By now you have definitely heard of Taika Waititi, the acclaimed New Zealand film-maker and comedian. Whether it’s his films, his tweets or his awesome style of floral shirts, Waititi is one of the internet’s favourites.
In January 2020 his latest film Jojo Rabbit, adapted from the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, arrives in Cineworld. This blackly comic satire tells the story of the eponymous Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a young boy in the Hitler Youth who imagines notorious dictator Adolf Hitler (Waititi) as his imaginary friend.
Jojo Rabbit has won the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival, so there’s no better time to examine why the internet loves Taika Waititi…
He’s a true funny-man
Waititi is naturally funny, with a perfect sense of comedic timing. He’s toured New Zealand and Australia with various comedy shows and The Humourbeasts, alongside another New Zealand funny man, musician and actor Jemaine Clement (with whom he’s collaborated on several movies).
He’s a terrific actor
You’ve probably seen Waititi in a film without even knowing it’s him, either in a cameo or leading role.
In addition to his appearance as Hitler in Jojo Rabbit, Waititi has appeared in most of the other movies he’s directed. This includes the troubled father in Boy, the Minister in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), Viago in What We Do In The Shadows (2014) and Korg in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). The latter role he reprised in Avengers: Endgame (2019), and he made another comic book appearance in 2011’s Green Lantern.
He’s next set to appear in director James Gunn’s reboot of Suicide Squad, due for release in 2021.
He’s a phenomenal director
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie Thor: Ragnarok is Waititi’s highest-profile and most successful movie to date. However, don’t forget about his other gems.
If Rotten Tomatoes scores matter to you, then it’s worth noting that his films Boy (2010), What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the aforementioned Thor: Ragnarok are all rated higher than 87%, and his directorial debut Eagle vs Shark (2007) was still liked by many.
Not only are his films adored by critics, but they are a hit with film fans and people across the world. Waititi’s films are always incredibly funny and often touching, like Hunt for the Wilderpeople which follows "Uncle" Hec (fellow New Zealander Sam Neill) who is left in the wilderness with a broken ankle and his recently fostered kid Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison).
Like all of Waititi’s movies, it sneaks in a melancholy and moving message beneath the quirky exterior.
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He’s got a great sense of style
Don’t believe us? There’s even a Twitter account dedicated to Taika Waititi’s fashion choices. From bright colours and wacky prints, Waititi looks good in everything. The most iconic though, is the pineapple outfit, which even Korg sports in Avengers: Endgame.
Who’s your favourite MCU character? Iron Man? Captain America? Thor? That all changed with Thor: Ragnarok when the world met rock monster Korg, played by Waititi himself. With his Polynesian twang and hilarious one-liners, Korg quickly became a fan favourite.
He’s hilarious on Twitter
If you don’t follow Waititi on Twitter, do so immediately and he will brighten up your day. A classic example: sharing the close relationship between himself and the Thunder God, Chris Hemsworth.
His account often allows sneak peeks of his upcoming movies, too. He’s already got two other projects lined up including Next Goal Wins, an adaptation of a documentary for Disney, and after the success of Ragnarok, the fourth Thor film, Love and Thunder. This time, it’s Natalie Portman’s astrologist Jane who gets to lift hammer Mjolnir, a potential sign of increased diversity and representation within the MCU.
Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.