Writer: Taika Waititi (Screenplay) Barry Crump (Novel)
Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rache House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Knightley
Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
Tagline – Nature just got gangster
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Truly Enjoyable
Story: Hunt for the Wilderpeople starts as rebellious kid Ricky (Dennison) gets taken to his latest foster home to live with Hec (Neill) and Bella (Te Wiata) who open his eyes to farm life after years of street life. This life changes quickly when Bella passes away leaving Ricky facing the reality he will need to return to a foster home.
Ricky runs away into the wilderness with his dog Tupac only for Hec finding him and taking him on an adventure through the wilderness. The only problem is Ricky gets reported missing and the authorities believe Hec kidnapped with a manhunt searching for them both.
Thoughts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Characters – Ricky is a rebellious teenager that has bounced through the foster system, now he must go into farm life away from the street problems he has found himself in. when he goes off into the wilderness he wants to prove himself to everyone and Hec. Hec is the father figure that adopts Ricky only to take him under his wing after his wife died, he is a reluctant protector and guide who would rather be with at one with nature. Paula is the child welfare officer that is trying to find Ricky, she does want what is best for the children but can take things too far.
Performances – Sam Neill easily gives one of his best performances of his career here, showing the heart the character needs along with the determination to do the right thing too. Julian Dennison is fantastic in this role, he has the innocent side while also showing the front of toughness that the character requires.
Story – The story is a coming of age tale, between a foster kid and his reluctant new father who wasn’t prepared for the responsibility placed upon him. The two go on an adventure through the wilderness which gathers national news and a nationwide manhunt. It shows how two different people from different backgrounds of different ages can work together, teaching each other important life lesson, in what is one of the most enjoyable stories you will see.
Adventure/Comedy – The adventure takes us through the New Zealand wilderness, seeing sights of wonder along the way. The film is told in a comic tone that will make you laugh plenty of times along the journey.
Settings – The wilderness of New Zealand makes for the stunning settings being used, nearly all the scenes have a breath-taking view.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most fun coming of age movies I have ever seen, the adventure is fantastic, the comedy hits and the pairing works all day long.
Overall: Must watch cinema for the family.