The Thor franchise may be the most unbalanced in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), home to what is perhaps the worst film in the whole MCU (Thor: The Dark World) as well as one of the stronger and more distinctive origin stories. Counting those two films and the Avengers movies, Thor: Ragnarok would be the fifth appearance of the God of Lightning, at it was entirely possible that the character and the particular comedic tone surrounding him would start to feel a little stale. Fortunately, we have Taika Waititi – a visionary comedic filmmaker perfectly at home playing in the MCU’s ever-expanding sandbox.
Wisconsin Film Festival Opening Night
New Zealand director Taika Waititi (pronounced Tie-Ka Why-tee-tee) has created a magnificently funny coming-of-age film in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Most known for the HBO series Flight of the Conchords and the mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, Waititi has also directed more standard narrative-based films like Boy and Eagle vs. Shark. Hunt for the Wilderpeople falls in this category, as it tells the story of an orphan named Ricky being introduced to a new foster family on the edge of the New Zealand bush.
Monster-mash together a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary on vampires and the comedic sensibilities of the Flight of the Concords crew and you get something like What We Do in the Shadows. Starring, written, and directed by Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, this film is capable of transitioning from deadpan hilarity to a genuinely creepy found-footage horror – and then back to ridiculous slapstick. So many films fail to establish a single tone, and somehow What We Do in the Shadows manages to nail them all.