Taika Waititi, director of the upcoming Marvel movie ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, was an unknown name to me until this year. Although after masses of five star reviews flooding in for his comedy drama ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ it would be hard not to know it by now. I was slightly worried that this film was never going to get a release here as I watched countless other films fans take to the cinema to see it but finally it arrived at my local independent cinema. With a screen full to the brim it was time for the hunt to begin!
The film launches into its narrative with little context or introduction but straight away the laughs start coming. This film has to be the funniest comedy of the year. The first half of the film is filled with gag after gag allowing little time for the audience to settle down for them to hear the next joke. In a year full of underwhelming comedies ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is a rare treat that really knows how to entertain it’s audience and everything is funnier in a New Zealand accent. Laughs aside though I had a few issues with the narrative. The film follows foster child Ricky Baker and his new family and whilst at first the laughs are quite enough to engage viewers I found that as the film progressed I was wanting a little more from the story. The narrative looses itself a little in the middle of the film meaning that despite the laughs which still come thick and fast I just didn’t find the film that interesting.
However, one thing that I really did enjoy in the film was seeing Sam Neill in a main role once more. It’s been a long time since ‘Jurassic Park’ and I know he has starred in many other films but he hasn’t really been on my radar for a good while now. He is brilliant here as the unenthusiastic Heck and his chemistry with co-star Julian Dennison is quite something. Dennison is a comedic joy, effortlessly delivering the humour filled script, line after line. His physical comedy was on point too and he will definitely go far after his performance here. There are a range of supporting characters in the film too, and they range in quality too in my opinion. Ricky is quite a silly character in terms of his humour but it makes sense, however too many of the supporting character had this same silly humour which for me just didn’t work. There were of course exceptions to this though with ‘Psycho Sam’ being a personal highlight for me. The supporting characters were just a personal grip of mine and didn’t seem to cause much problem for the other viewers in my screening but some may be a little too silly for some audience members.
On the whole though the film is massive crowd pleaser which will start to entertain you in seconds and keep you laughing throughout. Personally I had some issues with the narrative and some supporting characters but most will be sustained with the comedy alone. Comedies set out to make people laugh, too many haven’t achieved that this year. ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ makes this look very easy and for that I have to reccomend it.
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: What are your top three favourite comedy films this year?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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