The World of Waititi
The Taika Waititi Starter Pack
Are you craving something funny, yet different? Do you need something truly unique just like you? Of course you do because you’re a modern human being who wants to step away from the slapstick humor and weak plots of comedies from the past, and step into 21st century hilarity. Let me be your shepherd into the world of Taika Waititi. Does that name ring a bell? It should set off alarms because it’s some of the best stuff you’ll ingest as a modern day content consumer. He’s a New Zealand director, writer, actor, and a comedian at heart, and when I hear that he’s involved with a project, I put it on my watchlist immediately. I suggest you do the same.
Let’s start you off with something that you’ve most likely seen, Thor: Ragnarok. It is arguably one of the highlights of a Marvel installment because of its use of bright colors and light-hearted, yet meaningful storytelling with dense writing. If you’ve never watched any Marvel movies, just start with this one because there is no need to know the characters or backstories— and just do it for Waititi. If you’ve already seen it, did you know that Korg the rock monster is voiced by Taika himself? This is easily one of the standout characters because of his space kiwi accent and subtle jokes.
For your second course, let’s get green, as in really kiwi. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a book turned into movie masterpiece that exhibits all of Taika’s specialties. Excellent casting, ridiculously on point dialogue, and at least one catchy homemade song. It follows Rickey Baker and his gangsta journey with his foster family, child welfare services, and a girl crush. This movie is a great example of Waititi’s ability of being able to showcase any age story as it authentically shows a dorky 13-year-old navigating his funky home life. Watch this movie because you feel the need to be a newly minted teenager who is against the world.
Thirdly comes What We Do in the Shadows, which is a modern day vampire movie that truly doesn’t suck. It’s a mockumentary that follows the lives of four vampire flatmates living in New Zealand. This film has a certain mundane ring to it that you can’t find in American movies. I mean mundane in the best way possible, and Taika (who also stars and directs) is able to inject on-brand moments without forcing it in. He takes something dull, like washing dishes amongst roommates, and makes it interesting. Don’t tap out after the first 15 minutes— have some faith in the slow beginning, and trust Waititi.
Lastly, Boy. Written, directed, and featuring Waititi as the protagonist’s father, Boy is a movie that’ll make you cry real tears of sadness and emotion, yet make you laugh at the constantly repeated, heavily accented insult of “egg.” (Just imagine “ehhhhgg.”) This one truly is a drama with hints of that classic Taika twang of comedy.
Don’t let the slight lack of massive production value or rigid storylines scare you away. Branch out of your normal movie watching, and shoot for something a little offbeat that provides light-hearted funniness with wonderfully thought out stories. Keep your eye out for his next projects, like Jojo Rabbit, Free Guy, and Akira.
Whether he’s written it, directed it, or acted in it, Taika Waititi is definitely worth the watch.