'Surf's Up' [Blu-Ray]
(Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, et al / DVD / PG / 2007 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: A stylistically daring CGI feature, "Surf's Up" is based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins. In the film, a documentary crew will take audiences 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.
DVD Verdict: When trailers for this movie were being shown in theaters, I groaned and felt that this would be a film riding on the success of the fantastic 'Happy Feet' film. I was sure that it wouldn't stand on it's own, that it had no soul to it, it was just going to be fluff.
And I was proven wrong, and I'm glad for that! 'Surf's Up' really makes itself stand on it's own, it truly is an individual in the penguin movie crowd. It doesn't NEED to ride on 'Happy Feet's coat tails, it creates its own beautiful world and really stays strong throughout the (sadly short) film.
I was struck with how beautiful the scenery was (especially here on this High Def 1080p with Uncompressed Audio Blu-Ray disc!), and how alive every character was. It's completely fantastic how real and believable everyone is, and that is thanks to the documentary style, without a doubt. The documentary style is a true asset to this film's heart and soul. You're not just watching events unfold, you feel like this actually happened, the filming, the location, the Pen Gu contest, that they're living and breathing. It's really impressive.
Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf, 'Holes') wants to 'get away' and takes his chance in a surfing contest at a beautfiul rendered island scene that gets more WOWs from me then such films that go for reality. Polar Express comes to mind. This movie hits every mark that I can think of. Children and adults will enjoy this. I am 41 and when Cody is making his board with the father figure Geek, I turn back into child working with my father's help building ANYTHING.
Trust me here and you will see (and feel) what I am talking about. Shia Labeouf, the voice of Cody, is an exceptional find. As Steven Speilberg seems to understand since he will be in two of his movies that are upcoming. And Jeff Bridges as Geek?! Well, what can you say but this is what classy casting is all about!
Anyway, I've now watched my Blu-Ray 'Surf's Up' DVD three times and could watch it hundred times more! Don't listen to yourself (or others) if you think it's just another penguin movie, it isn't. It's a beautiful, beautiful movie, and as Cody says "You'll wanna watch it over and over!" This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
All New "The Chubbchubbs Save Xmas" Animated Short
Surf's Up Pinball Game
Lost Scenes with Optional Filmmaker Intros
"Lose Myself" Music Video By Ms. Lauryn Hill
Meet The Penguins with Mario Cantone
All Together Now: The Surf's Up Voice Sessions
Not A Drop Of Real Water - 3 Featurettes
Visual Effects Commentary
The Chubbchubbs (202 Academy Award Winner, Short Animated Film)