Friday, September 21, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Surf's Up

I caught this on Cartoon Network a while back, and was pleasantly suprised. It was marked when it first came out as yet another “penguin movie”, although it kinda made fun of the fact that there was already about 2 or 3 other movies with nature’s most perfect waterfowls in it. Hell, it was a step up from Pebble & The Penguin! This was created by Sony Pictures Animation who later did Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and you can see how their direction improved from this movie.

The movie is done like a documentary for an unknown network for animals(kinda like Animalympics)that is covering a surfing contest named after the dead surfing penguin, Big Z. Cody Maverick is a short but determined surfer from Antarctica who is major fan of Big Z, and makes his way into the contest, which takes place on the tropical island of Pen Gu. He makes friends with fellow surfer, a chicken from Wisconsin named Joe, plus the cute penguin lifeguard Lani. Cody’s main competition is Tank, the champion of the last few years, and the one who defeated Z in his final surf. Cody ends up loosing in a challenge to Tank, and Lani takes him to a hermit, who Cody figures out is really Z. He faked his own death in his last match because he felt threatened by Tank, and was tired of all the fame that came with being a big surfer. Z tries to get Cody to get his confidence back by helping him to make a new board. With a little cohersion from Lani, Cody gets his groove back, and re-enters the contest. He, Tank, and Joe are the finalists, but Cody sacrifices his chance to win by stopping Tank from knocking out Joe, so Joe ends up winning. Z has to save Cody from some reefs, in so revealing himself to the masses. However, Z convinces the other surfers to do surfing just for fun, so Cody and the other have a big party at the end of the movie.

I’d say that this was an enjoyable send up of surfer movies, without it pulling in alot of tropes and stereotypes. The voice acting was a seller too, with Shia LaBeouf almost paroding himself as Cody, Jon Heder(Napoleon Dynamite)is great at the clueless Joe, and Jeff Bridges(“The Dude”)is awesome as Z. The animation is pretty impressive too, matching the positive surfing scenes with the funny animal motifs. Surf’s Up is a decent movie for animation fans, and worth showing the kids for a good time.

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