The Penguin World
Surfing Championship is here and nine times winner Tank Evans (Bader) is
about to be challenged by newcomer Cody Maverick (LaBeouf). With no holds
barred access to the event and the contestants, this documentary reveals
the rivalries, the passion, the drive and the influence of the greatest
big wave surfer of all time, Big Z (Bridges). Who will win?
Animals have been
the stars of many an animated movie but never has we had an animated documentary.
Taking the approach
of an extreme sports documentary like 'Riding Giants', 'Billabong Odyssey'
or 'Dogtown and Z Boys', this new movie from Sony Animation is a breath
of fresh air and one that is destined to become a firm favourite not just
with family audiences but surfers alike.
Here we have Cody
Maverick and rest of the contestants of the Penguin World Surfing Championship
talking to camera and revealing their feeling about the contest, their dreams
and for Chicken Joe, his inner most thoughts and Zen wisdom. The surfing
scenes are also constructed the same way, with cameras at the end of the
board and in the water to capture the stars taking a wave. This sports documentary
approach gives the movie a unique approach and one that makes the film intentionally
funny and a great deal of fun.
It is the characters
that make or break an animated feature and the great news is that Surf's
up has some great ones, thanks to some fantastic vocal performances. Currently
taking Hollywood by storm, Shia LaBeouf is up and coming surfer Cody Maverick
who desperately wants to win the contest. LaBeouf attitude and persona come
across to make an excellent leading character that is an awe of the competition
and fame, at the determent of his enjoy of surfing. If you wanted to cast
someone who is extremely cool, almost dude-like then there is only one man
you would go to to provide the voice of Big Z, the penguin who mastered
big wave surfing and became a legend and that man is Jeff Bridges. The Dude
himself makes Big Z exactly what you would want from a surfing legend, bringing
comedy, tragedy and a sense of awe to a penguin that personifies surfing.
John Heder was also the obvious choice to play laidback, hippy surfer Chicken
Joe and he makes the character the comedic funny-fowl of the film. With
all of the best one-liners and cool outlook on surfing, this is the character
that everyone will love, as he steals every scene he is in.
computer generated animation and characters that are destined to become
much loved by fans, 'Surf's Up' is very quickly going to become a firm family
favourite but also with surfers as well. While the documentary approach
might not be the best way to bring in younger viewers because most of the
jokes and humour will be lost on them, slightly older kids and adults alike
will adore the characters, the setting and the unique approach of the movie.
Now where is my surfboard?
Presented in Widescreen
1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good
as you'd expect from a animated movie.
Directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck and producer Chris Jenkins provide
a fun and chatty commentary for 'Surf's Up'. They reveal why they chose
to make it a documentary and what they based it on. They also talk about
the characters and the vocal talent, as well as how they created the surfing
shots. This is a good track from three people who passionately adore the
Entitled 'Doris and Sheila', 'Pen-gu: Island of Adventure', 'Z for Zurfing',
'Doris and Shelia: Behind the Scenes', these deleted scenes have optional
introduction directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck and producer Chris Jenkins
Learn surfing lingo from youngster Arnold and you will be calling everyone
'Dude' and 'Bro' by the end. The Secret Spot Play interactive games entitled
'Make your own surfboard with Big Z and Cody', 'Whale hopping with Chicken
Joe', 'Lava surf game' and 'Let's find Cody'
The visual effects team take you through how they made the waves, the archive
footage, wave particles, lighting and splashes.
View images of the characters and locations from 'Surf's Up'
The Chubb Chubbs
Watch the Academy Award winning animated short 'The Chubb Chubbs' and the
brand new original short 'The Chubb Chubbs save Xmas'. These are extremely
well animated and very funny, making them a joy to watch.
Previews of 'Monster House', 'Open Season' and 'Daddy Day Camp'
The DVD treatment
for 'Surf's Up' is one that fans should enjoy. The commentary track is very
good and the inclusion of the two 'Chubb Chubbs' shorts is excellent. The
rest is standard fair but there is a lot to enjoy here and one should become
a firm family favourite.
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