Surfs Up

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner8/08/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Enjoyable, superbly animated comedy with likeable characters and an original approach to the story.

What's it all about?
Filmed in the style of a documentary (and thereby recalling Stacy Peralta's excellent Riding Giants), Surfs Up centres on young Rockhopper penguin Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) and his dreams of entering the Big Z Memorial Surf Off. When talent scout Mikey (Mario Cantone) arrives in Shiverpool, Antarctica looking for surfers, Cody seizes his chance, leaving behind his family and travelling to the island of Pen Gu for the competition.

Cody quickly befriends fellow competitor Chicken Joe (Jon Heder) and falls for cute lifeguard Lani (Zooey Deschanel), who in turn introduces him to washed-up former surfer Geek (Jeff Bridges). However, Cody also gets humiliated by Tank (Diedrich Bader), the bullying reigning champ and he'll need all the help he can get to regain his confidence.

The Good
The animation is gorgeous throughout, with superbly animated characters and beautifully rendered oceans that really bring the surfing scenes to life. In addition, the documentary style works extremely well, even though the format is temporarily dropped for the training sequences in the middle.

The voicework is extremely good - LaBeouf makes a likeable lead and there's terrific support from Zooey Deschanel and especially Jeff Bridges as Geek. And if you stick around till the end credits, you get to hear Jeff Bridges sing The Ukelele Song, which is a nice little bonus.

The Great
The script is extremely witty and contains several excellent gags, notably from three very young penguins who provide a commentary on the action, in scenes that recall Nick Park's Creature Comforts. The film should also be commended for pushing a winning isn't everything message, even if that means the finale isn't quite as dramatic as it could have been.

Worth seeing?
In short, Surfs Up is an inventive, brightly animated and frequently amusing comedy with likeable characters that will appeal to both adults and children.

Film Trailer

Surfs Up
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Content updated: 22/02/2020 19:54

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