SURF'S UP | Movie Release, Showtimes & Trailer | Cinema Online
Movie Details

SURF'S UP

Based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins. In the film, a documentary crew will take audience behind the scenes and onto the waves during the most competitive, heartbreaking and dangerous display of surfing known to man, the Penguin World Surfing Championship.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: U
Release Date: 21 Jun 2007
Genre: Animation / Sports
Running Time: 1 Hour 26 Minutes
Distributor: SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL
Cast: Shia LaBeouf
Director:
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Cammy Zulkifli

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Watch this if you liked: "Happy Feet"

Surf's Up definitely knows how to tease and entice, but falls short of delivering its worth. To separate itself from the more outstanding penguin-starring animation flick Happy Feet, the writers derive a seemingly clever angle following the cult success of reality TV - a reality-based animation film.

The story - or in this case, camera - follows a dreamy yet zesty penguin named Cody Maverick (Shia LeBeouf) who dreams of nothing but to surf. After an encounter with the great surfer penguin Zeke a.k.a. 'Big Z' (Jeff Bridges) as a young chick, Cody made a promise to himself that he will become a great surfer just like his idol. Unfortunately, Big Z was defeated by the younger and more ruthless penguin Tank Evans (Diedrich Bader) and he was presumed to be dead, consumed by the very waves that made him a legend.

Years later, we voyeur into Cody's life as captured by the lens - from his home, his family and his job to the moment he 'tried' to audition for the Big Z Memorial Surfing Competition. As expected, he was unsuccessful but his determination landed him a spot. So off he goes to Pen Gu Island, home of the Big Z Memorial Surfing Competition as well as some of the most famous penguin surfers in the world, which includes Big Z. On the way, he befriends a dysfunctional surfer chicken called, well, Chicken Joe.

The good part is, everything was made to look as spontaneous as you can imagine, complete with all the little blunders - water splashing on the camera lens, boom microphone leaning into the frame every so often and even spot-lighting when the camera crew filmed in the dark.

On Pen Gu Island, Cody meets Lani (Zooey Deschanel), an island lifeguard who later rescues him from the waters after a disastrous showdown with the yet unbeaten surfing champion Tank Evans. On a few occasions, the camera crew films from underneath the water and the animated effects of the water and waves looked crisp, clear and just gorgeous. I love the fact that sometimes, they hid behind bushes or inconspicuous plants to film certain incidents to avoid being spotted, making us (the viewer) feel like we're really peeking in to the happenings.

Sadly, the best way to describe the storyline is 'been there, done that'. It is a very linear adventure spanning just 85 minutes which leaves very little repercussions for the audience. The 'reality TV' angle may be a too hard to follow by little kids who would actually go to watch it and the adults would be bored to concussions over the lack of substance. Even sadder is the fact that the characters are highly unmemorable. The funny one isn't really that funny and the bad guy is not really that bad either. And as animations often do, there's always a small 'moral to the story' served at the end. I was just hoping it was in the form of a roasted Chicken Joe.

After watching this one, I'd cringe if they make another animation flick starring penguins again.

Next, please!

Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
   
Showtimes
 
Classification
U - General viewing for all ages
P13 - Parental guidance is advisable for children below 13 years old
18 - For 18+ with elements for mature audiences
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