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Author: alopez20011 from United Kingdom
30 August 2007

The great works of Pixar have caused critics to compare all animated films by that high standard and moan when they don't reach that. This is what has happened to this film unfairly. Who needs perfect animation when you have a screen full of surfing penguins. The conceit of the film is glorious. A good promotion for punching that whole in the ozone layer bigger still is the prospect that we can be surfing in Antartica pretty soon. These penguins are straight out of the end of the 1960s hazy psychedelic time and enjoying the warm waters and surfing. The film is more enjoyable if you see 'March of the Penguins' first with its earnest and pofaced narration. Here instead of penguins struggling to survive against impossible conditions whilst being lauded for their life and death struggle by film makers in the comfortable climate of America, these surfing penguins are enjoying the high life of sweet living when things have warmed up. Spray an aerosol for a penguin and go see this fun film!

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Caught and Educational Aspect in the Movie...

Author: MirandaSoft from Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
20 August 2007

I was able to watch this movie on August 11th, 4 days before it's official release here in the Philippines. It was a Red Carpet Primiere, sponsored by Columbia Pictures, SM Cinema, and SkyCable. My wife works for SkyCable and all four of us went to watch the movie. (Me, My Wife, My wife's nephew, and my wife's mother.) During this movie, I caught a very educational aspect...

Friends are More Important than Trophies.

After the movie, I asked Josh (my wife's 7yr old nephew), what is more important? Friends or Trophies? He answered, Friends.

The movie degraded CHEATING, which I'm glad it had emphasized that. Cheating to win does not make "real" friends.

In reality, some parents want their children to "always" be Number 1, and those same parents punish their children when they are not number 1. The tag-line on the Red Carpet Primiere invitation read, "Cody begins to find his own way, and discovers that a true winner isn't always the one who comes in first."

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The big wave has been rode.

Author: BratSimpson from United States
14 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm gonna start off by saying that this is the best Shia Lebouf film I've seen (I've only seen three, this, The Greatest Game Ever Played, and Transformers.) It also puts a clever twist on animated penguin movies. That's because instead of being a musical (Happy Feet), it's a fake documentary about surfing. You heard that already, didn't you? It also cast Jon Heder as a clueless character again (Napoleon Dynamite) and this time made him happy a whole lot. Very good qualities of the film. My only problem with it was that it's sometimes too predictable. I knew that Geek was Big Z before it was revealed. Still, it was very excellent with good humor.

Plot: 7/10 Humor: 9/10 Characters: 8/10 Overall Rating: 8/10

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About facing challenges told in a really funny way

Author: chrichtonsworld from Netherlands
7 August 2007

Another CGI cartoon about penguins! Sure this movie will be compared to "Happy Feet"! But that is not fair since that is a different movie with a whole different message! That message is to show and warn people about the way we treat our environment and animals! "Surf's up" is more of a feel good comedy disguised as a cartoon featuring penguins! Forget that it is a cartoon and forget the penguins! It easily could have been about other animals! Running hares or something! The point of the movie (at least that is how I interpreted it) is about people facing challenges no matter what the outcome! At one point I forget that the main characters were penguins! The voice acting is so good and convincing that you feel the presence of the actors like Shia LaBeouf,Jeff Bridges and James Woods! I don't know how he does it but James Woods is excellent as the sleazy manager! Add to the fact that the graphics are amazing! What you get is a truly funny movie with a solid message suitable for children and adults!

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Author: Sharit Sinha from India
4 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whoahhh!!!!!!!!! I really really and really was not waiting for this movie. We went to the complex in weekend and when there was none other available, went in for this one. Though I usually like animation movies, my friend did not, so he was not very happy. But tell u what.... after it ended, he was the one going all the way to praise it.

What a movie...!!! No, not very new concept, but still, very fresh...and made me laugh from the very first scene.

The movie starts with Cody giving an interview.... the whole humanly concept added to penguins made the whole thing hilarious. Cody started off with telling, how he likes surfing and how it has turned him into a LOOOOOSER in Shiverpool, his small hometown. But he does not care, as all Dreamers, and he dreams of being as good as the legend "Zurfer" Big Z.... Who was dead during a very dangerous wave riding.....

Now, Reggie Belafonte starts a Big Z memorial surfing competition on a very very dangerous ocean cliff.... I am blank on Surfing...but thats gotta be the most dangerous beach to surf.... So, Cody does some unintentional dangerous stunts in front of Talent hunter Mikey Abromowitz, and gets a chance to join the competition. He gets to know a buddy surfer Chicken Joe...who is.. really..a chicken...!!! Well, the chicken jokes in the movie were awesome!!! So, Cody is hanging around, meeting and getting crushed over lifeguard Lani Aliikai, and then getting pi**ed off by Over-Bully Tank Evans. While a surfing duel in them, Cody gets wiped off.... and as per his rolls over and over!!!! Well, he is unconscious and steps on a sea urchin. Well, when interviewed, urchin denies that as follows....: Stepped on me, stepped on me? Are you kidding? This guy was dancing on me! I mean just look at this, broken, broken, gone, gone, broken, broken, broken...

OK, so camera rolls to Cody and we see Lani dumping him on some self-made clinic in the forest, ran by Geek.... Well, Geek ...err.... pees on heal the wound...Gross....and funny!!! Now, after getting up, Cody starts acting like a top class loser and Geek tries to make him see reasons.... later they settle in to make Cosy's own surf-board.... While, getting the required wood, they roll down and ..... they get to a completely new part of the island. And most surprisingly, Cody (And we) finds out that Geek is actually Big Z.... wow!!! Now, after a motive rendering routine, Z starts with teaching Cody how to make his own board... That has to be the most funny scene in the movie, in the track of teaching Cody, Z actually makes half the board....Well, Cody takes in and screws the thing...(it has to be called "thing"...its no more a board).

Cody goes off the beach and hangs around with Lani. After realizing that he has been a total jerk... he again goes to Z and he trains him, not to be a tough competitor, but just have fun and let go with the waves. Some idealistic battle follow when Big Z's past comes out and Cody leaves him and Lani, to join the competition again. And, as obvious, he is one of the 3 finalists, along with Tank and Chicken Joe.

We forgot Chicken Joe...did not we?? Don't worry, when u see the movie, u wont; every 10 minutes, Joe appears, as he is looking for Cody, after he was bashed up by sea. He gets into several big dangers, but we know that a man(and a chicken) knows no fear, when he knows NOTHING!!!! So Final round comes and Tank is playing dirtier than ever to crush Joe into rough cliffs, Cody saves him but gets stuck in the maze with his board broken. Tank's b**t is kicked totally by the waves and he gets unconscious. Now, Z, who was watching the competition from a hiding, comes out and saves Cody, with his Surfbord Shrine. He appears before the startling crowd and inspires them to have fun with him, instead of nerving out for such stupid spine chilling competition. So..all's well and all's gay ..I mean..happy!!!

Movie ends with Joe surprised with his triumph, Tank's breaking his own trophy and Cody's family giving a post-competition interview. The best thing of the movie is that the movie is shot ....(Sorry, created) with a super 24X7 MOCUMENTARY style.... Guys, if u r animation movie fan and u just loved Shrek or Incredibles....the u will enjoy this one. If you are not into animation movies, u will also love this one...!!!

So, ....what r u waiting for, just go and watch!!!!

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Is There Nothing Penguins Can't Do?

Author: tfrizzell from United States
2 July 2007

Penguin successes the last couple of years have been well chronicled and hailed from most every direction as "March of the Penguins" and "Happy Feet" not only cleaned up with movie-goers and critics, but even with Academy Award voters as each took home Oscars as the best films in their respective categories. Now in 2007 we have "Surf's Up" and help me I still like penguin movies. Shot in a strange computer-generated mockumentary style, the film is a charming piece of entertainment which sees a young penguin wanting to be a surfing champion of all things. Amazingly, his dreams could become reality with the help of his friends, a long-believed fallen hero, and some well-timed luck. Risky animated feature due to its style which still delivers for the most part. The graphics are state of the art and the story is just fresh enough to be accessible to audiences. Though not without faults, "Surf's Up" still hung ten (well, eight maybe) with me in the end. Actors voicing the characters include up-and-comer Shia LeBeouf, Jon Heder, Jeff Bridges, and the always under-appreciated James Woods. 4 stars out of 5.

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my wife want to see it

Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
24 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife wanted to see this movie. On a Tuesday off I went along. What a great story. The boy who becomes a man and the legend who falls from grace. The story of the cycle of life someone better comes along and the legends time ends and the new legend is a jerk. I like this movie and do not want to ruin the story by telling you anymore. Geared for both adults and kids is a well crafted film. James Wood plays the perfect sleazy surf promoter while Jeff Bridges plays the z man surfer style guy perfectly. The surf crowd will love this one. A old story retold well. I give this film a 7 out of 10. Worth see on the big screen. No R H C P music on the sound track? Why?

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The animation is it's only asset

Author: anxietyresister from United Kingdom
20 October 2008

What is it about the strange behaviour of penguins in cartoon films? In 'Happy Feet' we find that they like to dance to show tunes. In 'The Pebble and The Penguin' we discover they can fly. In 'Madagascar' they secretly hatch plots to take over ships. And in 'Surf's up', they organise a surfing contest on a tropical island. WHEN WILL THE MADNESS STOP?! I suppose there is 'March Of The Penguins' if you want to see a documentary about these birds in their natural environment, but how many kids would want to sit through that? Lets hope that these weird interpretations of ornithology don't warp their fragile little minds.

Joking aside, I could care less about accuracy or lack thereof in movies if the actual film was entertaining enough. In Surf's Up, the brilliant wave effects aside, it isn't. You're gonna hear a lot of stupid jokes that aren't funny, you'll meet stereotypical characters you won't give a flying fig for and you'll have to contend with a plot which is so predictable it's like betting on Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or Man U to win the title. The kids will love it, but any discerning adult will want to make their excuses and hide behind the sofa.

Whatever happened to the glory days of Toy Story and Shrek? 10 years along the line we have the likes of Ant Bully, Open Season and now this. Where did we go wrong? I dare say, maybe if they took as much time over the script as they did the animation, it would be a different story (pun not intended). So can we go back to the basics of starting with sympathetic heroes in a believable world, or are we doomed to second-rate productions where the high points are gags about regurgitated food and penguin urine? Well? 4/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

very nice try but something crucial seems to be missing

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
17 June 2007

"Surf's Up" is the only movie I know of that would feel equally at home on ESPN, Animal Planet and the Cartoon Network. A cross between "Endless Summer" and "March of the Penguins," "Surf's Up" has been designed as an animated mockumentary, replete with on-the-spot interviews and grainy newsreel footage from the "glory days" of penguin surfing.

The star of the movie-within-a-movie is Cody Maverick, a pint-sized penguin with a king-sized dream of becoming an international surfing champion. To that end, he leaves his home in Antarctica and ventures to Hawaii to take part in the Big Z Memorial Surf-off, a competition held in honor of the surfing legend who was washed away by a giant wave during a previous contest, never to be heard from again.

"Surf's Up" certainly earns points for creativity and originality, as well as for its stunning animation which comes about as close to approximating real life as any movie featuring a bevy of wisecracking penguins is ever likely to get. But, for all its virtues, I can't help wondering who the target audience for this film actually is. The movie seems too esoteric in its references and too lacking in forward momentum to appeal much to the younger set, and it's too obvious and pedestrian in its humor and message to be of much interest to adults. Indeed, as I was watching it, I felt, sadly, that an awful lot of talent and work had gone into the production, but that the movie itself never really finds a way to draw the audience into its story. Perhaps the pseudo-documentary conceit, clever and imaginative as it is, ultimately ends up acting as a distancing device between audience and subject. Or, perhaps, it's simply that the script itself, when you get right down to it, isn't really all that funny.

I don't mean to diminish the truly exceptional work done here by the animators. There's an almost surreal beauty to many of the scenes (particularly the darkly lit ones), and the facial expressions on the penguins are remarkably lifelike and fluid. The vocal talents of Shia LaBeouf ("Disturbia"), Jeff Bridges, Jon Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite) and James Woods are also put to good use in service of the material.

All the elements would seem to be in place for "Surf's Up" to score as a first class animated treat. Instead, the movie falls victim to an unimpressive screenplay as well as an unavoidable sense of déjà vu caused by its coming so soon on the heels of 2005's "March of the Penguins" and last year's "Happy Feet." Perhaps we've all just had our fill of adorable penguin movies for the time being. Given Hollywood's obsession with all things polar, can walruses and polar bears be far behind?

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Surf's Up didn't work for me.

Author: journeymark from United States
8 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before I start my review, let me just say that I'm not bashing "Surf's Up" because it's a penguin movie. I love penguins! They just need to be in better movies.

Even if this was the only penguin film ever in existence, I'd still give it the same review.

With that being said, let's move on to the story.

Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) is a small, rockhopper penguin living with his mom and his older brother, Glenn, in Shiverpool, Antarctica. As a young penguin, Cody met surf legend Big Z. Ever since, he's wanted to be a professional surfer.

Later, Cody is now older (the movie never says how much older, but I think he's now a teenage penguin) and continuing his ambition of being a great surfer. One day, talent scout Mikey Abromowitz arrives in Shiverpool to look for surfers to compete in the Big Z Memorial Surf Contest. Cody joins the group and meets Chicken Joe (voiced by Jon Heder of "Napoleon Dynamite" fame), a surfing chicken from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The group of surfers arrive at a sunny beach (the complete opposite of Antartica) for the surfing contest. Cody seems to be a likable character up until this point, when we discover that he's cocky and thinks he's a better surfer than he really is. Because of this, Tank, a large, muscular penguin and nine time winner of the Big Z Competition, challenges Cody to a surf-off. Cody accepts, but his arrogance leads to him wiping out.

He is saved, however, by a lifeguard named Lani (voiced by Zooey Deschanel), whom he has a crush on. Lani takes the injured Cody to the hidden home of Geek, a hermit penguin, so that Geek can help Cody recuperate from his fall.

After that episode, we end up learning that Geek is actually Big Z, Cody's idol. Everyone has believed that Big Z died after a deadly wipe-out, but it ends up that he just chickened out over his competition and decided to live in recluse so that no one finds out what really happened to him.

Now that Cody knows who Geek really is, he convinces him to help him prepare for the Big Z Memorial Surf Contest and, hopefully, beat Tank, his new rival.

I'll stop there.

Now the plot above seems kind of interesting, right? But It sounds familiar, doesn't it? For me, it sounds a lot like Disney/Pixar's "Cars" (a hot-shot racecar who learns that winning isn't everything versus a hot-shot surfing penguin who learns that winning isn't everything).

However, "Cars" was a heck of a lot better than this lazy, dull, boring surfing flick.

Why? Mainly because of the way "Surf's Up" tries to be original but utterly fails at it.

What way is that? Well, it turns out that the whole movie is actually being filmed by camera people who are filming a movie based on Cody's life. It's called a mockumentary, which is simply a fictional documentary.

So on top of that whole plot outline you just read, the movie also tries to act like a documentary by "interviewing" side characters about things happening in the movie, or ask questions to little kid penguins like, "Kids, how would you describe a winner?" which refers to Cody trying to win the surf contest. Sometimes the characters accidentally "bump in" to these "camera people" and the camera falls over and suddenly the whole beach is sideways. HAHA, hilarious... not!

But who are these people or animals asking the questions, or who are the camera people or animals making a movie about Cody's life? We never find out.

Is this movie review making you confused yet? That's probably how you'll feel watching "Surf's Up." With every scene that is somehow reminiscent to every other animated kids film you've seen before, a boring and unnecessary documentary-style scene completely interrupts the movie in a pathetic attempt at trying to be original or different from other kids movies. So half of the movie is copying other movies, and the other half is being a dumb documentary thing.

On top of all this, it's a CGI-animated film. For kids.

Kids will not get the whole documentary thing. They just won't. Heck, I barely got it!

Maybe if the camera people were the main characters (sort of like "The Blair Witch Project"), and we followed their adventures instead, it might have been more interesting. Or maybe if they'd just dropped the whole documentary thing altogether and actually tried making good family movies like Pixar does it would have been better.

But whatever this unfunny mess of a movie this was, you can just skip it and move along with life. Or better yet, watch "Ratatouille," a CGI movie that's actually great for a change.

Bpnix12 rating: 2/5 Stars (4/10) and not recommended. You'll be able to sit through it if you have to, but if you don't have to, don't.

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