Movie review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

About a month ago, it was a Friday night in quarantine and my family had nowhere to be. I suggested we watch a movie, knowing that we would enjoy a movie as soon as we could agree on one.

Of course, my little brother and dad wanted to watch an action movie like Ocean’s 11, and I wanted to watch a rom-com like There’s Something About Mary or a comedy like Beverly Hills Cop. My mom was decidedly staying out of it. 

Eventually, my mom asked, “Which movie did we watch recently that we all liked? Maybe we can find something similar to that.”

A few weeks prior, we had watched Jojo Rabbit and loved it. As it turned out, Taika Waititi, the screenwriter for Jojo Rabbit, had also written and produced a movie called Hunt for the Wilderpeople. We decided to check it out, and every member of my family (including me) ranked it a 10/10.

The movie is rated PG-13, and it’s labeled as an “adventure comedy-drama film” by Wikipedia. It is irreverent and heartwarming, fast-paced and well-resolved at the end. 

There are some scenes of animal violence and general hunting of animals, and there are weapons in this movie. Because of this, it’s rated PG-13.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople starts out with Ricky Baker, the main character, moving to a remote area of New Zealand to live with his new foster parents. His foster mother, Bella, is exceptionally nice to him, but dies early into the movie.

His foster father, Hector (Hec), is less warm. They live in a jungle, the New Zealand forest, as part of their backyard. It’s called the Bush, and it’s rumored to be dangerous and disorienting for anyone tough enough to brave it.

When Ricky decides to go on an adventure, Hec comes with him. Somehow, Hec is perceived as Ricky’s kidnapper, a murderer, and worse. Ricky and Hec become involved in a manhunt, and they must survive in the Bush to avoid getting caught. They get lost, however, and must find a way to return home while also keeping a low profile from the authorities.

I loved everything about this movie, from the well-timed humor to plot twists and general sweetness of the characters. As odd as this movie may seem, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is everything I could want in an adventure-comedy movie.