About – A young boy Ricky (Julian Dennison), gets a new home in the countryside of New Zealand, with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (Sam Neill). When a tragedy happens, Ricky runs away and soon follows is Hec. After been missing for a couple of months, the police and child services go on a hunt for them. With special surprises and humour on the way ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’.
The way that ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ is presented to us, is by chaptered form storytelling, just like the book. As ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ is based on the book ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’. This is a very clever but refreshing way to reference from a novel. Usually in films, if they are using the chaptered subtitles it is used 3-4 times. Whereas ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ used every chapter that were available. By not reading the book, it is hard to know if they stuck with the novel or took ideas and themes from it. Either way ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ didn’t disappoint on this element.
The casting was very surprising; however, the performances were unbelievable. Everyone was heavenly surprised at the cast of Sam Neill, probably because he is a well-known actor in this indie film.
Hec performed by Sam Neill, well-known for ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993). Hec, is the husband of Bella that re-homed a child (Ricky) within their home. Hec in this situation doesn’t approve of this. But strangely he has a connection with Ricky as time passes by. Even though Sam Neill is a well-known actor, it was a surprise seeing him in a New Zealand indie film. However, his father was New Zealand born and Sam lived in New Zealand for a while as a youth. What a delight it was to see him back on the screen, especially in a role that suited him so well. His performance was brilliant from start to finish, we get a ‘bromance’ from this role which helps us progress this feeling with the storyline of Hec.
Ricky is the main protagonist played by Julian Dennison. Ricky is a modern-day boy that likes hip-hop, that is a ‘wanna be gangster’ and doesn’t understand the great outdoors. Ricky tries to run away, but doesn’t get far. One day he goes missing but was easily found by Hec and this is where the journey begins. Julian’s performance was outstanding; with a very short filmography this was terrific. Julian captures that young boy that thinks the world is after him. He brings the true character to life. The humorous boy looked like it was coming from a natural place and not forced. This was a superb performance and a fantastic character to fall in love with.
The humour that ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ is very surprising. You are not expecting anything special, however this is probably one of the funniest films from 2016. It has everything for all ages groups. There are references to pop-culture icons and films, which all age groups can relate to. There is also racial humour that was used very well within the tone of the film and it worked perfectly well for the right amount. One character stood out on the humour element and that was Ricky, he produced the most laughable moments and this brings that realistic element to the film.
New Zealand is known for its stunning countryside and valleys. ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ doesn’t hesitate on bringing us these facts. Its establishing shots are breath taking, it shows the beauty that this world has. New Zealanders know what they have, some of the best forests in the world. The cinematographer is Lachlan Milne; his filmography is short films with this being his first big feature film. Without a doubt Lachlan knows how to capture the beautiful scenes and establishing shots. They show off the vast beauty of New Zealand. This is very promising for Lachlan and his future work is looking bright.
The non-diegetic sounds were superb. In different scene’s there would be music which fitted into these parts of the film brilliantly. When the establishing shots were happening the use of classical music was used for the New Zealand country naturalism. Then there would be Ricky within the forest dancing to his homemade ‘Walkman’ and dancing to some music. This shows the realism of the character and the situation that they’re in. Throughout the score fits perfectly and all these different music genres work brilliantly for this amazing adventure.
Lastly, ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ is a loveable, uplifting, majestic film. It plays with every emotion from joyfulness and feeling blue. The performances and characters were brilliant, you felt that on-screen relationship with both main characters. The score and cinematography for an indie film like this was fantastic, it shows how far indie films can go if they have the right funding and production company to help them. The comedy element was fantastic; it was a joy to laugh along with characters.