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Jojo Rabbit teaser reveals Taika Waititi's wacky WWII satire

Taika Waititi has just thrown the first punch in his war on hate.

The Thor: Ragnarok director — hot on the heels of a couple of super-sized announcements at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 — made another big splash on Twitter by releasing the first official look at his hotly anticipated feature Jojo Rabbit. And if that teaser is any indication, we're all in for one beast of a satirical treat with this one.

For those of you who haven't been tracking Waititi's latest satirical confection, Jojo Rabbit is set during WWII, and follows a young German boy (newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) struggling to fit in with his Hitler Youth counterparts. The boy's struggles deepen when he finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish woman named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home, a fact that leads the boy in search of answers to some very difficult questions (chiefly regarding blind, nationalistic hatred) with his imaginary pal Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself).

Yeah, that brief synopsis hardly makes Jojo Rabbit sound like the stuff of comedy gold. While there's little doubt Waititi has his work cut out for him in balancing the film's comedic and satirical elements against the heavy drama inherent in any Germany-set WWII film, there's also little doubt a "visionistical" filmmaker such as Waititi can make it work. It helps, of course, that he's adding the formidable talents of Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, and Stephen Merchant to keep things interesting. 

And "interesting" is just one of the words that'll come to mind while watching that Jojo Rabbit teaser. On first watch, the film looks to use the same blend of high style and razor-sharp wit that's helped make Waititi — on the strength of films like What We Do In The ShadowsHunt for the Wilderpeople, and, of course, his franchise-saving MCU film Thor: Ragnarok — one of the most in demand filmmakers around of late. While Jojo Rabbit certainly appears to have its sights set on making you laugh out loud as often as those prior films did, it also appears Waititi has every intention of making some of those laughs more than a little bit uncomfortable. His first appearance as Hitler near the end of the teaser in particular is certain to make many folks cringe and giggle in equal measure. Needless to say, we're here for whatever side of the comedic or dramatic coin the gifted director chooses to play in his new film.

If Waititi's return to the director's chair (with a killer cast of A-list talent to boot) wasn't enough reason to get excited doubt the film, Jojo Rabbit will also feature the first on-screen appearance of Waititi's fellow country-mate Thomasin McKenzie since her breakout turn in last year's pitch-perfect social drama Leave No Trace. Many felt McKenzie's work in that film was the revelatory sort that should've earned her every Supporting Actress statue around last year, so it's nice to see the young star getting some face time in a higher-profile project, and we cannot wait to see what she brings to the Jojo Rabbit mix.

As for Waititi, well, the perpetually left-of-center writer-slash-director-slash-actor has been on the sort of roll over the past decade that would breed envy from any filmmaker on the planet. While we're anxiously waiting to see what the Kiwi auteur brings to big-time projects like The Mandalorian Star Wars series — and the oh-so brilliantly titled Thor: Love and Thunder – Jojo Rabbit looks like a tasty enough treat to tide us all over until those projects grace screens.

Luckily, we're not going to have to wait too long to find out what Waititi has in store with Jojo Rabbit. The film is scheduled to play at this year's Toronto International Film Festival in September before seeing wide release stateside on October 18. 

Here's hoping Jojo Rabbit can continue Waititi's recent run of big screen success — or, at the very least, encourage a few more people to start fighting back against the current wave of nationalistic fervor on the rise around the world, 'cause it's the same sort of fervor that led to Hitler's monstrous rise to begin with. (Too real?)