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on August 7, 2007
If you still have a bad taste in your mouth from Happy Feet, which to me was somewhat creepy and not very entertaining, then take a swig of the minty freshness of Surf's Up. This is not so much a penguin movie than a knarly surfing gig. Animated in documentary style, the directors keep the basic, feel good about yourself story line, fresh with graphics that are extremely eye popping. Real life emotions are plainly shown and understood in the facial expressions and body language of each character.

Cody 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. You will see. Shia Labeouf the voice of Cody is an exceptional find. As Steven Speilberg seems to understand since he will be in 2 of his movies that are coming out. And Jeff Bridges as Geek...Well what can you say. GREAT.
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VINE VOICEon November 3, 2007
'Surf's Up' is one of the best animated films I have ever seen or at least in the CGI era of animation. The Mockumentary style and incredible animation keep the story fresh, funny and amazing to look at! Even if your not a fan of animated films, this one may change your mind. The film also has a hip and appropriate soundtrack. The DVD transfer is excellent and this is a must see movie!.....Cowabunga!
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on August 15, 2007
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 coattails, it creates its own beautiful world and really stays strong throughout the (sadly short) film.

I was struck with how beautiful the scenery was, 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.

I watched Surf's Up three times while it was in the theaters, and I can't wait to own the DVD. Don't listen to yourself if you think it's just another penguin movie, it isn't.

Beautiful, beautiful movie, as Cody says "You'll wanna watch it over and over!"
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on October 29, 2007
I've watched this movie at least a dozen times already, in English as well as in Spanish and French. The foreign language voice-over work is excellent, and these scenes are funny no matter what language you see it in! In the DVD extras, the film-makers talk about what a major role improv played in the making of the movie, and it really shows. All the actors have a very comfortable dynamic with each other, and the sense of friendship and camraderie feels genuine. The sledding through the mountain scene was a little too reminiscent of Ice Age for me, but I guess it's probably a fun concept for animators to work with (and show off their skills). The documentary concept was clever and well executed, and I thought Chicken Joe was hilarious as well as Cody's mother. (And who doesn't love Shia LaBeouf & Jeff Bridges?) The surf scenes are just fantastic and the characters are surprisingly well developed. Every time I watch it, I catch more nuances on each character. Last but not least, the killer soundtrack contributes to making this movie one of my favoritest animated films of all time (tied for first with Finding Nemo).
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on October 10, 2007
This was more thoughtful and appealing than I ever expected. And the colors and animation were gorgeous, especially in 3-D. TV Eyes 3-D Glasses: Watch any movie in 3-D Everything was more vivid and impressive. Penguins on a tropical island should have been ridiculous, but it wasn't. It was a very lovable, heartwarming story. The settings and background were very lush and detailed and the ocean scenes, sunsets and waves were all rendered fantastically well. There's one scene at the end where the young penguin finally gets to go "in the tube" that mystical experience that all surfers long for where you are actually inside the wave, with the water rising up as a wall beside you and arching over your head, completely encasing you in an enchanting microcosm of water and light. And this looked great in 3-D! It really enhanced it. I saw the movie first in 3-D then went back and watched it regular to compare. There was no comparison, the scene and the visuals are much more powerful in 3-D. At least to me.

This is really a coming of age story. The usual "young man finding his own path and strength" type movie. It's done so well you don't even notice they're penguins half the time. But there's also loads of laughs. Chicken Joe is worth seeing this movie for all by himself. He's your typical, mellow, surfer dude. Even down to the slouch and the language. But unlike most TV "dudes" he's not at all irritating. In fact, he's wonderfully funny. He's so calm and unruffled that he even takes being kidnapped by cannibals in stride. (And rememeber, he "tastes like chicken") But he's a great friend, and his adventures alone in the jungle are hysterical.

The one group of people who also contribute greatly to this movie, are one's you never see, the camera crew. They follow Cody and Chicken Joe around all over the place "filming" for posterity. And they come in for their own portion of abuse in the antics they are observing. Even the cameraman is not immune to cannibals. And a lot of their "off camera" comments are totally funny.

This was a good hearted, thoughtful, feel good movie, mixed in with lots of pratfalls, goofy takes and unlikely adventures that keep it fun for the kids and the young at heart. The scenery is beautiful, the characters are diverse (they're not all penguins) and the surf culture background is well researched, even down to giving some of the penguins Hawaiian tattoos.

It's those kind of details that make it great. Definitely worth a watch. (Warning! You may never get your younger kids to STOP watching it.) And definitely see it in 3-D, it adds a lot. This is not just another Happy Feet (another great movie that you should also see in 3-D, very cool.) The two movies are far apart in tone, but should definitely sit side by side on your shelf. Great fun!
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on November 2, 2007
From beginning to end, this animation is captivating, the soundtrack totally invigorating, and it even incorporates a life lesson to boot in the valuing friendship over winning. Great for my 4 year old who can't get enough of this story. IF you're looking for a simple and well told story that incorporates humor for all ages then this movie does not dissapoint. Of course if you can't appreciate or get any of the humor then look for and stick with something more along the lines of Powerrangers.
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on August 15, 2007
I stack this next to Nemo. Granted, I like other "films" like Cars, Toy Story and Incredibles, However....

Surf's up took me and my three children (7,5,3) by surprise. I personally hated happy feet. Not sure what all the hype was about with that one. A big name cast and a lot of marketing was all that one had.

This is fresh and completely captured my dream of what surfing and the whole idea of being free is all about.

Also recommend "Step into Liquid". Bought that DVD (actual surfing documentary) after seeing this one because some day (Lord willing) we will be taking the kids to Hawaii or some exotic local... And all of us will learn how to surf.
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on July 15, 2007
Anyone who has watched ESPN sports commentaries/specials will find that SURF'S UP has copied their format and taken it over the top in yet another installment with the beloved penguins. This film is delightful fun and pure entertainment, but the style in which it is done is new to the "penguin genre" and totally works. The characters and characterizations are endearing and extremely clever.

Cody Maverick (Shia LeBoeuf) is a teenage surfer whose hero,champion surfer Big Z (Jeff Bridges), has been gone for ten years. Cody longs to be like Z and leaves the Antarctic for warmer clime in order to surf in the Big Z Memorial Surf Championship covered by the SPEN network. On his journey he encounters surfer-dude Chicken Joe (Jon Heder-who else) who is also on his way to the surf-off.The two arrive to discover that the reigning champ, Tank Evans is currently looking to win this Memorial again. I must say that for a villain character, Tank is absolutely one of the cutest and most cleverly fleshed-out animated penguins to date.You will hate to love him!

The rest is up to you. The film is very formulaic and adults and children will be delighted. Some of the humor is rather adult, so parents may need to do some explaining.There are good lessons taught without being heavy-handed or preachy.

The soundtrack by Mychael Danna (WATER,THE SWEET HEREAFTER) is outstanding in both the instrumental and vocal numbers.

The film is striking for it's vivid colors. Visually it is very lush and rich... and best of all I smiled and laughed for 90 minutes!

Excellent companion films would be MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, HAPPY FEET and BLUE CRUSH.
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on November 15, 2010
Many praises have been written lauding this visually gorgeous, funny, original and charming movie, and I heartily support all of them. So it's with sadness and disappointment that I insert one criticism for the benefit of parents, hopefully a movie producer or two, and those whose sensitivities may be similar to my own: and that is, I wish there was a movie maker possessed of the courage to break that unwritten law which dictates, All Movies Must Contain SOMETHING Foul.

This film treats our visual and audio senses to a delightful, even exhilarating experience, then abruptly insults our finer sensibilities with several instances of bathroom humor. It's out of sync with the spectacular visual beauty, the marvelous characters, humor, and compelling plot. My feeling is the same as if a vandal smeared feces on a Michelangelo painting: Why would anyone do that to something so beautiful?

It's the only reason I didn't give the film five stars.
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on August 18, 2007
For an animated film, "Surf's Up" presents a unique perspective in storytelling as it focuses on a "behind the scenes" documentary on the life of a young surfer penguin named Cody Maverick (voiced by Transformers' star Shia LaBeouf). The film features several themes such as the concepts of having fun; patience; friendship; selflessness; and sadly depression as well. However, this animated sports comedy is certainly one for the entire family as each member leaves the cinema with their own interpretation of the film.

Some things to watch out for: The different colors of the eccentric Tank "The Shredder" Evans' eyes; Surf's Up's classic soundtrack; and surfing promoter, Reggie Belafonte's (voiced by James Woods) Don King hairstyle.
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