Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) Poster

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10/10
I find it impossible to fault
benedwar1 April 2016
A brilliant funny movie that still respects the sadness that happens in life but tries to show you that fun and laughter can still be our main focus.

I think this is the best so far of Taika Waititi's films and recommend it to anyone to see. I saw it after a long-tiring week at work and I half expected to nod off in the cinema theatre because I was so tired. But I didn't. I laughed and chuckled most of the way through the film and came away re-energized and very happy I had gone.

Would see again if the opportunity came up, which is likely as most of my friends are raving about it and a few are wanting me to go with them to see it again!
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10/10
See this film!
fleable3 April 2016
I saw this movie last night in Hokitika. There was a queue outside, which caused comment enough amongst the locals, as this never happens. The cinema was packed with an amazing demographic of people, for example, on one side of me were toddlers with their Mums, on the other a lone hunter-type and behind me a group of retired farmer ladies. I think this speaks volumes on the draw of this film. To put it simply, it ticks all the right boxes. Everyone in Aotearoa (NZ) will know these characters in some form or another; from the gruff old bushman, to the earthy mother figure and the chillaxed cop. It is that familiarity that makes it more engrossing and funny. But not just here, its mix of subtle bathos and pathos will make it universally appealing, of that I am certain. In short: Good on ya, Taika! 'Marvellous' film!
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9/10
Has heart and is genuinely funny
jtindahouse31 March 2016
Taika Waititi is starting to make some real waves in the film making industry. It's as simple as this - every film he makes, people like. In fact, people like them so much he's been trusted with the directorial duties in the next 'Thor' film 'Thor: Ragnarok'. That's big and shows people trust him with making their film. That decision was made prior to the release of 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' but I can confirm that this film will do his reputation no harm. In fact it's going to do it a lot of good. It's a very fine film and in my opinion his best yet.

I thoroughly enjoyed 'What We Do in the Shadows' but my one qualm with it was I felt it lacked a story to drive the humour. The man learns from his errors fast though and there is no such problem here. The story, while simple, is a driving force and makes sure things never get mundane or boring. Also helping this is a terrific cast of actors. Julian Dennison in the lead role blew me away and showed comedic timing far beyond his years. Sam Neill was as fantastic as ever and every cameo throughout is terrific and hilarious in its own way.

The film not only manages to make us laugh though, it also has a heart. There are some very sad and moving elements to the film which are handled exquisitely by Waititi. He makes us think and sobers us occasionally but never takes us away from the fun time we're having with the story. There's a lot more to the film than I expected going in. It has layers and works on a lot of levels. I can't say enough good things about this film. An absolute pleasure to sit through.
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10/10
An absolute gem of a film. A must see movie!!!!!
mattnikkiwillis2 April 2016
This is such a funny, heartwarming, immensely entertaining, brilliant film for the whole family. I can't wait to go again, and again.... Taika is a genius. The entire cinema clapped when it finished which I've never seen before. It's now my absolute favourite film of all time!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie!!!!!!! It is effortlessly funny with a brilliant cast of very talented Kiwi actors. The scenery is of course beautiful because it's set in New Zealand's stunning landscape. Even though there are serious, universal underlying issues within the script they are dealt with in a way that is from the child's innocent perspective so the film remains light and entertaining throughout. If this film doesn't do exceptionally well off shore and get the global recognition it deserves, it will be a travesty.
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9/10
Loved it :-)
caninecalmers3 April 2016
This was incredibly funny, I loved it, all the actors played their parts well, I laughed Thru 90% and I say 90 because truthfully a few bits hit the feels, but its well worth the watch and the scenery is amazing, nothing like seeing your beautiful country on a big screen, so if your in to minds, set it to the bright side and go watch this you wont regret it, it was good so see Sam Neil again, and can see we are welcoming in a bright new shinning star to our comedy movies, so I feel like NZ has brought out another great film that can me us proud Its a very authentic view of new Zealand, few twist and turns unexpected moment, but don't be afraid to laugh out load you just cant help it
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10/10
Taika's best movie so far
haroldhooney1 April 2016
It's too hard to fault Taika Waititi; he's excellent at what he does, and this movie is surely his best yet. The story has serious matters at its heart, and yet it managed to stay well above maudlin at all times, being moving and downright hilarious most of the time.

Also a great spotlight once again on New Zealand's native bush, with many great little nods to Kiwi movies of years gone by. The leads, Sam Neill & Julian Dennison, are wonderful in their roles, and the supporting cast were not far behind.

So much a Kiwi movie and one for all ages, yet it's humour and story will definitely appeal beyond our shores. Go and see it now!
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10/10
It's the kind of film that you'll be talking about years from now
freekyfridays15 March 2016
While Taika Waititi takes over Hollywood with his next two projects: THOR 3: RAGNORAK (2017) and a sequel to his funniest film to date WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014), hysterically entitled WE'RE WOLVES, his latest "little film that could" should put Sam Neil back on the map with a wonderfully gracious performance.

This magical realist New Zealand adventure drops an unloved, rebellious, little fat kid into the wild, wild southwest — and I'm here to say that this was the feel good film of Sundance this year. Luckily writer/director Waititi has held onto his unique dry-humor, which dates back to his debut feature EAGLE VS. SHARK (2007) as well as his underrated second film BOY (2010). But this krazy kids flick is not just satisfied with referencing all of the 1980s films its creator grew up loving: The movie itself is an actual throwback to the kind of children's fare that were laced with some very heavy adult issues like Walter Murch's RETURN TO OZ (1985) and Nicolas Roeg's THE WiTCHES (1990). Make sure to catch this truly loving film upon its initial theatrical release. It's the kind of experience that you'll be talking about years from now, perhaps even sharing with children of your own.
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8/10
finished movie from Taika Waititi
maxastree10 April 2016
This movie is really good - I have to say I enjoyed it and would probably see it again.

A far more developed example of what Waititi can do as a director and storyteller; the film has examples of pathos, comedy, action, drama, art film, satire, good cinematography and even a few decent VFX shots. His last film, vampire mockumentary "What We Do in the Shadows" was a lot of fun but also a narrative disappointment, despite NZ media committing to expose the film and help generate sales. Something of a misguided indulgence, "Shadows" made the mistake of letting three or four (very) minor indie celebs improvise in digital for many, many hours, then the director tried to create a concrete whole in editing and post. Didn't work. Great intro though.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople focuses on the life of Ricky Baker - a young, overweight, orphaned juvenile offender that idealizes hip hop and creates haiku poetry as a method of externalizing emotional conflict, due to the influence of counseling and therapy sessions. Stuck in New Zealand's sub-par youth welfare system (known for endless governmental restructuring with little or no substantive improvement), Ricky ends up on a rotting farm somewhere in the rural back blocks with foster parents.

The film clearly shows elements of the barren, social realist film of early 80s NZ, but with bigger, better cinematography, and Waititi's indie sense of the quirky and offbeat. "Quirky" can become a meaningless attribution in today's market of indie features where anybody and everybody can have a go at being "quirky" to make up for budget and spectacle, but this film also has real nuance and character development, and a quality cast that seem to get the idea of being a bit "quirky" and "meta" without forgetting that emotional investment is what an audience really needs to feel involved with the story. Rachel House is hilarious. So's the director in an excellent cameo.

Some of the early scenes don't read as naturally as they could, and also Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne's mother in the film is referred to but is never actually seen for unknown reasons. In addition, New Zealanders might complain about the films location improbabilities, but that's been standard practice in US features for years. Cool movie!! Go see it!!
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10/10
Perfectly Beautiful and Hilarious
jamesfrompapakura1 April 2016
Beautiful story of survival, family and humor, Amazing Cinematography and relatable lovable characters. This film places deep characters and themes in a beautifully visual setting of New Zealand while making it hilariously funny and giving the right amount of action, thought-provoking situations and dialogue to make it a perfect film, Using every possible opportunity to give the audience an emotional and visual pleasure.

The film covers so many aspects of developing emotions while delivering a heart touching laugh your ass off story and never letting the audience either laughing or awing for the story of this cute parent-less fat boy and his journey of running,hiding and surviving though the unique NZ bush and connection to his uncle Heck.

The film allows the audience to leave with the most satisfyingly developed characters and story, while becoming a instant classic and a great showcase of New Zealand as a Country and its potential in the Film Industry.

I consider this to be the best film By Tiki Waititi and there is no wonder why he the writer and director has been chosen to direct the anticipated Thor: Ragnarok of the superhero film genre taking over Hollywood.

James Cameron
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10/10
Amazing!!
catebilbrey16 April 2016
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It was excellently developed and had the perfect cast. 10/10 would see again. It had the perfect balance between comedy and drama. I laughed, I cried. Every component of it was thought out in detail and it worked perfectly! Even while it was funny, it had an overall meaning and made you consider different aspects of society. To be entirely honest, when I first heard what it was about, I wasn't interested but it is now one of my favorite movies I've ever seen. Please, if you have the chance to see it, you must. I guarantee you, you won't regret it. There was absolutely no part where I thought "well, this could have been better" or "that could have been excluded", it was so so good. From the cinematography to the cast and script, it was perfect, I couldn't have asked for a better movie.
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10/10
Great, heartwarming movie
perica-4315110 July 2018
Want to see something fresh and original, heartwarming but also substantial - this movie is for you. Its director has such a unique tone, and his talent puts New Zealand on the world movie map all over again. Well worth your time, a positive movie, but in a deepest sense there is.
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10/10
This ain't no foster kid child
nogodnomasters28 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is an unruly foster child who "spits" among other things. He is taken in by the Faulkners, Bella (Rima Te Wiata) being a collector of stray dogs and such. Her husband Hec (Sam Neill) is not keen on the boy. Ricky develops a love and admiration for very independent Bella. After her death, child services "no child left behind" comes to take Ricky back. Ricky takes off into the woods, Hec tracks him down. Through a number of circumstances they are gone for a long time and a bounty is put out on them. They encounter some characters along the way, including the under used Psycho Sam (Rhys Darby) who wears a colander to prevent the government from stealing his thoughts.

The characters were all great and likable, even the "bad" guys. The dialogue was superb with old film references. Worth going out of your way to watch it.

Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity. Talk of child molesting.
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9/10
Too gangsta for anything but haiku
pyrocitor26 December 2016
New Wes Anderson?/ Live action Pixar's Up?/ Herzog road trip flick?/

All these things and more/ Hunt for the Wilderpeople/ Is one of a kind/

Taika Waititi/ Blends Conchords' quirky humour/ With blunt honesty/

It's an oft-told plot/ Here, stripped of (most) cliché, and/ Adorably sharp/

No adoption tale/ Treats its heartwarming heartbreak/ With such frank sweetness/

In Waititi's world/ Rude haikus voice real trauma/ Death is nonchalant/

He finds poignant joy/ In the saddest images/ Peace in a barn fire/

But lost in the woods/ With a brave dog named Tupac/ Old man and boy heal/

Learning life lessons/ In New Zealand's lush splendour/ As they hide their poop/

Good ol' grumps Sam Neill/ And Julian Dennison/ Are pricelessly cute/

Wry, no-nonsense laughs/ Battling boar and Rachel House/ Gleeful cartoon foe/

As the pace ramps up/ Tender character beats meet/ Thelma and Louise/

And a denouement/ So crisply wholesome there'll be/ Something in your eye/

A tiny triumph/ Mighty but unpretentious/ With humongous charm/

One of the year's best/ Don't miss these Wilderpeople/ The skux life chose you!

-9/10
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8/10
Hugely enjoyable comedy adventure with serious undertones
julian-mumford17 April 2016
Kiwi director Taika Waititi of "Boy" and "What We Do In the Shadows" fame will shortly be stepping into the big leagues directing the next "Thor" movie.

In the meantime he has conjured up another slice of real Kiwi life on a budget that would probably fail to cover the catering bill for his new movie. Waititi translates Kiwi writer Barry Crump's book into a screenplay full of Kiwiana, irony and humour.

We meet Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) as the local police (Oscar Kightley) and "enthusiastic" Child Care worker "Paula" (Rachel House), attempt to rehouse the young Maori lad with his new adoptive foster parents. "Aunt Bella" (Rima Te Wiata), child loving and with a heart of gold together with husband "Hec" (Sam Neill), a loner bushman with little desire to house a young delinquent.

Ricky's long list of offences are mentioned, including "smashing stuff and throwing rocks" but Paula is very determined, oft repeating her personal motto, "no child left behind".

The opening scene sets the tone perfectly, as Ricky carefully surveys his new accommodation and quietly returns to the police car.

Despite finding his new basic rural surroundings somewhat bewildering, including a gloriously bloody wild pig hunt, Ricky starts to become part of the family as he is showered by Aunt Bella's practical love and understanding.

Following an event, Ricky and Hec strike out on their own into the New Zealand bush as a national man hunt for the pair commences. Can they get on, will Hec's heart eventually melt, if indeed he can find it? This is a comedy drama with emphasis on the humour with incompetent hunters, crazy bushmen (Rhys Darby) and comical situations. However framed with underlying sadness and a serious story under pinning the whole endeavour. The tone is reminiscent of director Waititi's' "Boy" and manages to stay consistent throughout. Waititi even allowing himself a brief cameo, to great comedic effect.

There are plenty of belly laughs for those that understand and know New Zealand well. Neill essaying your everyday "she'll be right" Kiwi bloke, whilst providing a much needed straight man to all the shenanigans.

Some scenes are pushed too far, with Paula's quest going to ridiculous length's for the sake of comedy and Darby overbalancing his scenes with his usual shtick. Somehow with the solid anchor of Dennison's fresh performance and Neill's experience, the ship manages to stay the right way up.

The New Zealand bush is shown in all it's glory with the addition of a great choral track to accompany the shots of the overhead tree canopy.

Overall a much more approachable and enjoyable film than "Shadows" which will play especially well with Kiwi's and Australians but does have broader appeal.

Summary

Hugely enjoyable comedy adventure with serious undertones and represents a real return to form for Waititi. It's also good to see Sam Neill on the big screen again, opposite a great new young talent.
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6/10
Reasonably enjoyable
HerbieStretch16 May 2016
With gentle humour and packed full of Kiwiana this is a reasonably enjoyable film without hitting any great or new heights. The theme is an old one, the setting different and the acting good enough. New Zealand audiences love it as they see a part of themselves and their lives reflected back to them - Bush tramping and hunting are as stereotypically Kiwi as you can be. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood at the time but the pathos was lost on me, appearing ham-fisted. Some of the acting was cartoonish but maybe that was the point, it is a comedy after all, but it didn't work for me. Perhaps I have seen too many good comedies down the years done really well. I won't begrudge Kiwis the right to publish rave reviews here, I'm just sorry I can't join them in that.
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7/10
Lovely movie but not Waititis best
laptoppclaptop1 July 2016
I do love Taika Waititis movies and I totally dig his style. I also think he is a very talented and unique movie-maker. I liked "Wilderpeople", but in my opinion it was not as strong as Boy or What we do in the shadows.

I feel that his off-beat low key style went a little too far this time, so that as an audience I lost emotional connection with the story and characters a few times. The flow of the movie was not as good as in Shadows or Boy, and with this style of movie, the right flow is very important. Also, it felt at times that the style was prevailing over the content.

It is interesting that even though the story line in What we do in the shadows was even more fragmentary, it somehow worked there. And even though Shadows had a also a very unique styling it never felt like forced or artificial.

Also I thought that the dogs in the film were totally unnecessary. They did not add anything to the story and the way they were filmed created the feeling of dis-continuity. In some scenes the dogs appeared and in others seemed to have disappeared forever. Then again they appeared erratically as if the director suddenly had remembered: "Blimey, i had the dogs a few scenes ago, I need to show the ears or the tail for continuity. "

Having said that, overall Wilderpeople was still a positive movie experience. All characters were funny and likable, even the evil social services inspector. The kid who played the main role was simply wonderful and so cute. Sam Neil as "uncle" and actress who played "auntie" did great job as well. I loved the cinematography, the intentional bending rules of "good" cinematography, the New Zealand-specific details in peoples homes, etc.

I admired the unique and quirky cinematography already in the Shadows, and here Waiti continues serving an intentionally off-beat strange and wonderful cinematography.

Also I liked the idea - two free spirits, outcasts of the society against the heartless and bureaucratic system. I loved that in the end the kid and the uncle were reunited in a straight forward happy end fashion. Even though the film had some flaws, definitely would recommend it as another example of talented and unique Taika Waititis work and also showcasing some wonderful NZ actors.

Ups, almost forgot:besides the leads, auntie and social inspector one of the best characters is the wild bush man, played by the funnyman whose name always escapes me but he was the leader of verwolves in What we do in the shadows (Remember "We are the verwolves, not the swear-wolves"?)
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9/10
An absolute gem of a movie.
Troy_Campbell2 June 2016
Those familiar with writer-director-actor Taika Waititi's last three films – What We Do in the Shadows, Boy and Eagle vs Shark – already know how bloody brilliant the New Zealand native is both behind and in front of the camera. If there is any justice in the world then his most recent Kiwi adventure, which maintains the ridiculously high standard he has set, will attract big crowds and greatly expand the number of people fortunate enough to watch this master at work. This charming tale of a rambunctious orphaned kid (Julian Dennison) trying to find his place in life, and in the NZ wilderness where his latest foster carers reside, beautifully blends cartoonish humour and meaty themes into its fascinating story. Adept at finding both poignancy and hilarity in the simple moments, Waititi's observations on culture, relationships and human behaviour draw you in to his world, which is all too real yet somehow heightened at the same time. Populated with subtly compelling characters whom you want to hang out with, laugh with, cry with and struggle through life with, the 101 minute runtime utterly flies by; when the end credits roll you'll not be ready to leave. Acting alongside screen veteran Sam Neill (outstanding – obviously) for the most part, the absurdly charismatic Dennison is an absolute revelation too, looking completely at ease filling the shoes of defiant 13-year-old Ricky Baker. Hopefully many more roles are forthcoming. At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, and always enthralling, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a gem of a movie that verifies Waititi is a filmmaking genius.
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8/10
Uncle Hec and Ricky for the win
ferguson-623 June 2016
Oak Cliff Film Festival 2016 Greetings again from the darkness. It just doesn't seem very many movies are designed to be funny to a wide range of viewers. There are raunchy comedies for taboo lovers. There are comedies for young kids. There are even Nicolas Cage movies for unintentional laughs. But writer/director Taika Waititi actually delivers a thoroughly entertaining movie that will generate laughs across multiple generations … it's quite simply, a fun time at the theatre.

It's based on the 1986 book "Wild Pork and Watercress" by Barry Crump, who himself is a bit of a legendary figure in New Zealand. The film begins with Child Protective Services (or whatever it's called in New Zealand) dropping off 12 year old Ricky Baker to his new foster family. Paula, the CPS agent, considers Ricky a lost cause and describes him as "a very bad egg" as she rattles off his list of previous rebellions to new foster mom Bella, who takes note of Ricky's heft with a couple of wisecracks – delivered with a well-meaning smile.

In a terrific screen introduction, "Uncle" Hec slowly comes into frame flashing a world class scowl and a wild boar slung over his shoulder. Ricky continues his habit of running away at night, but Bella slowly wins him over with her kindness, understanding and breakfast offerings. A tragic occurrence and fear of being shipped back to the juvenile center, has Ricky disappearing into the New Zealand bush. Soon enough Hec catches up and the two begin a relationship that is the core of the film.

Rima Te Wiata plays Bella as a perpetually optimistic woman with a sincere drive to help Ricky adjust and find some joy in life. Sam Neill plays Hec in full grumpy curmudgeon mode … a nice compliment to the extraordinary presence of Julian Dennison (Paper Planes) as Ricky. Ricky and Hec together are a hoot to watch. It's not simply the generational differences, but also a clash of one man who wants little more than to be left alone and a young boy who wants little more than to be noticed and cared about. It's not so much the direction of their relationship that surprises, but rather the manner in which it develops.

Director Waititi's next film is Thor: Ragnarok, so this makes us appreciate even more his pleasant little indie film that features not just colorful and interesting characters, but the beautiful landscape of the New Zealand bush … much of which we see during the humorous manhunt for Hec and Ricky. It's a farcical comedy with a dose of profundity and loads of adventure for two social misfits. Rachel House is pretty funny as the obsessed CPS worker, and Rhys Darby ("Flight of the Conchords") is downright hilarious as Psycho Sam. Watching criminial-wannabe Ricky literally count off his Haiku, leaves little doubt as to why this one has been such an "audience favorite" at multiple film festivals.
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10/10
This was a great movie for anyone to see.
jakeallen-470298 April 2016
Hunt for the Wilderpeople was one of my top movies at Sundance. The film used symbolism expertly. The director was able to convey powerful symbolism through something as small as a rubber water container. It was used as a symbol for home. It showed that in a harsh world full of rejection, what we all really want as humans is to be loved and wanted by other people. This movie shows that even though people can have a hard time trusting others with themselves, relentless love can break down barriers. In the movie, Ricky shows us that even though being truly loved by someone can feel foreign and awkward, once you get a taste of it, you never want to let it go. Through the rubber water container symbol, the film shows that when life circumstances change, we still just want intimate relationships with other people. Although it may appear different on the outside, it will always be similar at its core.

This movie also shows how much our pasts want to dictate our future. We see outcasts of society searching for freedom from who they were, but how people around them are trying to not let that happen. Where they find the most freedom is exactly where society is trying to rip them out of. They would rather keep in the lowest levels of civilization rather than let them have their freedom. Just like with these characters, the world will identify us most by the things we least like about ourselves. Whether it is an addiction, or a mistake we would rather forget, these are the things the world continually wants us to live in rather than finding freedom from them. It is a fight to live in that freedom rather than being dragged down to believing we are still those same people from our pasts. This film shows that freedom is possible. No matter what is in our past, that does not have to be who we are today, but it is a battle. We will have to run, fight, or go against what people around us are telling us to do, but we must seek to live in that freedom. This film is fraught with other symbols and social commentaries. It is at the top of my list of recommendations for people to see.
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7/10
A comedy which is genuinely funny, with a cast of charming characters
harrywhitehead15 September 2016
Taika Waititi's new comedy, set in the New Zealand bush, sees the wacky manhunt of a young orphan, Ricky (Julian Dennison), and his foster uncle Hec (Sam Neil). Following the threat of returning to the public system, Ricky flees his new remote farm home, with his foster uncle tracking him down shortly after deep within the bush. With the authorities believing their disappearance to be kidnapping, both Ricky and Hec quickly become fugitives running from the law.

Waititi's excellent brand of comedy doesn't disappoint, with solid character based humour and genuine laugh out loud moments throughout. If you're a fan of Edgar Wright you're sure to enjoy the visual comedic style of the movie, as well as the levity and frivolity, which isn't too dissimilar to that seen in Wright's cornetto trilogy.

Casting is solid with the partnership between Neil and Dennison producing some excellent chemistry; well balanced by the comical partnership of unrelenting and headstrong child-services worker Paula (Rachel House) and incompetent police officer Andy (Oscar Kightley).
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7/10
Conventional but enjoyable
proud_luddite12 May 2018
Ricky (Julian Dennison) is an aboriginal, delinquent teenager who is transferred among foster homes in urban New Zealand. His newest foster assignment is in a farm near the wilderness. After a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, Ricky and the man of the house (Sam Neill) live in the bush as they are hunted down by government authorities.

There is an early disappointment in the film when a likeable, eccentric character disappears too soon. Also, the plot device of an "old grouch" unlikely bonding with a misunderstood teenage boy has been done many, many times before.

Despite these complaints, "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is still an enjoyable movie. This is mainly because of Dennison's and Neill's performances - both individually and in their mutual chemistry. The film also gives credibility to a repeated theme: that bureaucrats rarely (if ever) give outcasts the help they need but still try to dominate their lives. Near the end, there is also a nostalgic reminder of "Thelma and Louise".

With some good humour and the beauty of the New Zealand wilderness, this movie comes off as rather gratifying.
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9/10
Worth the hunt....
MartinHafer13 October 2016
"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is a marvelous new movie from New Zealand and it sure makes you want to see more from writer/director Taika Wiatiti. It's a sweet and enjoyable film from start to finish and the young star of the film and veteran Sam Neill are a joy to watch together throughout the movie.

When the film begins, a very strange social worker, Paula, brings Ricky (Julian Dennison) to live in yet another foster home. The kid is angry and a mess and yet somehow Bella makes the boy feel loved and all is well...until Bella soon unexpectedly drops dead. Her husband, Hec (Sam Neill), isn't thrilled with keeping the kid and has every intention of returning the kid to Paula. However, before he can do this, the kid disappears...off to live the 'thug life' in the New Zealand bush! As for Hec, he makes the fateful mistake of following after the boy. Why is this so bad? Well, after finding Ricky, Hec falls and shatters his leg and they are now in the middle of nowhere and are forced to camp out and live off the land. In the meantime, Paula alerts the police and soon there's a nationwide dragnet to find the boy...and folks all believe Hec is some sicko who's kidnapped the kid! So, when they finally return, they are nearly killed by angry idiots and they are forced, once again, to return to the countryside. What will ever happen with this oddly mismatched pair?!

If the plot sounds familiar, it's actually very much like a live action version of "Up"...with a few changes of course. There's the dead wife, the grouchy old man, the needy kid and their eventual search for a supposedly extinct bird...all familiar "Up" elements. But it works as well because there are some lovely differences...and instead of schmaltz and sentiment, the film relies on the kid being a cute little budding sociopath as well as some wonderful dialog by all the characters. Well worth seeing, lots of fun and a great look one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. Additionally, in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, look for the director in a bit part as the minister performing Bella's funeral...it's a very strange and funny scene.

Incidentally, if you enjoy this film, there are a few other great Kiwi films I strongly could recommend, such as "Once Were Warriors" and "Whale Rider". All three are excellent family films, though "Once Were Warriors" is definitely for an older and more adult audience (no pre-teens for this one).
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5/10
Don't believe the hype !
warrengooding24 September 2016
What a disappointment! I was expecting a quirky, but down to earth, charming drama with comedic elements and an engaging story to be enjoyed by young and old. The first 10 -15 minutes are overall promising but it is generally downhill from there. Initially I had no intention of seeing this film as the posters looked as if the film was essentially aimed at kids and it holds a 12A classification. In retrospect the publicity got it right! However, the reviews on IMDb, the comments, reputation of the writer/director and overall score of 8.3 convinced me otherwise. Unfortunately the story is formulaic and offered no originality on the central theme of a 'damaged' child who finds friendship and meaningful relationship with caring adults after various events. The acting at times was clunky from the central young character and other minor roles as was the dialogue on many occasions. The humour was derived from too many forced situations and the peripheral characters became increasingly unbelievable and the overall feel just juvenile and very childish. There were several incongruent bloody scenes involving animal slaughter which simply felt unnecessary when sitting along side the more silly story arcs. The scenery was indeed spectacular but the characters' placement on extreme peaks at times was totally unbelievable and done simply to showcase the background. The last 30 minutes became predictable, mawkish and there are a ridiculous series of events which are aimed at creating laughs at the expense of any credibility. I think this is an overall miss as the level of humour and plot could only be appreciated by uncritical 8 - 11 year old's who it is not primarily aimed at! This review may seem harsh but is needed to counterbalance all the OTT positive reviews whose motivation for such praise is perhaps questionable. It is a 6/10 but I have voted 5/10 to offer some counterbalance.
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9/10
Really good
tenshi_ippikiookami11 June 2016
"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" seems like your run-of-the-mill movie about kid with problems that connects with older person, and then both of them learn how to understand each other and how to deal with the whole wide world.

And it is.

But it is much more than that.

Directed by Taika Waititi (whose other work also offers the same kind of humour), "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" may not be a very original movie, but it is a movie with heart and lots of comedy and silliness that never overstays its welcome. If you don't laugh, at least you will be smiling throughout the whole affair, feeling a connection to Neill's Faulkner and Dennison's Baker, two of those characters that are so easy to relate to, one bitter and old and the other bitter and young.

The script keeps things fast and loose, the jokes coming, and all under a clear patina of surrealism. The direction is assured and never let things get out of hand. But the best is the acting. Sam Neill has never been better, and Julian Dennison shines. But all the cast does an amazing job.

It is tonally uneven in a couple of places, and it takes a couple of strange decisions, but those are minor quibbles in a very funny and heartfelt movie.

Totally recommended.
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8/10
Flight of the Kiwis
waltermwilliams14 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A simple story told well in a majestical setting (that is a real word isn't it?) beats CGI hands down every time. NZ wilderness is the real star, but watch out for Murray from Flight of the Concords. It's a great cast and they all shine in this movie based on a book. You'll be cheering on the under dogs as they are hunted across the wilds of Hobbit land. It's a lovely funny story set in chapters from the director who gave us Eagle vs Shark and What We Do In The Shadows. Can't wait to see his treatment of Thor. You will be using quotes from this movie in your vernacular for years to come. I found myself clapping as the credits rolled.
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