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Johnny Tsunami
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Johnny Tsunami (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I admit it, it was good

Author: Slick-53 from Baton Rouge, La.
16 August 1999

The only Disney Channel original movie i ever enjoyed was "Brink!" the rest i thought were dumb. When I watched "JOhnny Tsunami" I got hooked! I thought it was sooooooo good. It's about a laid back, slang talking 13-year old Hawaiian surfer named Johnny Kapphala. When his uptight father gets transferred to Vermont, Johnny has to make quick adaptions. Johnny has to go to a preppy school where he only considers one student his friend which is Emily(Kirsten Storms-Zenon Girl of the 21st Century) who's father is the headmaster. After skiing with the preps Johnny meets Sam, a laid back snow boarder. Johnny learns that preps ski and public schoolers board. Inspite of the differences Johnny is the first prep to turn urchin. Now his fellow schoolmates consider him a traitor. And he is challenged to a race w/ Brett, the main prep. I truly adore this movie.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good Fun

Author: Chris Winston from Fairbanks, U.S. Territory of Alaska
21 May 2002

Over the past few years, straight up through right now, the Disney Channel has been making several movies every year, exclusives for their channel (and later to also be found in the kid's section at the video rental place.) That's all well and good if you wanna just put out product and give people jobs without much regard for superior quality. Every now and then a little of that Disney magic happens and one of their Made-for-TV movies is really good and not just for kids but something an adult will thoroughly enjoy, also. I'm not talkin' Mary Poppins good but something's that's certainly much more of pleasure to watch than a waste of time. I was kind of skeptical about this, thought it would be run of the mill but it definitely was not. This one hit the mark, at least for me. The story was nothing unique - kid's gotta prove himself somewhere new plus one of the characters realizes he's got to change to become a better person. To get these out of the way first, things that could have been better - the relationships between young Johnny & his mom and between him & his dad could have been explored a little more... but then again, it was only a 96 minute movie, a little less `dorkiness' from some of the `Skys' and the Utah locations trying to double for Vermont didn't work to someone who knows the difference: Utah = big mountains, Vermont = smaller plus the subtle differences in architecture. Oh well, I didn't say the movie was perfect. However, those things were very minor and putting them aside, this movie's got some very good acting and great relationships portrayed, in particular between young Johnny & his grandfather Johnny the Surfer King. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa played his part just about perfectly, such an affable character as there ever was, really one of the best characters I've ever seen in a movie. I would surely watch this again someday and then yet again someday after that and hopefully find it just as good. Not the best Disney production but very far from the worst. My grade for this: I can't decide between B+ and A- so I'll just leave it at that.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Good

Author: Jarek-6
1 August 1999

I never expected to enjoy this movie, but trust it was really good. The movie's your classic teen trying to fit in story. Johnny, a Hawaiian surfer moves to Vermont. He doesn't fit in with his preppy peers at his school, so he makes friends with kids from a rival school. His peers consider him a traitor, and soon they get him in trouble with his principal and his parents. Guided by his grandfather's wisdom, Johnny finds a way to solve problems. What makes this movie so good, is the way Johnny struggles to fit in. Reminds me of "Angus."

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Skiers Versus Boarders

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 April 2008

Young Johnny Kapahala from Hawaii has two great loves in life, surfing and his grandfather, the latter teaching him all about the former. The grandfather is known throughout the Hawaiians Islands as the legendary Johnny Tsunami. And young Mr. Kapahala shows every indication of inheriting that name and all that goes with it.

But Johnny's parents played by Yuji Okumoto and Mary Page Keller are going to be moving to Vermont where Johnny is going to get to go to a fashionable prep school because Okumoto is going to teach computer programming.

The free and easy life of Hawaii contrasts with the snobbery he finds among all the young yuppies of the future. And while Johnny finds he's managed to adapt his surfing skills to snowboarding, the ruling elite in the school are skiers as headed by an especially snotty young preppie in Zachary Bostrum.

It's a Disney Channel production so don't expect the best in the way of acting, but Johnny Tsunami has two very good things going for it. Nice location photography both in Hawaii and Vermont and very good chemistry between Brandon Baker and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa as the junior and senior Tsunamis. Their scenes together are really something special.

Johnny Tsunami proved to be one of the most popular of Disney features, warranting a sequel, Johnny Kapahala, Back on Board with most of the same cast. I've always maintained Hawaii is so beautiful it's almost impossible to make a bad picture there. At least I've seen very few of them.

Look also for a good performance by Gregory Itzin as the headmaster of the prep school whose attitudes are most reflected by the student body.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Heartwarming tale of perseverance, or metaphorically quest to find one's inner self? You decide.

Author: Jwolffy25 from United States
19 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would like to begin this comment by saying that I am disappointed in the IMDd aficionados of America (and other countries where broadband internet is prevalent, nay, rampant). Why do I say these things? Better yet, why has nobody said these things before?! That which has left me so angered is the 5.4 rating on Johnny Tsunami. While normally I would tell myself upon seeing this devastatingly low rating: "Its OK, many people just don't see the intricacies, and beauty of such a well made, loving, and cinematographically powerful film" However, as a Disney Channel Original movie fan/ expert/ life liver, I feel I must say the following: Brink! (Notice the ! for exclamatory purposes), received a higher score than Johnny Tsunami. This is outrageous. While I feel as though Brink was groundbreaking in its own regard, it palled in comparison to the awe inspiring film that is Johnny Tsunami. Johnny Tsunami is beautiful, flawless, gripping, and inspirational for Hawaii-American surfers like myself.

The fact remains, Johnny Tsunami managed to interweave every possible story line/ tale of adversity/ racial conflict that engulfed the era in which this film was released. It tackled problems of parents being too controlling, young love, as well as radical grandparents who serf. Honestly, what more you could ask you in a film/ work of art? One may argue, in fact, I will be that one to do so, that this film was the greatest film of our generation. You may think I am jumping the gun on this one (or, Jumping Ship, in Disney Chanel Original Movie language), but frankly, I feel that we all connected with Johnny's struggle against the mountain, while struggling against his inner demons as well. This film is amazing, outstanding, and swell. A must see. No... not just a a must, rather, it is a must live and experience.

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A Tsunami of Greatness...according to me.

Author: robertsays2182 from United States
9 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have this thing where I have too much time on my hands, I look through over the years and decide who would be nominated for certain know like the Oscars. Well this is one of those movies. Great acting, directing, writing. But there is one beef I have with this movie. It seems like it takes no time in one scene to get from Vermont to Hawaii. Other than that great. Nice photography, I love the music score. 8 Like the T.V. show 8 is enough. Is it me or does Lee J. Thompson seem lost at times? Well it was nice to see him in his part...Which in the sequel is played by someone who totally craps on it. But that's the other movie. A Disney channel classic.

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A fine, fun, family film, although the title doesn't seem funny any more

Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
30 January 2007

Johnny lives with his parents in Hawaii, where his grandfather is the legendary Johnny Tsunami, an accomplished surfer. Young Johnny's father, Pete, has serious misgivings about his own father's more unconventional lifestyle and decides to move the family to Vermont. He does this, in part, to get the teenage Johnny away from his love of surfing and into a more serious role as a dedicated student. As one can see, to travel from Hawaii to snowy Vermont is quite a change in venue and 13 year old Johnny has some big adjustments to make. He has to find new friends and new activities. But, the stuffy students at the private academy his father chose tend to snub him. Instead, Johnny makes friends with the so-called urchins (public school students) in town and takes up snowboarding. Yet, complications continue to present themselves. Will Johnny adjust to his new life? This is a fine and funny film for families everywhere. Despite all of his problems, young Johnny continues to have an attitude as sunny as the beach on Oahu and it is very infectious. All of the actors do a great job and the production values are quite nice. Most of all, the settings, in both Hawaii and Vermont, are picture perfect and wonderful to behold. Are you looking tonight for a film to entertain your loved ones? This lovely film is an excellent choice that will have everyone cheering.

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Go Big or Go Home

Author: genik10 from Southampton, Pennsylvania
27 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Johnny Tsunami is the perfect blend of extreme surfing/snowboarding action, memorable quotes/characters, emotionally and morally draining subject matter, and guilty pleasure. It is the ultimate Disney channel movie. Brandon Baker does a superb job portraying Johnny, or Puno, grandson of famous hawaiian big wave surfer(and the coolest movie character ever) Johnny Tsunami. The other characters in this film are like a big swell coming in from north shore.

Johnny goes from shredding raging monsters down at pipeline with Jake to workin' the hill with Sam all with wonderful transitions and excellent story lines. I wouldn't want to give too much away, but he even gets the girl.

Johnny:"How come you never told me you could snowboard grandpa?" Grandpa:"How come you never asked?"

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very fantastic movie

Author: weatherman4jesus from United States
2 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a fantastic movie that involves skiing, surfing, and snowboarding. The setting begins in Hawaii, and then the family involved has to move to Vermont. THE SETTING IS VERMONT. I have seen user comments saying it takes place in Virginia, in Colorado, etc. IT TAKES PLACE IN VERMONT. Further more, it doesn't discourage skiing. It just shows some competition between skiing and surfboarding. This movie is very cool, and although some people may find that this movie is "kids only", it is extremely cool! I must say that it was somewhat educational on the differences between surfing and skiing. Wouldn't it be weird to see a surfer using a snowboard on the ocean? LOL! Johny Tsunami rocks as a movie and has no foul language or inexplicit content! GREAT MOVIE!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This is awesome!!!!!

Author: Seth Nelson from (Near) D/FW Airport, Texas, USA
8 September 2006

Go "Richter" with this 1999 Old DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie), "Johnny Tsunami." It is about a boy from Hawaii who liked to surf, but because his father had found a great job opportunity way, way, WAY far away from Hawaii (like, say, Vermont), Johnny had to give up on his surfing and make adjustments to his life. He attended a very nice private school and, while a silly rule stated that everyone there had to ski, Johnny decided to try snowboarding, likely because it's like surfing, but on snow. So this leads me to the $64,000 question:

"Which side will he choose?????"

This movie, as well as the question above, teaches us a lesson about how we should live life and what type of friends we should have. It almost reminds me of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken:"

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I; I had taken the road less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

"Johnny Tsunami" is just like that. Watch it!


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