Today we are checking out Surf’s Up which is a fun penguin surfing movie. This is the second movie brought to us by Sony Pictures Animation (the first one was Open Season) and it is actually far better than it has any right to be. It did not exactly set the world on fire when it was released, but most people who have seen tend to have good things to say about it.
How to Stream or Download Surf’s Up
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review. If you like animated movies about penguins, check out also our review of Penguins from Madagascar.
The Movie Review
Surf’s Up is about a rockhopper penguin called Cody. Cody is voiced by Shia LeBeouf and he has dreams of becoming a champion surfer! Along with Shia LeBeouf, we do have a solid voice cast featuring the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Jon Header, and Jeff Bridges as the awesome old wise surfer dude, Big Z who Cody idolizes and serves as his mentor.
What makes Surf’s Up such an interesting movie is the way that it is presented. This is designed to be like a sports documentary and it gives it a very different kind of vibe and presentation from what you usually get with an animated movie. They really did pull this off and it features many of the tropes that sports documentaries have.
The whole sports documentary thing is a lot of fun, I got a kick when it would cut away for an interview with Cody’s mom or another character to give their opinion on something. The documentary follows a surfing championship. We have Cody who is the up-and-comer looking to make his mark on the surfing world.
If you have seen any kind of sports documentary, you know that there has to be a rival and the rival here is an obnoxious jerk called Tank who is a champion surfer with many championships to his name. While he is the antagonist, I loved Tank as he was such a jerk, the way he would just run over the other surfers was hilarious!
This is a great-looking movie, for an early title from Sony Pictures Animation, I feel that they did a great job here. The water in particular looks fantastic and I have to say that if they did not get the water right, I feel the whole movie could have fallen flat. Another area where Surf’s Up doesn’t fall flat is with the humor.
While this is a “kids” movie. There are some great jokes that will probably go over the head of many younger viewers. Stuff like this makes Surf’s Up a movie that parents and older siblings can enjoy with the little kids too. I think the dynamic between Cody and Big Z was my favorite thing as Jeff Bridges was just so much fun as the wise old surfer dude… he was “The Dude” after all.
I have to be honest and say that this would not make my top ten list of animated movies, but it is actually far better than you would think. I only ended up watching this because I had an interest in the sequel (which is nowhere near as good) and I had a great and fun time with it. If you have liked the other movies that Sony Pictures Animation has made, go back and watch this, it really is a fun watch.
- The way the movie is kind of like a documentary is fun
- It has some pretty interesting characters
- Like other Sony Pictures Animation projects, the animation is fantastic
- It is something fun to watch with the kids
- It is fun while it lasts, but it is not a movie you or the kids would want to watch over and over again
- The whole surfing thing may not be appealing to some people