Describe at least one memorable character or individual in the text. Explain why this character or individual was memorable.
Our past should not define who we are. Taika Waititi’s film ‘Hunt for the wilderpeople’ expresses this idea through the impacting story of an orphan urban boy Ricky Baker that is passed into a new family outside of the city and near the bush. Ricky Baker becomes wanted by all of New Zealand as he runs away with his foster uncle Hector, away from society itself. Ricky Baker is a memorable individual in the film because of his changes from a troubled boy into a loving one through the use of multiple film techniques Waititi utilizes.
The film begins when Ricky is introduced into his new home; with his new Aunty Bella and Uncle Hector, or Hec. We can understand from the beginning of the film that Ricky has had a rough past. We can see this when Paula Hall, the child welfare services woman which escorts Ricky into his new home, explains to Aunt Bella that Ricky is a very bad child. This is evident through the use of montage when describing “Ricky Town”. We can see in this montage that Ricky breaks the law a lot of the time, but we can also understand through the montage that Ricky is all alone, even when it comes into vandalizing, stealing and just having free time. This helps emphasize Ricky’s feelings towards entering a new foster home- that he sees it as just another time period until he is passed on and unloved once again by society itself. Ricky despises the feeling of love and family and we can understand this through Ricky Town and his isolation from family and friends- both which give a sense of belonging in society. The film continues to show how Ricky’s past is a troubled one, showing how Ricky begins to put a little faith and love into his new family but is swiftly taken away when Aunt Bella dies. Ricky is shocked and unhappy from this, and decides to run into the bush, a large forest near the farm he was living in. Ricky becomes lost in the forest, but is found by Hector who also decides to run away from society and it’s realities. Hec breaks his foot in the bush due to unforeseen circumstances and is forced to be cared and helped by Ricky. They camp out in the bush at night, where Ricky and Hec get to talk on a deeper level for the first time in the film. Ricky asks Hector if he misses Bella, to which Hector brushes the question off. Through the use of Low Key Lighting, Ricky tells Hec how “You gotta do that when sad things happen, process it”. The technique and quote both compliment the idea that Ricky is used to the feeling of loneliness, even more than Hec- who is apparent to be old. This helps the audience understand that Ricky is mentally and emotionally more experienced than Hector, and that he understands how abandonment can feel. The Low Key Lighting in this shot acts also as a use of symbolism, as light flickers onto Ricky’s face from the campfire as he is surrounded by darkness. The darkness portrays Ricky as someone who is constantly surrounded by darkness- through his past and during the present. The director uses this to depict Ricky as experienced with darkness and loneliness- giving comfort to Hec who neglects the question whether he misses Bella. These techniques helps portray the idea that Ricky is well experienced with the feeling of isolation and a lack of love. The film techniques and quotes illustrate why Ricky is a memorable character- as we can clearly see in the beginning of the film that Ricky shows no embrace to the idea of family- as opposed to the ending of the film, where he fully shows love towards family itself. Ricky Baker is a memorable character because he shows large evident change throughout the film. We can see this in our society today, how those who are faced with a lack of love and abandonment tend to resort to violent and unwise actions-yet they comprehend the idea and choose to help others who face similar experiences. Our society does not understand the deeper meaning of those with dark actions, that they may have a story which defines their actions as a whole. The film techniques and quotes helps the audience understand the memorable character of Ricky Baker, and how his changes in the film make him such a memorable individual.
As the film progresses, we can see that Ricky learns to overcome his past and to love the idea of family. Ricky and Hec at this point are outlaws to society itself. We begin to see the changes the director makes on Ricky to display his memorable character to the audience. After Hector and Ricky assault a group of hunters, Hector tells Ricky to go back into society and find a new foster home. Ricky begs Hector to stay with him, and through the director’s use of Over the Shoulder Shot, we hear Ricky shout how he cannot go back to any more foster homes, and juvenile prison is all that is left for him. Ricky tells Hector how “They don’t care about kids like me, they just keep moving us around until something happens”. The over the shoulder shot used, as well as the dialogue, portrays how Hector, the grouchy illiterate and hateful man, comes to understand that Ricky’s fate is just like his. Hector dislikes Ricky because of his urban attitude, comes to relate with a 13 year old boy as they are both going to prison if they return back into society. Hector learns that Ricky is not at all how he first characterized him, and begins to show some sort of appreciation towards him. This also shows that Ricky is beginning to appreciate Hector as a part of family, and that he does not want to abandon Hec at all since he understands who he is to some extent. We can see the idea that Ricky is beginning to embrace family when Hector and Ricky split up in the bush, and Ricky is caught by Paula Hall. Paula tries to bribe Ricky with food in order to sell out Hector and let him take the blame for it all, to which Ricky strongly shouts “You don’t trade family for nothing!”, along with a close up shot of Ricky saying this. Waititi uses these techniques and dialogue in this scene to show that Ricky is beginning to show a sense of pride in his new family, and that he appreciates what Hector has done for him- help him find himself and teach him how to survive an alien environment. The director shows us that Ricky’s past has not defined him for who he is- and that the sense of family has change him into a memorable character for the audience. The film, which is meant to be a comedic one, brings attention to the cruel and harsh realities in our world, and how it can affect anyone of age. In our society, we can see how Ricky’s actions makes the audience understand that love and family is something you cannot trade. Materialistic people can buy all of the things they want, but we cannot buy love, affection and a sense of family. Our society does not understand that even children can face the hard reality of life.Taika Waititi makes the audience understand the memorable character of Ricky, and how his changes define him for who he becomes.
The film continues to show the memorable character of Ricky as the film begins to layer itself. The director uses multiple film techniques to also describe how Ricky has learnt to embrace the idea of family itself. Ricky and Hector are caught finally at the end of the film, and Ricky and Hector is put into court. We can see through the use of framing that Ricky has found acceptance in who he is when he is surrounded by people he loves and accepts- Kahu and her father. Within the framing, we can see Kahu and her father standing in the doorway of the room which surrounds Ricky, and Ricky is happy. This shows us the changes Ricky has taken in order to find his happiness in life. Ricky is happy because of his feeling of being loved in a family- and acceptance for who he is. The technique shows that Ricky has changed throughout the film, and this is evident when we contrast his emotions and perspective on family in the beginning of the film to how he reacts to family at the end. We can understand as an audience that the writer has used these techniques to show evident change in Ricky’s character- which makes Ricky memorable because of this. We can see the idea of family bringing happiness in our society today. A child’s basic instincts is to have faith and love towards their parents, giving them happiness whenever they see them. But when those who lack a family to live with, we can note how it can affect their future as a whole- changing attitude, motives, and their perspective in life. Taika Waititi brings spotlight onto the idea that family is what truly brings the love and affection out of us. Ricky Baker shows us these attitudes at the end of the film as he learns to find happiness in surrounding himself in family. This makes Ricky Baker a memorable character through his changes throughout the film.
Our past is nothing but a stepping stone into the future. Taika Waititi’s film Hunt for the
Wilderpeople summarizes Ricky Baker as a memorable character which shows extreme changes in attitude and perspective on life through the use of multiple film techniques and dialogue. Ricky Baker’s memorable changes as an individual makes the audience think about the fundamentals of finding value in family as a whole.