(2004)

Critic Reviews

80

Metascore

Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
Entertainment Weekly
Traces the sport to its Polynesian beginnings, then zooms in on the genesis of 20th- century Southern California surf culture -- the boards, the bikinis, the laid-back cowabunga.
90
Film Threat
One of the best surfing documentaries ever filmed.
90
The Maverick's sequence is perhaps Giants' most viscerally exciting and poignant.
88
New York Post
Magnificent if overlong and oddly structured surfing documentary.
80
Variety
Offers a highly engaging immersion into a culture of larger-than-life characters driven by their thrill-seeking instincts.
80
Village Voice
Peralta has become a more relaxed filmmaker, and when he trusts the haunting sight of a giant wave breaking to speak for itself, the movie reaches the sublime heights of its subject.
80
The New York Times
Because the waves get progressively higher in Riding Giants, Stacy Peralta's historical surfing documentary, some of that thrill is sustained throughout this overlong but entertaining movie.
75
New York Daily News
A breathtaking visual history of big wave surfing. This is vicarious daredevilry at its best.
70
Peralta includes amazing archival footage to demonstrate just how far surfing in general permeated American popular culture, but also narrows his focus to follow the evolution of the surfboard itself.
70
For those who do enjoy being smacked around by the ocean, for those who thrill to the romance and hype of extreme surfing and dig the outsider aspect of this rarefied culture or at least its marketed cool, this film will likely be their ticket to ride a board by proxy.

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