Too Many Penguins?
Surf's Up
Review by Ross Anthony

Are you feeling overloaded with the seeming avalanche of penguin films sliding off those big white theatre screens in recent months. Didn’t Happy Feet come dancing out into the mainstream at the end of last year, and at most, it seems, March of the Penguins less than a year before that? Perhaps you missed one or both of those very good films. Alas, having seen them both, I felt more than a shade penguined-out. To boot, the trailers for Surf’s Up looked plain bad. The studio promoted the heck out of the film, but still I felt only the desire to avoid it. And I did. But, interestingly enough, a friend convinced me otherwise. And to my surprise -- we liked it! I liked it!

Despite, the penguins, Surf’s Up is decidedly different from the other two films mentioned above. In fact, the story has more in common with Cars and Robots (two awesome animated flicks). So, yes, it’s based on tried and true formula, but the buddy banter is fresh, never dull, and always entertaining. The picture further distinguishes itself by playing on “film” techniques. That is, shot tongue-in-cheek as a documentary, the crew follows our cocky young surfer on his rise to surfing celebrity. To do so, this animated film is shot handheld. That’s quite funny, because there’s no real camera necessary in computer generated animation. Further non-existent camera techniques are utilized from video tape drop-out from a cam mounted to the edge of a surf board, to cracked or splashed lenses, to even time-lapse photography. These are all very funny inside bits if you’re at all familiar with the recorded image. I especially enjoyed the old grainy 16mm film shots of past surfing events.

Anyway, the good humor isn’t used up entirely on the technical. There is plenty of funny to crack up the average adult or teen. As for the kids -- I have no idea, though I’ve heard they’ve been enjoying it as well.

-- Book Contest --

  • Surf's Up. Copyright © 2007.
  • Starring the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader, Mario Cantone.
  • Directed by Ash Brannon, Chris Buck.
  • Screenplay by Don Rhymer, Ash Brannon, Chris Buck, Christopher Jenkins.
  • Produced by Christopher Jenkins at Sony/Columbia.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Jun-2007 19:59:22 PDT