ricky Baker! Can I take a selfie?" though. He's paired up with Sam Neil though and that ends up even better than you could have imagined. Actually everyone who plays off of Dennison comes off great here, even the smaller roles from Rima Te Wiata to Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, they are all just really fantastic.
I just really loved this movie. Ricky Baker, Uncle Hec with their dogs Zag and Tupac have become legends with one film.