Surf’s Up (2007)

(In theaters, June 2007) If you think you’ve seen enough movies about penguins, make room for one more: Surf’s Up may not be much more than a fun film, but it’s well worth a look. The most obvious difference of the film is how it presents itself as a mockumentary, and sustains the form for the entire duration –even though the illusions gets less transparent during the last half. The story isn’t complicated and you’ll see the twists comes up well in advance, but it’s handled with a competent touch, and it features a bunch of good characters. (Even the chicken gets a few laughs.) As a CGI film, it shows that water effects are pretty much a solved problem: the film seldom hesitates to go into the surf, showing off iridescent green waves in such a way to make us regret that this isn’t a real film. The irony, of course, is that despite the cartoons and the script made for the younger ones, Surf’s Up manages to explain the Tao of surfing a lot better than more realistic movies about the subject: You just have to see the penguin protagonists touch the back of a tubular wave to understand how much fun surfing can be. It all adds up to a pretty satisfying time at the movies, and one that quickly dissociates itself from either Happy Feet or March Of The Penguins.

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