Come join Cody, a Rockhopper penguin, as he journeys from
his home in Shiverpool, Antartica to take part in the Big
Z Memorial Surf Off on the beach of Pen Gu Island. During
his adventure he meets some new friends including surf nut
Chicken Joe and the spirited lifeguard Lani. Cody believes
that winning is everything until he meets The Geek, an old,
washed-up pro-surfer who may just show Cody that a true winner
isn't always the one who comes in first.
start, I have to declare that I have absolutely no issues
in “Madagascar” were sneaky but cute while the
singing/dancing birds (not my type though) in “Happy
Feet” are bearable at least to me.
consecutive 3 years, we have animated penguins on the big
screen and so when “Surf’s Up” arrived,
I suffered a bit of “Penguins” fatigue.
a certain extent, “Surf’s Up” is pretty
innovating. Using a mockumentary-angle to capture the story
of Cody (voiced by current Hollywood IT boy, Shia LaBeouf),
a young penguin whose life-long desire is to pursue his interest
in surfing in the Big Z Memorial Surf Off taking after his
idol, the infamous “Big Z” (Jeff Bridges). Upon
arriving on Pen Gu Island, he meets new friends. The beautiful
lifeguard, Lani (Zooey Deschanel) and a chicken named Chicken
Joseph (Jon “Dynamite” Heder) or better known
as Chicken Joe and a sports promoter with spunky hair (the
gruffy James Wood).
the halfway mark, I began to get distracted. Beside that cute
little penguin named Arnold who occasionally popped up to
melt your heart, the overall dialogue isn’t that witty
to generate hearty laughs and well, the plot is typical of
a feel-good movie, lessons are learnt and everyone lives happily
ever after. I can’t imagine how the young folks will
be entertained. Still, it's hard to fault it though since
it's meant to be good-natured family fun.
being distracted, I was totally mesmerized by the rich CG
rendering touches. The life-like water waves, the jungle floral,
the cold shivering Antarctica and the welcoming feel of Pen
Gu Island. I could name more but I don’t want to get
too carried away. Thumbs up to Sony Imageworks, finally there’s
someone who could give the guys at Pixar a run for their money.
the end of the day, ”Surf’s Up” consists
of innovating camera shots and top-notch CG technology that
will “wow” you. But veteran animation directors
Ashley Brannon and Chris Buck (“Toy Story 2”,
“Tarzan”) who helmed this project together forgot
to add in an engaging story to go along. Perhaps it's in tune
with the laidback attitude of surfers.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
“Surf’s Up” comes in a single disc
edition but the extras are a generous lot. Let’s move
on with it!
If you can remember the chicks-like with killer teeth creatures
in the animated award-winning short, “Chubb
Chubbs”, they are back in an all-new short,
“Chubb Chubbs Save Christmas”.
Both the original and the new are included, all thanks to
the generous folks at Sony.
are at least 4 interactive games included. The Secret
Spot: Make Your Own Surfboard with Big Z and Cody, Whale Hopping
with Chicken Joe, Lava Surf Game and Let’s Find Cody.
Sounds fun but honestly if you ask me, kids below the age
of 10 might be more entertained.
a full-length Filmmaker’s Commentary
track by co-directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck and producer
Chris Jenkins here. Informative but not entirely engaging.
Up Reinvents Animation - Not a Drop of Real Water
is a great, useful featurette for wanna-be digital artists
and for the curious audience. Spanning almost 20 minutes,
it takes you behind-the-scenes on how a special motion-capturing
camera system is used to create the documentary-feel of the
movie in “Surf Cam” and also
in “Making Waves”, we are shown
how the digital waves are created and the group of goofy digital
crew has to undergo Surf Camp in order to understand surfing
better. From “Storyboard to Surfboard”
takes you to the various stages from storyboards, rough layout,
animation, feathers and fur, effects, composite to the final
film. You can use the “Angle” button on the remote
you prefer a less hassle way, try “Progression
Reel”. The separation of these components is
viewable in this 5 minutes featurette. Anything from FX breakdown
to creating Archival Footage to Particle FX Integration is
mentioned here. Utter the terms a couple of times and you
already sound like an expert.
Scenes” are in fact deleted scenes. Most of
them are cut while still in the storyboarding stage so they
are just plain sketches, comes equipped with filmmakers’
commentary. Behind the Scenes of Doris-and-Sheila is a 2 minutes
segment of the sound-recording session with actresses Jane
Krakowski and Mindy Sterling which was done years back accordingly.
Sadly, it was deleted as well.
Egg! I found one literally under “Lost Scenes”
just right beside the image of sandpiper. Well, it seems the
digital artistes concealed images of flying saucers in the
movie. Try spotting them if you can.
Zurfinary” is an intro to the world of surfing
terminology. Learn what’s “Pearling”, “Wipeout”,
“Tube” and adjectives such as “Radical”,
“Awesome” and “Sweet”. Overall, Radical!
the eyes of 2 real-life penguins, we get to see how the cast
and crew react with them in “Meet the Penguins”
featurette. Kiddy fun.
can an animation movie about surfing function without consultation
from Surfing experts? Get tips and tricks from professional
surfers in “Surf like a Pro”.
music video “Lose Myself” by Lauryn Hill, photo
galleries and a trailer for “Daddy Day Camp”
rounds up this DVD.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85, the visual transfer
is excellent all round, colours are sharp and bright. The
beautifully-rendered azure oceans at Pen Gu Island and the
surfing sequences are vivid to the eyes, makes you want to
jump straight into it.
This Code 3 DVD comes with English, Korean and Chinese languages
with similar subtitles option. The sound quality is flawless
with plenty of excitement on the rear, left and right speakers.
Parting Thoughts: Like I mentioned in my review,
the CG technology in “Surf’s Up” is top-notch,
so much better than the generic storyline. And the extras
in this DVD make this a much tempting purchase. Get this to
show it off on your HD-TV.
by Linus Tee