Surf’s Up
Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Lani Aliikai, Jon Heder, James Woods, Reggie Belafonte, Diedrich Bader
Directors: Ash Brannon & Chris Buck
Sony Pictures

A behind-the-scenes look at the annual Penguin World Surfing Championship, and its newest participant, up-and-comer Cody Maverick.
Yes another penguin movie.

Surf’s Up is the latest in a long line of children’s movies where the artists employ computers and graphics programs to achieve the effects they are looking for. The fact that classic animation is practically non-existent on the silver screen is a loss but the 3D world of animation has so much going for it that it can sometimes be difficult to remember that animated movies weren’t always so polished. Surf’s Up is exactly the kind of seamless artistry that has become virtually commonplace since Toy Story appeared on the big screen.

Cody Maverick lives in Antarctica with his flock of penguins and he works in the fish business. In his spare time Cody surfs on surfboards made of ice trying to emulate his surfing idol Big Z (zee). The start of the story and periods during the story are told from the point of view of a documentary about Cody Maverick but this story thread is at best intermittent and when it does appear it is largely for comedic effect. Surfs Up is your standard story about a guy who is following his dream in the face of overwhelming odds and with no family support. What makes underdog stories popular is the simple idea that anyone can succeed if they have the tenacity and dedication to follow their dream. Surfs Up follows in the classic Horatio Alger mode of the little guy who makes good through sheer force of will.

There is much to recommend Surfs Up as both a kids movie and a family movie. It is a pleasant enough diversion with some good site gags and enough jokes aimed at the parents in the audience to make it worth while seeing. The kids will love it just because it is a cool story about the little guy who could – besides penguins are cute. This really is a summer must see for the little ones.


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