Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Surf’s Up”

(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2007. 1 Disc. Color. Widescreen. Rated PG. 85 minutes. Directed by Ash Brannon & Chris Buck.) Featuring the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader and Mario Cantone. Music by Mychael Danna.

Cody Maverick (LaBeouf), a young penguin from Antarctica, journeys to Hawaii to participate in the Big Z Memorial Surf Off. Along the way, he makes new friends and meets an old, washed-up surfer named Geek (Bridges) who teaches him a lot about surfing and life. This movie surprised me. I’ll grant you that the plot is nothing surprising, as it is an amalgamation of hackneyed sports movie tropes. What really caught me was the style and energy of the film. Created in the mockumentary mold, the movie feels loose and vibrant, especially in respect to the voice acting. The actors all recorded their dialogue together, with plenty of room for ad-libbing and riffing. It makes the characters seem much more real, even if they are animated penguins. While Heder’s Chicken Joe was high on my list, the erstwhile documentary crew gets a few choice lines. The visuals were gorgeous, with some amazing water effects. The humor was very broad, ranging from potty humor to documentary in-jokes in the style of Christopher Guest. Special features include director commentary, deleted scenes, a music video by Lauryn Hill, two forgettable ChubbChubb shorts, some cute games for the kids and featurettes about the voice recording sessions and CG techniques (really neat if you’re a nerd like me). An easy-going, and easy on the eyes, family film.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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