This computer-animated comedy about surfing penguins is shot in a mock-documentary style that makes the material seem refreshing and new – this is not just another penguin movie (in the wake of 2006’s HAPPY FEET). The story is fairly typical: a small town kid dreams that his special talent will be his passport into the big wide world, where he will triumph and his dreams will come true. Fortunately, the interview format provides ample opportunity for goofing around, and the CGI is absolutely stunning – the waves look so spectacular you feel the swell under your feet. Unlike most cartoons, which record each vocal performance separately, SURF’S UP allowed its voice actors to work together, creating a loose, spontaneous feel absent from most animation. Shia LeBouf is fine as the young lad who makes good, and Jeff Bridges and James Woods stand out among the strong supporting cast.
SURF’S UP (2007). Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. Written by Lisa Addario, Christian Darren, Don Rhymer, Joe Syracuse. Voices: Shia laBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Diedrich Bader, Mario Cantone