Taika Waititi has an impressive and eclectic body of work. From vampires living a mundane life to assembling the largest group of superheroes, he has entertained audiences with his unique writing and filmmaking style. His latest offering, Jojo Rabbit, leans more on the controversial side with viewers divided as to whether or not it is a brilliant movie or a mockery of one of the worst tragedies in world history. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, there is no denying that Jojo Rabbit will endure in cinematic history. For those that loved it (or who have yet to see the Academy Award-winning film) you can now buy it on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.
Johannes "Jojo" Betzler (newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) is a ten-year-old boy living in Nazi Germany during World War II. He is excited to attend his first Hitler youth camp with his friend Yorkie (Archie Yates). He is ordered to kill a rabbit with a knife but instead tries to set it free and is mocked by the other kids. He then tries to redeem himself by throwing a grenade but it bounces off a tree, lands at his feet and explodes. He ends up with scars and a limp. He also has an imaginary friend in the form of a goofy Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi; Thor: Ragnorok).
One day when Jojo is alone he hears a noise in his deceased sister's room. As he investigates he discovers a trap door in the wall and finds that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson; Avengers: Endgame) has been hiding a young Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie; Leave No Trace) from being captured by the Nazi's. At first, Jojo wants to study her to create a book against Jews, as he believes every lie he has been told about them. However, they eventually grow close and become friends causing Jojo to realize what he thought was true really wasn't.
The younger cast members – Griffin Davis, Yates, and McKenzie – are excellent in their respective roles which makes them seem professionally trained well beyond their years. The adults consist of an all-star cast including Johansson, Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), Waititi, Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) and Stephen Merchant (Fighting with My Family) among others and all play their respective roles rather "tongue in cheek". Their acting sets the tone for the film that never abates.
The 4k UHD 2160p resolution is excellent with sharp details and various shades of color and darker tones. The video quality is clean with no artifacting. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is all-enveloping as ambient sounds assault you from every angle while the dialog is clear and upfront. The 4k disc doesn't offer any extras other than commentary by Taika Waititi. The Blu-ray has a few extras but those that are on the disc are informative and interesting. They include Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Inside Jojo Rabbit, and Theatrical Trailers. The combo pack also comes with Digital HD code.
There is no question that Waititi is talented and can make a quality product but I wish he wouldn't have chosen this subject matter. He makes Hitler come off as goofy and parody's the whole Nazi movement but I feel it diminishes the seriousness of what occurred. I also think it offers fodder to Holocaust deniers. I did like the fact that Jojo eventually realizes Elsa is none of the awful things he has been led to believe about the Jews but at what cost? I found the movie a mix between satire and sadness as Jojo experiences some traumatic moments while Waititi makes many of the Nazis look like imbeciles.
I have mixed feelings about Jojo Rabbit but there is no denying that Waititi is a gifted and artistic storyteller.