New Zealand is a very interesting place; majestic landscapes that are beautiful to look at, there's exotic wildlife, hog hunting for notorious invasive boars with dogs, there's people like Peter Jackson, Sam Neil, and Graeme Tuckett, and there's "Natural History New Zealand" (it's a New Zealand television production creating original content for global broadcasting). This comedy drama is truly a New Zealand movie. Taika Waititi is the producer, director, writer of this film, and he did a great job on his work here; the combination of the exquisite timing, the well-utilized tone, and the brainy dialogue for the comedy is a genius combo. As a result, the comedy is clever, offbeat, and sharp. The editing was structured very well to create some sharp effect. The movie was definitely filmed in all of New Zealand and the areas here were perfect for each and every scene to give us some captivating set-pieces. The scenes with wild boar are impressive and dramatic as it reflects the events of hog hunting with dogs which is engrossing to watch. Although the CGI effect of the wild boar is not photo-realistic. The climax involving fast vehicles alongside the car chases is quite entertaining. The characters are very enjoyable; Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is the main character and he is an utterly rebellious teenage boy, but surprisingly enough, he has a totally different side that makes him a charming likable protagonist; like how he interacts with his family members and talking to them, he is surprisingly loyal to his dog (most of the time), and he is also pretty smart as he uses a strategy and he learns about animals sometimes. But the problem is that there are a two times where he is out of character like saying bad things about huia bird and he is not always nice to his dog (one time he was not nice to his dog). Hector Faulkner (Sam Neil) is a grumpy grizzled old man who is a hog hunter and he is also out of character when he knows what type of bird he sees (Ricky is supposed to be the smart character who knows a lot about animals). The interaction between Ricky and Hector is very engaging as they flesh out their information and talking to each other most likely. Even though they are harsh to each other sometimes, they both stick together like glue and they care for each other which shows that this movie has quite a lot of heart to it, and as the story progresses, they are developing a straight relationship. Psycho Sam (Rhys Darby) is a wacky bushman who is a likable and amusing supporting character. Kahu (Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne) is one heck of an oddball for a young lady, but she is a good-natured laid-back musician who plays guitar and has an odd father (Troy Kingi). Paula Hall (Rachel House) is child welfare worker and she is the main antagonist of the film as she tracks down both Ricky and Hector to capture them and put into prison. The thing that makes these characters so fun to watch, is that they all have a variety of whimsical personalities to their own characterizations to give this movie a quirky feel (kind of like "Nacho Libre"). The hypnotizing electronic music score is composed by an rock band called the Phoenix foundation, and it is an elevating asset for the film. In conclusion: This is a likable and quirky comedy drama that provides clever engaging amusement. Highly Recommended.
Dark and cynical enough to take seriously, but funny and emotionally charged in a way that sticks with you. The rapid jump from fish-out-of-water to tragedy and then on to adventure is a bit unsettling compared to standard Hollwood family fare, but if you think of it as a foreign/arthouse film that's easier to forgive. Some truly great moments. Maybe not for smaller kids (there's some wilderness violence and some harsh language) and if you don't understand the Kiwi dialects you'll need subtitles, but I loved it.
My wife almost had to drag me to see this, but it seriously exceeded my expectations. Funny, touching, beautifully shot, a lot like Thelma and Louise--if Thelma was a hard-bitten, grieving mountain man and Louise was a tubby juvenile delinquent. The CPS antagonist was so cartoonishly over the top that it sometimes broke immersion, but overall an excellent movie.
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