Directors: Taika Waititi

BIOGRAPHY (from Wikipedia)

Taika David Cohen, known professionally as Taika Waititi, is a New Zealand filmmaker and actor. He was born in Raukokore in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand’s North Island. His father was a Māori farmer and artist of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, whilst his mother is a schoolteacher of European descent. Waititi’s maternal grandfather is of Russian Jewish heritage and he describes himself as a “Polynesian Jew”.

He studied theatre at Victoria University of Wellington and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997. He originally used his mother’s surname, Cohen, for his work in film and writing, while his father’s surname, Waititi, was used for his visual arts endeavours. He has used the name Waititi professionally following the success of his first short film.

Among a variety of artistic interests, Waititi began making comical short films for New Zealand’s annual 48-hour film contest. In 2005 his short film Two Cars, One Night earned him an Academy Award nomination. At the awards ceremony, he famously feigned falling asleep as the nominations were being read out.

His feature films Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople have each been the top-grossing New Zealand film, with the latter still holding that title as of April 2020. Waititi’s most recent directing credits include the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Ragnarok and the satirical black comedy Jojo Rabbit, the latter of which he also wrote and starred in as Adolf Hitler. Jojo Rabbit earned critical praise, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Waititi has also worked in Television and has directed episodes of Flight of the Conchords, The Inbetweeners and What We Do in the Shadows. He directed the final episode of the first season of the Star Wars live-action series The Mandalorian, and also voiced the bounty hunter droid IG-11 in the series. In May 2020, Lucasfilm announced that Waititi had been hired to direct a Star Wars film from a script he is co-writing with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

 


DIRECTOGRAPHY

2007 – Eagle vs Shark

2010 – Boy

2014 – What We Do in the Shadows (Co-directed with Jemaine Clement)

2016 – Hunt for the Wilderpeople

2017 – Thor: Ragnarok

2019 – Jojo Rabbit  

2020 – Next Goal Wins


PosterMovieYearCommentsRatingReviewer
Eagle vs Shark 2007 Another quirky New Zealand comedy that is possibly a little too twee to be up there with the best the country has produced. 3 Gordon
Boy 2010 Trademark antipodean quirk, but the story of an eleven year old poor kid and the hero-worshipping of his waster father is a little to staid. Stay to the end though, for an amusing Michael Jackson inspired dance scene! 3 Gordon
What We Do In The Shadows 2013 Witty, inventive, gory and sometimes downright absurd, this is without doubt the greatest vampire mockumentary of all time. It may also be the only one, but that doesn't stop it being great entertainment. 3.5 Mat
Hunt for the Wilderpeople 2016 Sam Neill’s best performance since Jurassic park and full of the kind of wacky humour that only the Ozzies and the Nozzies can make. 4.5 Gordon
Hunt for the Wilderpeople 2016 Outrageously funny, irreverent but also touching, with fantastic scenery and a great soundtrack, it is an absolute joy to watch the constantly-evolving relationship between the two main characters. A wonderful film that is probably Waititi's best to date. 4 Mat
Thor: Ragnarok 2017 As is the current trend with Marvel movies, Ragnarok dials the comedy up to 11 and delivers shallow but crowd pleasing entertainment. Twice the jokes and half the plot of either of the other Thor films. 2.5 Gordon
Thor: Ragnarok 2017 Overdone comedy tries to paper over the cracks of the flimsy story and largely fails, but it does get better in the second half. Once again Hemsworth and Hiddlestone are left carrying the film, which otherwise features some awful characters. 3 Mat
Jojo Rabbit 2019 Whilst not up with his best films (like Hunt for the Wilderpeople), this satire of a very touchy subject is touching and often funny. 3.5 Gordon
JoJo Rabbit 2019 Making light of the Nazi oppression of the Jews might be offensive to some viewers, but amidst the absurd comedy Waititi has crafted a touching story whilst also giving the most entertaining performance of Adolf Hitler in movie history. 3.5 Mat

The Verdict

  • Eagle vs Shark
  • Boy
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Jojo Rabbit
3.3

Summary

With the exception of Thor: Ragnarok, his first foray into blockbuster territory, the MovieMuse team has thus far been impressed with Waititi’s ability to blend quirky Kiwi-infused humour with interesting characters that often go on a touching emotional journey. With his first Academy Award in the bag, it is fair to expect even greater things from this unique director and we can scarcely begin to imagine what bizarre twists he might bring to the Star Wars franchise in a few years time.
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DIRECTORS LEAGUE

This page will be updated as we watch more Taika Waititi films and therefore his overall rating will change over time. You can see where Taika sits in the Directors League here.

 

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