Day 13: Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A Journey Through the New Zealand Bush

This week my electricity went off, and the inside of my running shoes ripped to shreds. The only two things I have done since the quarantine this past month: watch movies, blog, online Zoom everything, and train for a half-marathon.

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Hec and Ricky surviving together (source: rollingstone.com)

The good news is the electricity is back on. Hence my updated blog post. Also, my running shoes have been ordered from Amazon and are on there way. If you see me running a fake half-marathon around the block, just wave and throw water bottles at me, or better yet during this time in our country, just throw a roll of toilet paper.

Now onto our review.

Today we are traveling to New Zealand with their most famous screenwriter and director Taika Waititi. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” released in 2016, is to this day New Zealand’s number one highest-grossing film of all time. 

Mr. Waititi has quickly become one of my favorite modern-day screenwriters, directors, and actors. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” was the first time I was exposed to his work. Followed by “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) and, one of my most surprising favorites, “Jojo Rabbit”(2019). You may recall that last fall I did an in-depth review of “Jojo.” Needless to say, Mr. Waititi does not need to be working on his resume anytime soon: his film masterpieces speak for themselves.

His use of comedy is impressive to say the least. As The New York Times review stated it best, he “works fast, setting a bright, light comic mood that owes something to Wes Anderson but is organically his own.” Mr. Waititi’s original humor, sarcasm, depth of human feeling, and emotion and his ability to make us love his “marginalized” heroes is original in Hollywood, to say the least. When making a film like “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” “It helps to have a compassionate and humane filmmaker in the director’s chair.”

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Bella and Ricky (source: thecultureconcept.com)

Ricky, is a foster kid who has nowhere else left to go until, Bella (Rima Te Wiata) takes him in. She is a loving, kind soul who no pushover. Her husband Hec, played by Sam Neil (“Jurassic Park,” “The Dish,” does not take kindly to Ricky being there. A gruff, hippie kind of character, he and Bella live off the land. We get bits and pieces of Ricky’s difficult childhood throughout the movie; however, it is never dwealt on or discussed in detail. Just enough for us to know he has had it rough.

Ricky does not want to be there at first and tries to run away, but when you live in the middle of nowhere it is difficult to get out. Bella does not take it seriously and jokes around with him every day about when he will run away. Eventually Ricky and Bella are two peas in a pod.

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Ricky (source: timeout.com)

After a series of unfortunate events, Hec and Ricky find themselves running for their lives in the New Zealand bush for over five months. Both wanting freedom. They band together in the roughest conditions and learn to like each other. As their relationship unfolds you find yourself cheering them on as overcome each obstacle they face together. The film is filled with tragedy, hope, and the will to survive.

As Ebert recalled in his review,“Hec and Ricky are high enough in the mountains that they can almost touch the sky and Hec calls it “majestical.” It’s not a real word, but we know what it means. It’s the meaning that matters in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” It’s a downright majestical movie.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

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2 thoughts on “Day 13: Hunt for the Wilderpeople: A Journey Through the New Zealand Bush

  1. Well, this movie was a pleasant surprise! If I had been scrolling through movies on Netflix, I probably would have scrolled on by, but I’m so glad you had this movie on your list! I was sad when Bella passed, but it had to happen for all the real adventure to take place! She was the glue for both Ricky and Hec and when she was gone, they only had each other. Ricky had probably never had anyone who really cared about him and whom he could not manipulate with his bad behavior. Bella handled him beautifully. After she was gone, Ricky did not want to go back to what he had faced before, he and Hec had to fight the system or escape it. It was not what Hec had in his plans, but eventually it became a bond and it was on ! Their fight was valiant! This movie was tender and touching with a big dose of humor. And even though they eventually were caught, the ending was satisfying. I really enjoyed this adventure! Thanks Meg!

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