Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hunt For The Wilderpeople


 New Zealand is not generally known for it's film industry, so after hearing that the quirky indie movie Hunt For The Wilderpeople had done so well at it's home country box office, I decided to give it a go.
Set generally in the Maori populated rural bush, the story sees troubled, obese teenager Ricky ( Julian Dennison) literally being palmed off on childless farmers Bella (a delightful  Rima the Wiata) and her bad tempered husband Hec (Sam Neill) by burnt out child welfare officer Paula ( Rachel House) .
Ricky is an angry orphan, obsessed with rapping culture and  gangsters, but his defences are gradually worn down by Bella's curious warmth and rather black humour even though Hec remains stand offish and cool.
When Bella unexpectedly dies foster dad and teen reluctantly join forces to embark on a strange " True Grit " journey into the bush, pursued by the police, an obsessed and angry Paula and a set of huntsmen.
It is, what it is, namely a rather sweet fairy tale of two lost souls who find each other and credit must be given to a grizzled Sam Neill who is happy to let his rotund co star hog all of the best one liners.
Having said this, as charismatic as Dennison undoubtedly is, with his spirited haiku renditions and gangster jargon, it is important to note that he is not your typical child actor, and does,  perhaps lacks, the emotional range needed to portray the more pained aspects of the boy's character.

Having said this, the movie is a comedy, and the cast do deliver a whimsically sweet story which pleases even though occasionally it dives into slapstick now and then.


23 comments:

  1. -been meaning to watch this film. The reviews have been warm & Sam Neill is a perenial fave.

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  2. Do you remember "The Whale Rider"?
    That little girl was the most amazing actor. Some kids are just born to it.
    I'd like to see this.

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  3. Really John! Switch on your brain Man! Where were the Lord of the Rings filmed ... where does Peter Jackson hail from ... heard of Jane Campion??!! They are ALL New Zealanders!! Next time you need a good holiday, grab Chris and head on down here - I promise you the holiday of a lifetime!

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    1. Virginia - thanks for pointing that out.

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    2. Hear hear! And Willow, The Last Samurai, River Queen, The Krampus, What we Do in the shadows, all of Xena and Hercules among others were made here. Heaps of others.
      Also love it's Wilderpeople.
      And emotional range is not something kiwi males are known for, sadly. Young Julian is entertaining us on ads for My Food Bag which is one of those (ridiculous IMHO) services where they provide all the ingredients for a week's worth of meals. Still gotta cook 'em though.

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    4. I hate all of the rings films too!

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    5. Hum I stick to my statement...compared to other countries NZ is not generally known for its movies....The Piano , whale rider admittedly are great movies.... The rings films are just overblown adventures which are only in part kiwi movies.....backed by American money.
      Hey ho
      I hate the rings movies btw

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    6. but really John, you hate the rings movies then? :D

      I would see this, if it was available. The whale rider sticks out in my memory as one of my favorite NZ's

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    7. We can live with that. We make a lot of movies that noone knows were made here, like the remake of Ghost in the Shell that's coming out soon and MrC is in it, although probably unrecognisable. And Tintin, Planet of the Apes etc. We're very aware of it because we sell a lot of stuff to the studios when they're in production and everyone knows someone who is in something. But that won't translate all the way to Trelawnyd ;-)

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  4. We're currently loving a NZ series called, "The Almighty Johnsons." Fantastic show; fun, twisty, sexy, empathic, and with Norse gods as an added fantasy element.

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  5. I watched it last week and thought it was quite good. It was warm, funny, visually appealing.

    The same producer made a film called "Boy" which I think was better, it's a fave in this house

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  6. Hmmmm. I see you haven't given it a rating (an oversight?) but if you had it sounds like it would be markedly higher than my own of 5/10.

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    1. Ta - yes, that figures. (Meaning: It's in line with what you've written).

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  7. Sorry, John - I didn't mean to be waspish this morning. You might enjoy "Goodbye, Pork Pie" a hilarious romp of a movie made about 25 years ago. Again, a New Zealand one! Have a good day!

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  8. Sam Neill can do no wrong in my opinion. I'd like to see some of the films you review John.

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  9. Loved it, did you see The Piano?NZ produces some great films

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  10. I love your reviews John, almost as good as seeing the films, which I never do.

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  11. Thanks for effectively warning me off. I'll pass on this one.

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  12. Sam Neill was recently on the Graham Norton show talking about it

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  13. Sam Neill? Sign me up! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. :-D

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  14. Saw this when it hit the 'States earlier this year. It's a good movie, but not a great movie because the silliness just keeps building and building until it goes over the top. The most interesting character, Bella, dies near the beginning of the film, and Paula's character, at first quirky and endearing, just becomes demonic. (Two and 1/2 stars out of four.)

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