25 December 2007

Ink Blots - Surf's Up

After the underwhelming Happy Feet, I pretty much felt that the demand for cartoon penguins had died out, but like so many other animated movies, the penguins came in pairs. 2007's Surf's Up offers a mockumentary style tale about surfing penguins (and one chicken). Admittedly, I wasn't expecting much, but the movie delivered a delightful diversion and was actually pretty funny. One joke that I quite enjoyed was when Chicken Joe said he never really knew his dad, while the camera showed a picture of Joe's papa. Then the camera zoomed out revealing the picture on a bucket of chicken. Ha ha.

The movie follows Cody, a young surfer who was inspired in his youth by the legendary surfer Big Z. Cody enters a surfing competition along with Chicken Joe and Tank Evans. Unfortunately, Cody can't surf too well and Tank is an SOB, but when beach bum Geek takes Cody under his "wing," there is some hope for the underdog.

Anyways, nothing too deep here, but midway through the movie I found myself caring about what was going to happen and hoping that somehow the movie didn't take the cliche path of making Cody become a legendary surfer in a weeks time in order to win the championship. I won't say what happens, but the resolution was satisfactory.

As for the animation, it was fantastic. The water looked photo real, and watching the tide and beaches made me miss California. The penguins also had wet suit like designs that were kind of cool. The documentary style also gave the film a fresh angle that kept things interesting and different than the rest of the glut of CG animal adventures.

In closing, Surf's Up was not a big hit in theaters earning just $59 million, but this little film deserves a second look. In the battle of the penguins, Surf's Up easily wins out to the tune of a B+.

..and on a final note, lets let the penguin thing rest for a while eh?

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