Taika Waititi is a bit of a legend in his native New Zealand — but not, like, Peter Jackson legendary. He’s more like Flight of the Conchords legendary. Nevertheless, he’s been carving out a nice, quirky comedic niche for himself with films like Eagle vs. Shark, Boy (which is the highest grossing domestic New Zealand film ever), and, most recently, the bumbling vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. His latest, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, was a critical hit when it premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and now we have a first look at the new trailer.
Besides being ridiculously funny, the clip is fascinating because of what Waititi has on his plate next: The Kiwi director is making the jump to big budget blockbusters with Thor: Ragnarok — set for release from Marvel Studios on November 3, 2017.
Your first thought might be, “How does a small, New Zealand comedy starring Sam Neill — aka the guy from Jurassic Park — guarantee that this guy can suddenly be the person making the major decisions behind a multi-million dollar franchise that’s a cog in a much bigger multi-billion dollar mega-franchise?” Well, we’d say, just take a closer look at the Wilderpeople trailer.
Here’s the short synopsis:
“Based on Wild Pork and Watercress, Barry Crump’s book about a juvenile delinquent left in the care of rough yet loving foster parents who live off the wilds of the New Zealand bush. The hunt is on and they are wanted alive.”
If you look past the talking cheeseburgers and self-depricating New Zealand humor, it becomes apparent that Waititi can tell a small-scale story with a large-scale action aesthetic. On top of that, he can effortlessly pull out humor from the most mundane circumstances. This kind of thing is how Thor, who’s probably the least interesting Avenger, becomes interesting. A little meta-humor, some medium-sized action, a great villain, and a story focused on character and you get a good Thor movie. That’s hopefully how Ragnarok will pan out.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople currently doesn’t have a U.S. release date, but that should change soon. In the meantime, you’re about to hear much more about Waititi in the coming months, so enjoy the clip while you still can, replete with a great Terminator joke at the end. Waititi will be back.