Surf’s Up, a sort of Aesop’s fable for modern times….

Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, “Surf’s Up” is the new Columbia Pictures Animated CGI Mockumentary about penguins and the ultimate surfing championship dedicated to legend “Big Z”, a surfing guru who is lionized by young Shiverpool resident, Cody Maverick.

Cody, has big dreams which seek to catapult himself out of the mundaneness of Shiverpool. Fatherless (apparently is not uncommon for most penguins to be on the lunch menu for killer whales), Cody takes wisdom for his path in life from Big Z who graced the shores one day
and bestowed upon him, a “one of a kind” Big Z necklace which he cherishes and considers a sort of talisman.

Not taken seriously by his own mother and his rather corpulent brother who mocks Cody at every waking moment, Cody has a passionate desire to prove himself. He gets his chance when talent scout, Mikey Abromowitz comes scouting for the Big Z Memorial Surfing Competition. Making a pal along the way, a totally rad chicken named…Chicken Joe, who like Cody, also is fatherless. Sticking like glue, both surfer dudes reach Pengu Isle, with stars in their eyes and anticipating totally mondo waves.

At this competition, is where notables take to the waves and give all they got to be number one. Here the waves along Pengu Island are powerful, legendary and above all treacherous. There is also a danger that even make the pros cringe…the dreaded Boneyards can give every
surfer, a choice between life and death.

Cody, knowing that this is his only chance to make something of himself and prove to everyone he can do it, rushes headlong to take on the champ, a brutish, egomaniacal surfer named, Tank “The Shredder” Evans.
A typical villain you’ll love to boo and hiss at, Tank has nothing foremost on his mind but to win (and to name all of his trophies after women).

After, a reality check, Cody takes time reflect, turn inward in a zen sort of way and during the course of the story, must find his true purpose. Is it all about winning and being the best no matter what, or is it something deeper?

Such notables as Shia LaBeaouf voicing the hopeful Cody Maverick, Jeff Bridges (Big Z), James Woods (as a Don King-esque surf promoter named,
Reggie Belafonte) and also Comedian/Actor Mario Cantone (voicing Mikey Abromowitz) make this an all star cast worth watching. Though slow in some parts, just the visual effects is enough to keep you glued to your seats.

However, it’s the underlying meaning or moral to this story about Cody is the real winner here. Cody learns a valuable lesson and his rewards are bountiful. A sort of Aesop’s fable for modern times, the message is clear cut and packaged wonderfully for all ages to enjoy and to hang ten.

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Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars


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Tobe R. Roberts

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