Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi
Release Date: February 18, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Acclaimed writer-director Taika Waititi brings his signature humor and pathos to JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic.
‘Jojo Rabbit’ tells the story of kindhearted and blindly dedicated young German boy and hopeful Nazi soldier Jojo (Davis) who with the help and encouragement of his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Waititi) wants nothing more than to be a faithful Nazi soldier and fight in the war. But when an accident during training causes him to be sidelined, he soon discovers that his loving mother (Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (McKenzie) in their attic. Dedicated to the Nazi cause due to his limited interaction and knowledge of the outside world, Jojo soon finds himself struggling with the decision of what to do with the knowledge of this crime occurring so close to home when his initial expectations of the girl and her people are contradicted by their interactions.
Directed by talented filmmaker Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) from his own screenplay which was based upon the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens respectively, Waititi does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Jojo Rabbit’ guiding along this offbeat tale with a fittingly tongue-in-cheek style that offers hilarity and a surprising amount of heart around each turn. The film also benefits a great deal from the talented individuals comprising the cast which includes Roman Griffin Davis (in his acting debut), Thomasin McKenzie (The Changeover), Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect), Sam Rockwell (Vice), Alfie Allen (TV’s Game of Thrones), Stephen Merchant (The Girl in the Spider’s Web) and Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Endgame) along with more, nearly all offering fitting and highly capable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a splendidly strange and hilariously offbeat comedy about one German boy’s experiences near the end of the Nazi reign that at times almost feels ripped from the pages of a comic strip as much as history. Always cleverly finding ways to approach the tale with a tongue-in-cheek style that’s boosted by its bright colors and stylish manner, consistently poking fun at Hitler and his forces while still managing to capture some crucial moments and more emotional scenarios with the heart and care they deserve. All the while doing a great job of showing how one young child with no outside knowledge of the world and its workings other than that of what the Nazi soldiers want him to believe can affect his choices and even life dreams and just how much this might alter a carefree and generally innocent mind in such a dangerous time and environment. Talented filmmaker Taika Waititi pulls multiple duties on the film, serving as director, screenwriter, producer and even actor and he seems to have no trouble at all juggling these various (and equally crucial) tasks, guiding along the fast paced fun, laughs and occasional tension with a perfect style and pace that never loses its footing, once again proving himself a true force to be reckoned with in the world of film and one whose career is definitely worth continuing to keep an eye on. I would passionately urge everyone to try and make a point of checking out ‘Jojo Rabbit’ at some point in the near future if you haven’t already had the pleasure. There’s a pretty great chance you’ll only find yourself pleasantly surprised with this hilarious and touching gem of a film.
Overall, ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a delightfully hilarious, endearing and offbeat comedic war drama from notable filmmaker Taika Waititi that you won’t want to even consider missing out on. ‘Jojo Rabbit’ earns my highest possible recommendation. It’s a truly marvelous film that miraculously manages to take a rather taboo subject in history and poke fun at it, crafting a brilliantly hilarious and moving little adventure that never hesitates to laugh at the concepts and material surrounding it, while never detracting from the powerful moments that really have something to say. It’s an amazing little masterpiece of a film that at the very least should be well worth your time and the price of a rental for those who may be understandably hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jojo Rabbit’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a brightly colored and richly detailed presentation from start to finish that doesn’t suffer any noticeable issues or problems throughout. It holds up beautifully even during the fast moving and darkly lit moments, never allowing anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Fox that looks beautiful every step of the way and should easily please the fans as well as first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a smooth, sharp and at times quite hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It continually embraces all five available channels in order to compliment some tense moments with appropriate ambience, while hitting full force during some of the more violent or war related sequences as it sends bullets and debris whipping throughout the various speakers, all while making certain that any dialogue or other audio activity that might be occurring simultaneously always remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a great 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that never disappoints and repeatedly compliments the onscreen activity throughout.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jojo Rabbit’ includes some solid extras that dive deeper into bringing the film to life. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director/Writer/Producer/Actor Taika Waititi’, in addition to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 9 minutes in length altogether) and some amusing ‘Outtakes’ (running approximately 3 minutes). We are also treated to the behind the scenes Featurette ‘Inside Jojo Rabbit’ (running approximately 30 minutes) which features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more. ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ (approximately 3 minutes combined) for the film are also included.