Rated PG; Directed by Ash Bannon and Chris Buck; Starring the voice talents of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods
Another penguin movie? What is wrong with Hollywood? Can’t they even try for originality? Oh wait…what’s this? Surf’s Up isn’t just some copycat movie about penguins? Surprise! This movie is clever. In fact, shall we bet that adults will enjoy the film more than the kiddies? I was laughing much louder, and at much more than the children in the audience.
Inspired at a young age by a legendary surfer, a penguin named Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) loves to hit the waves in the small town of Shiverpool, Antarctica. Cory finally gets a chance to compete in the big surfing contest. Along the way he meets a pretty lifeguard voiced by Zooey Deschanel, a friendly surfing chicken (Jon Heder), and a laid-back recluse (Jeff Bridges at his Lebowski best).
It looks like just another inexperienced newcomer with plenty of heart and gumption competing against the egotistical champion kind of movie, but Surf’s Up plays with the usual animated conventions. Though the plot uses penguins (face it, they are so fun to watch), the writers use a smart angle with the film: they make it a mockumentary. We even have the film crew involved in the action as the story is shown as a documentary in the making. Lots of stuff brings a smile to your face, and the story offers some great moments, plus the surfing scenes are joyous to watch.
Surf’s Up offers more than I assumed when walking into the theater. Though not perfect, a smart script, a clever concept, and okay animation makes Surf’s Up a movie worth watching – even if it is another penguin movie.