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I'm Green (Or Should That Be Blue?) With Envy
Doghouse-65 July 2004
This is a film about people who have found that "one thing" that Jack Palance talks about in "City Slickers." I've never cared much one way or the other about surfing, but I can appreciate the commitment, passion, artistry, daring and athletic achievement embodied in the denizens of the sport that this film presents, all of it captured in some stunning and bravura cinematography.

The joyous fulfillment and camaraderie radiated by the exuberant folks in this film is infectious. How many people are really fortunate enough to have found a singular, driving passion that becomes central to their entire existence? Too few, I fear. It's something you can't help but envy and - especially when it involves such sublime and spectacular abilities - admire.

Do give this one a try. Unless you're part of the culture this film portrays, you're sure to see (and maybe even feel) some things you never have before.
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Holy Mother of God !!!
surfandski29 March 2005
This movie just blew me away. Before going any further let me say that I am giving it an 8 because I have yet to see Riding Giants and also that you should not rent the DVD unless you have an HDTV of 40' or larger where you can enjoy this movie in all its splendor. The camera work is absolutely fantastic. And whether you are a surfer or not, it won't matter, when you watch this movie you will be transported for 90 minutes into the tube, plus you get to see some terrific places. Better yet the whole family can enjoy it while you all go 'Wow, wow, WOW' every 15 seconds. Beware that if you are married your wife will probably end up pining a poster of Laird Hamilton in your room, and your youngsters, well they will be on the next plane to Hawaii, hell I am packing my bags as I's up.

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A long, but not endless, summer
tvspace11 August 2003
Step Into Liquid is full of breathtaking cinematography of (mostly American) surfers achieving heroic feats of beauty in the lap of Neptune. From the crazy Californians who boat 100 miles off shore to ride 60-foot waves breaking over an underwater mountain, to a paralyzed former surf phenom who manages to get back into the tide splashing near shore, to creative nutcases in south Texas who surf in the wake of oil supertankers in a 15-mile-wide canal, the movie offers a snapshot of the breadth of the sport as practiced in an endless number of ways wherever water, for whatever reason, forms waves.

Unfortunately the movie is not edited with the same grace with which its subjects navigate the waves. The director's ceaseless voiceover offers few opportunities for self-reflection during the film, and pounds the poetry into sentiment. Music is used haphazardly and too frequently to add unneeded emphasis to the footage. The use of "white boy angst" hard rock under much of the footage gives it the feeling of a cheap extreme sports video; all that's missing are the pseudo-MTV titles in the bottom-left corner to identify the Limp Biskit wannabees at the end of each scene. This film could have been great if it had been edited with a modicum of restraint, if the filmmakers had been content to let its themes be implied rather than stated over and over again in talking-head interviews and the voiceover. By the end you feel like you've watched a spectacular motivational seminar training film instead of a true drama.

Nonetheless the movie is mostly enjoyable, and the subject itself is interesting, amazing, and often funny (the Green Bay Packer fans surfing in Lake Michigan off the shores of Milwaukee ought to have their own sitcom, and might if the right person sees the movie...).
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Superior movie-making. Sheer pleasure to watch.
tyeve7 December 2004
I'm not a surfer, but, man, I sure wish I was. Before seeing this film, I was wary of a surfing movie made by the son of Bruce Brown, who made the famous surfing movie "The Endless Summer" something like 30 years ago. I expected that the son, Dana, would just be cashing in on his semi-famous name. But, those worries were unfounded. This documentary exudes a powerful love of and respect for the ocean. The surfing footage is unbelievable, it puts most special effects to shame, yet this is the real thing. The stunning cinematography complements the fabulous editing. I was spellbound. It's not often that I come away from watching a movie feeling exhilaration, awe, amazement. One word of advice -- watch it on the biggest, best screen you can find.
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The search for BIG waves continues ...
Andy (film-critic)10 August 2005
The film had a point, a plot, and we felt like we were headed towards something "greater". Sure, this was a surfing documentary similar to Billabong Odyssey and Endless Summer, but there were unique aspects I hadn't seen before: Lake Michigan surfers riding the tiniest of waves and Texas surfers riding the waves made by huge oil and cargo ships. The film's premise was to show that surfers were everywhere and that the surfing lifestyle meant something more than just an attitude akin to a bad Keanu Reeves impersonation. Surfing means appreciating Mother Nature in her most awesome and dangerous aspect.

Though I appreciated having a plot and point, however sappy, I must say that I missed watching the BIG waves and the BIG tumbles that make you groan out loud or suck in your breath. When it comes to surfing, I am every bit the couch potato sportsman and like my fellow couch potatoes, I enjoy the game most when the stakes are high. This film lacked the big wave scenes that I love and in the end, I can't say I'd truly recommend the film over the others listed above.

So, instead of boring you with more details, I'll make a pledge. I'm going underground to the world of poorly made surfing videos that I've heard so much about. The videos that show the BIG waves and BIGGER tumbles. Think of it as research in case I ever get over my fear of Jaws and decide to do a little surfing myself. I want the real, uncensored, un-cheesy truth.

Grade: **** out of *****
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Well, it has a lot of surfing....
RNMorton22 January 2005
Bruce Brown made (in my book) some of the most entertaining movies ever, most of which happened to be about surfing. Son Dana gives it a college try with mixed results. The quality, subjects, waves and angles of the surfing photography are fantastic. But this is definitely a different experience from Pop's work, which was largely visual (he started out doing them in a hall with live commentary over his video). Dad had cool shots with good instrumental music and frequent light humor. A pleasant 1 1/2 hour interlude with no place it had to be that sort of wrapped up whenever. Step Into is a much more polished, "busier" film -- louder music with vocals, tons of interviews, much more a serious documentary about the surfing life. Problem is, Dana brings some of dad's elements with him (like the constant narration) and I don't think it works as a whole. It doesn't take that much to make me happy with a surfing film, I adore the recent, pure and simple Thicker Than Water (2000). This one just has too much stuff I don't want. I tried watching it again and after a few minutes popped one of dad's old films in the VCR (sorry). Because I can't completely knock a movie that lets Gerry Lopez talk and has Laird Hamilton doing 50 foot waves I give it an 8 out of 10.
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The summer continues. (spoilers)
Pepper Anne27 August 2005
'Step Into Liquid' director and writer carries on the torch of his father, Bruce Brown's legacy with an even more intense, but momentary glimpse into a rather incredible sport in a sort of follow up made more than thirty-five years later after The Endless Summer. Though difficult for the loyal surfer to explain his love for surfing, which the surfers and filmmakers assure audiences that the "way of life" is as inexplicable as trying to explain what describe what colors look like, Dana Brown and others make an excellent effort in trying to reveal through words and visuals why this sport is indeed "their way of life." As the filmmakers traverse the globe, following more than just an endless summer, they feature thousands of surfers in even some of the most unusual locations (Wisconsin, Rapa Nui, Ireland, etc.) where the participants in the sport each have their own definition of the perfect wave, that extreme point where nature meets a fiberglass board and makes the rider feel so stoked and so addicted. It may be difficult to explain to the non-surfer, or probably even to the surfer, but Dana Brown and others make a wonderful attempt at capturing one of the oldest sports. While the actual ride itself is an intense experience, it is an adrenaline rush to watch it. And, even for the non-surfer, it can be appreciated on the level that you may feel this way about something you participate in, whether it be another sport or activity altogether. That, I highly admire.

This film offers amazing footage and it's accompanying glorious scenery (and sometimes, not so glorious) and interviews from more than just the most well-known surfers. The DVD package also includes a hefty supply of special features, including the full-game version of Kelly Slater's pro-surfer, additional interviews, and so forth. It is a stacked supply for surfing appreciation destined to make even the most indifferent of audiences stoked.
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In search of the perfect wave
jotix10020 July 2005
Dana Brown, the son of legendary film maker Bruce Brown, continues the family tradition with his own take on the world of people that are totally committed to ride those waves, no matter where. In a way, this is another installment in the way Brown sees the world of the surfers as he takes us all over the world to show us what people will do in order to discover the perfect wave, and ride it.

The brilliant cinematography is amazing to watch. Things obviously have improved greatly since Bruce Brown pioneered this genre of documentary. We get glimpses of Oahu, with its rugged coast and giant waves. We are taken to places like Rapa Nui, Ireland, Viet Nam and even Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where we had no idea people will go to their rough lake to surf! Someone made a comment about the title being pretentious, but in reality, the line comes right from one woman that is being interviewed and says she feels like "stepping into liquid" whenever she is surfing.

The film is beautiful to watch. It could have used some editing, but in general Dana Brown ought to be congratulated by what he has captured on camera for fans of the sport and just plain folks that will be, no doubt, wowed by what they see on the screen.
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It Just Feels Good!
dlitt-114 March 2006
This movie just feels good. It's an uplifting look at the spirit and the courage of these men, women, and children that make the sea their playground. There's no plot, no special effects, and no actors, just surfers and the ocean. If you just want to disappear for an hour and a half and come out feeling like you've inner child has been renewed, this is the one.

Dale Brown, son of the Endless Summer's Bruce Brown, does a splendid job of showing us big surf from around the world and the surfers who have made the pursuit of these waves a way of life. Along the way, we see generations of some of the best surfers continue to surf into their sixties and seventies with their own sons, daughters, and grandchildren. We even meet a middle-aged surfer that has a quest to surf every day of his life, no matter the weather, until he surfs over 10,000 days in a row.

It's not Shakespeare, it's a trip around the globe with some very likable people doing what they love to do. Our gratitude to Dale Brown and his crew for inviting us along.
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Great Film
Angel5 March 2005
First off if you're a fan of any of the endless summer movies or others then this movie will be a great addition. Masterfully done, with scenes that make you want to get up and go to the beach. Any junkie of the ocean will be envious of the locations depicted in this film. A great use of expressions via actual spoken word and cinematography, to help people better understand the life of a "surfer". You cannot go wrong with Dana Brown, showing you the beauty of the world and mixing in a system of believes held by surfers around the globe. If you're like most of us than you probably cannot just get up off the couch and visit Maui, but sitting back with drink and watching this film you will have the same experience as being there. Visit's to Australia, Chile, Maui, Ireland, and surprisingly Texas, give a diverse look into surfing around the globe, but the message remains the same. Your loyal Fan, Angel
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Cowabunga, dude!! Surf's up in this valentine to the true extreme sport.
george.schmidt12 August 2003
STEP INTO LIQUID (2003) ***1/2 (Featuring as themselves: Rochelle Ballard, Shawn Barron, Layne Beachley, Jesse Brad Billauer, Taj Burrow, Ken Collins, Darrick Doerner, Brad Gerlach, Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama, Keala Kennelly, Alex Knost, Jim Knost, Rob Machado, Chris Malloy, Dan Malloy, Keith Malloy, Peter Mel, Mike Parsons, Kelly Slater, Mike Waltze. Surf's up dude! Surfing enthusiast cum documentarian Dana Brown, son of filmmaker Bruce Brown who helmed the sport's quintessential flicks 'The Endless Summer' and 'The Endless Summer 2', picks up from his dad about the way of life for the thrill-seeking, daredevil and nature worshipping oceanographers of waycool as they embark on a globetrotting look at the awesome spectacle of catching a wave without it catching you! Jaw-dropping cinematography of 60 foot avalanches of ocean's crests glistening in glass clear blue water off Oahu, Ireland (!) and such exotic locales as Rapu Nui , Vietnam and Sheboygan, Wisconsin (!!!) Truly amazing for those uninitiated and for purists there is no substitute in realizing that it's a style of life and not a lifestyle. The real-life surfers show unbridled passion at what makes it all worth while – enjoying something you love; what's not to admire about that 'philosophy'.
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Travelogue of Humans
tedg10 July 2005
I like surfing films, in part because moving water is one of the most cinematic things in existence.

And surfing photography has advanced tremendously in the last decade, both in the way the camera can be placed and the lenses that can be used. It matters I suppose that surfers had gotten more exhibitionist.

But given all this raw stuff, you still have to weave something worth watching. Despite the mundane story, I really liked "Blue Crush." It had energy and charm, thanks mostly to the editor.

This mostly misses. And that's because it focuses not on the surfing but the surfers. These guys and gals just aren't very interesting, and their ordinariness takes away from the extraordinary potential of the motion adventure.

Once we're locked into hearing about these guys we are forced into having to like them and that's a bad strategy for a movie. Only in one episode do we really go with the appeal, when some Irish American boys go back to Ireland and teach surfing to kids of mixed backgrounds (who naturally enough us all seem the same).

I think with iMovie and better music, someone could make a better, shorter movie of this material. It should be all about the water. In spite of this starting out with the clear announcement: "no stereotypes," it is precisely about stereotypes and the realization that the filmmaker can't see it is a profound weight.


Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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Everyone in the world should see this movie.
Michael DeZubiria11 December 2004
Step Into Liquid is one of those rare documentaries about a very specific topic that is able to have a strong effect on the viewer whether or not you can relate much to the topic at hand. That is, in fact, one mark of a good documentary. Touching the Void also does this very well. The original Endless Summer was before my time, although I would have seen it if it wasn't so hard to find, since I was so impressed by Endless Summer II, which I saw when I was in high school. Many of the people that appeared in those movies also appear in Step Into Liquid, enhancing the presentation of the camaraderie that develops between surfing friends.

I grew up in southern California, minutes away from the beach, and I've also lived in England, so needless to say I've heard plenty of surfing stereotypes, even just from the fact that I come from California. I never got into surfing much, mostly snorkeling and body-surfing and skim-boarding, but have nevertheless been asked by plenty of Londoners if I make a habit of describing pleasing situations or events with phrases like 'Cowabunga, dude,' or 'Totally tubular,' or if I surf to school.

Yes. Of course I do. Everyone in California surfs to school.

I didn't expect the movie to approach this topic, but I was hugely impressed by the way it told the stories of so many surfers and then summed it all up by saying that 'real surfers don't say 'Dude.' It turns your attention away from the automatic surfer stereotypes (which, as is also explained, were started in large part by movies like Gidget and Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and shows you why those stereotypes are so shallow and misled.

This never really bothered me because I was never the kind of surfer that you think of when you hear these stereotypes or even the word surfer, I was more of a beach bum who was into just about everything else under the sun and on top of the sand except for surfing, mainly because I couldn't afford a surfboard. Step Into Liquid, however, goes to great lengths to show what an intense and moving experience surfing can be, regardless of what the waves are like.

I think that the most important function of the documentary is that it shows how something like surfing can bring people together. We see professional surfers being towed into 50 and 60 foot waves and surfing at suicidal speed, but we also see a man traveling to Vietnam with his teenage son, surfing on everything from sand hills to waves less than a foot high while being followed and venerated by hoards of screeching Vietnamese kids. Then you have a group of guys who go surfing in Scotland, of all places, and bring together kids from northern Scotland with kids from southern Scotland, which are separated almost to the point of being separate countries along religious lines, with Catholics in the north and Protestants in the south (unless it's the other way around).

From a technical standpoint, I was most impressed with the extent of the effect that they were able to achieve through the almost constant use of slow motion (so much for 'no special effects…') and the outstanding musical selection on the soundtrack. As a novice filmmaker myself, I love to see such simple effects as blending slow motion with certain music, because it has such a strong effect and is something that I've used myself dozens of times. This is the kind of movie that makes me want to be a documentary filmmaker.
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Amazing cinematography, excellent music, touching stories, and bone shattering waves.
darthwhit14 September 2003
I grew up on the Oregon coast, the water is much to cold for anyone but true diehards to brave. I happened to stumble upon the high definition trailer to Step Into Liquid online. Once I had seen the trailer there was only one thing to do, watch it again, and again. I couldn't believe how amazing some of those shots looks. I am familiar with Endless Summer I and II but have never seen them. After I had watched the trailer several times I looked to find out when it would be released. Aug 21. In the only digital theater in Oregon to my knowledge. I marked the date on my calendar and waited. When the day arrived My girlfriend and I drove and hour and a half to Portland to see it. It was amazing. What you see on screen are people around the world surfing and enjoying themselves. Guys in the Gulf riding the wake off of super tankers, people in Michigan surfing the great lakes. These people are having just as much fun as the pros on what most people wouldn't even consider waves. You hear a few touching stories some excellent music and see some amazing waves. My only complaint is that there doesn't seem to be a soundtrack of any kind in the works. There is some really good music but some of which I can't even track down on CD. Hopefully they will put out a soundtrack. If you don't see this movie at least download the high definition trailer. It alone is gorgeous. I now want to learn how to surf, I just may need a wetsuit.
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Like father, like son
Wizard-810 April 2017
Thirty four years after director Bruce Brown made a permanent impact with his surfing documentary "The Endless Summer", his son Dana Brown made his own surfing documentary, "Step Into Liquid". In a few aspects, this newer movie is an improvement on the older documentary. The cinematography and the camerwork is stuff that Bruce Brown could only dream of having at his disposal all those years ago; it is extremely professional (and spectacular). Also, we learn a heck of a lot more about the sport of surfing, as well as how it's changed dramatically since Bruce Brown's movie.

But I think the original documentary has some strengths that are not quite realized in the newer movie. The original documentary I think was a lot more magical, having a quiet and easygoing charm that made you follow it along and made you realize how special surfing was.

I'm not saying one of these documentaries is better (or worse) than the other - instead they each have their own unique perspective and style. Both documentaries are well done, and are definitely worth watching.
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Brave play
evening128 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
An affectionately narrated documentary about big waves and the courageous surfers who take them on.

We visit some of the world's top meccas for the sport, like Oahu's awe-inspiring "Pipeline," and less-well-frequented spots, such as the Great Lakes and a Texas tanking lane.

We meet some surfing stars, like buff and model-handsome Laird Hamilton, as well as less-likely aficionados, including an American war vet who returns to Vietnam to introduce underprivileged kids there to the pleasures of wave-riding.

As expected, we see stunning footage of the ocean's power to create daunting curls. And it does leave you wondering how surfers make it back to shore.

Indeed, we meet a young man whose neck was broken while surfing and observe how he still tackles the waves -- by lying prone on his board -- with the help of a few of his friends.

This is a feel-good film about adults who still frolic amid the glories of nature. They set an excellent example for us all.
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Great surfing film
tnrcooper6 April 2011
I saw this film in the theater when it was released and absolutely loved it. I don't surf but have always wanted to. I watched the film again on my computer and that only doubled my desire again, to want to surf.

Director Dana Brown-whose father Bruce directed the legendary surfing film "Endless Summer"-captures the "stoke" (passion) felt by surfers in places as varied as Vietnam and Wisconsin. The movie is not complicated. Brown visits various places where a variety of not-necessarily-typical-surfer-types (along with legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton) pursue their passion. We hear from long-time buddies surfing in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, we see surfers in the Gulf of Mexico surfing behind the swell left by supertankers, and we follow Dana to Vietnam where his crew tracks the surfers at one of two surfing clubs in that country.

It is hard to communicate how surfing makes one feel and it is a challenge for Brown. Nonetheless, he tries and I felt I appreciated how much the surfers enjoyed what they were doing, regardless of the size or the waves' origins. The surfing footage is fantastic and the joy felt by surfers is impossible to dislike. The pure joy felt by surfers is a welcome respite from the troubles of the world and Brown captures it expertly.
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Great, entertaining documentary
Zen41624 March 2011
This is by far one of the most entertaining documentaries I've ever seen. While all docs are meant to be educational or enlightening, it's the rare one that amuses you as well and literally takes you somewhere else, like on a mini vacation to exotic locales right from your living room. Dana Brown's narration is wry and informative without being too over the top or wordy, never detracting from the drop dead gorgeous scenery the movie provides as we follow various surfers around the world. There's touches of humor here and there and, while some of the said surfers are certifiably nuts, you don't have to be a long or short boarder to enjoy this film. If you like good alternative tunes, amazing locations such as Malibu, Ireland, Hawai'i etc., then check out this cool little jewel of a documentary.
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Amazing movie, made my heart sing
hschmisi25 September 2009
I have never seen a movie that could explain the passion of surfing better to me than this one. The interviews gave a wonderful insight in the reasons of why one might want to surf in the first place and the waves were just beautiful. Just the whole story about the surfing made this movie worth-while. All in all everything just fit together perfectly. The pictures were amazing and the music used to underline the feeling just hit the spot. Just watching the movie made me want to grab a board and make my way to the next possible spot to catch a wave or two. If you're in ANY WAY interested in surfing this documentary is a must-see!
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No Actors - No Stuntmen - No Stereotypes
Kip Stubbs13 June 2006
Dana Brown had some big shoes to fill by following his father's (Bruce Brown of "The Endless Summer" series fame) tradition of making fun, compelling surf movies. He has not only succeeded, he has surpassed Dad and made a film that keeps all the elements of the previous films alive, but bares Dana's distinct stamp and personality. "Step Into Liquid" is fresh, slick & exciting. The cinematography is amazing, the interviews are engaging and the soundtrack is tight. This is a movie about surfing, for both avid surfers and the public at large. Anyone can relate to this movie and that is its charm. A new generation of surfers will doubtlessly be inspired by this incredible film.
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Great surf documentary
John Mitchell28 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I personally thought this movie was breathtaking. The scenes of big waves are breathtaking. This movie has everything for people who are interested in surfing. Scenes like the brothers in Ireland and the surfers in Wisconsin showed that surfing doesn't have to take place in California, Hawiaii, or a exotic location. The scenes of mavericks and jaws will get any adrenaline junkie pumped. This movie focused on the essence of surfing and not one specific thing which is good and bad. I really thought this was a awesome surf movie. I compared this to riding giants(stacy peralta) and I actually like liquid better. I really love the big wave surfing so I figured riding giants would have given me more of a "stoke". I was wrong as the big waves just didn't jump out at me like in liquid. Liquid has some of the most amazing scenes in surfing.
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I'm looking for Dale
Heidi W6 March 2005
Surfers and surf interested everywhere,,,Be prepared to be stoked! This movie is going to take you for a ride, you feel like you're cruising the waves yourself. Some of my favorites are Gerry Lopez, Wingnut, Rob Marchado and Kelly Slater.Check them out! There's this one surfer named Dale ? . He's older, long blond hair and he has surfed for about 25 years, every single day. His goal is to surf until 2004 without missing a day! They showed a shot of his board was a huge wad! What is his last name and does anyone know why he would be uncredited? He is obviously into the surf. Besides, the movie was phenomenal. It was great to see all the different types of surfers, different locations and conditions. It is definitely worthwhile to check out. Be prepared to be stoked!!I love my surfer boyfriend from the east coast.
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Surfing is the Source...
DK Bengel14 June 2004
To be blunt, Dana Brown has done the Surfing world a MAJOR favour with his new documentary, "Step into Liquid". This is one of the most beautiful and compelling films I have ever seen. I have spent years surfing up and down the USA's West Coast, from Washington to So. California and even down into Baja and I was STUNNED with this film. Since moving to Texas, I have not been riding alot of waves (as you might expect), but this movie made me feel like I was home. One problem, though (and one problem only) -- I grew up in Sothern California surfing at Moonlight, Torry Pines Dell Mar, Huntington, Big Sur, etc and, Dana, let me tell you...ALL of us 'real surfers' called each other 'Dude' all the time...still do, actually. So thanks for the killer ride, Dana, and I'll see you out there...Dude!
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Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Whoa. Wow!
jpellino11 May 2004
That was pretty much the conversation in our living room watching this film.

That, plus five minutes into the film, I turned to my wife and said "Our jobs suck."

The Browns have done an incredible job of showing everyone else how leisure can turn into passion, how simple water can inspire people to reach heights they never thought possible, how a boy and his dog can do what they love and achieve like never before, how fun can make the world go round.

As a scientist I am dumbfounded by the grace created by water and muscle, by the foil boards ( I see it and I know why it should work and I still don't believe it) and by how plain old people can do something this beautiful.

See it. Buy it. Play it every so often. Then go to the beach and have fun.
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Visually stunning
paxbulliana17 January 2004
Parts of the film move slowly but the photography throughout is stunning and the human interest stories compelling. I especially enjoyed the segment of the Catholic and Protestant children surfing together in Norther Ireland and vignettes such as of Dave Webster who has been surfing every day for the past 24 years and of a fellow who became paralyzed in a surfing accident and yet continues to surf in his own way.

All of this coupled with some of the best surfing photography I have ever seen anywhere makes it a great film.
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