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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Score: 85%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 101 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Adventure/Drama
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,


  • Commentary with Director Taika Waititi and Actors Sam Neill and Julian Dennison
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Blooper Reel

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a quirky, offbeat comedic adventure taking place in the bushlands of New Zealand. Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a "bad seed" in the foster care system and as a last resort, he is sent to the quiet farm of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector "Hec" Faulkner (Sam Neill, And Then There Were None) in the hopes that he will leave the pre-gangster life behind him. Paula (Rachel House) works for Child Welfare and delivers the rebellious boy into Bella's jubilant arms, but Hec looks like he couldn't care less... and he couldn't.

Initially, Ricky is closed off to the family and even tries to run away, but he's a little overweight and he doesn't make it very far. Before long, with all of Bella's doting, he sees what it's like to be in a loving family and feels at home, until tragedy strikes and he and Hec are left to fend for themselves. When a letter arrives from Child Welfare stating Ricky will go back into the system, he makes a break for it with his trusty dog Tupac, with Hec and his dog, Zag, not far behind. Then Hec injures his leg and the pair are stuck out in the bush until it heals, but a strange thing happens. They learn to get along, rely on one another, and Ricky actually become competent under Hec's tutelage.

With the hilariously messy scene Ricky left back at the farmhouse, Paula is left to assume the worst - Hec has abducted poor Ricky - and a manhunt ensues, with the pair none the wiser. Once Hec heals and they discover that everyone has been looking for them, they decide they'd rather stay fugitives in the bush than go back to their old lives. Along their journey of enlightenment and escape, they'll meet some crazy characters like a trio of hunters who are after the reward money for their return, as well as a crackpot hermit called Psycho Sam (Rhys Darby), and all the while Paula and her crew of cops are hot on their heels, and those chasing them continue to grow. As Ricky learns about the wilderness and survival, Hec learns that he needs others to survive and the pair start to appreciate one another for their quirks.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a delightful and awkward comedy in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite, but only in the sense of the awkwardness and quirkiness. It is very much staunchly New Zealand in feel, and having watched a lot of New Zealand productions lately, like The Brokenwood Mysteries, I have a much greater appreciation for the comedy and attitude of NZ.

Special features include audio commentary with Taika Waititi, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, a blooper reel, and a behind the scenes featurette, but you'll watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople for the movie itself. It's bittersweet at times, but so odd and funny that if you like something a little different, you'll probably like Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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