Arts & Life

'Surf's Up'

Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) in 'Surf's Up'

Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) chases surfer stardom in Surf's Up. hide caption

toggle caption
  • Directors: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
  • Genre: Animation, Comedy
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

Third time's the charm with the penguins. Who'd have thought? The premise of this digitally animated flick is high-concept enough — it's supposedly a documentary about penguins hanging six, as it were, in the Penguin World Surfing Competition in Hawaii — to make you wonder just how high the conceptualizers were when they thunk it up.

But the film turns out to be a laid-back delight; complete with the animated equivalent of hand-held cameras, boom mikes accidentally descending into the frame, and a loose mockumentary format much like the one Christopher Guest developed for Waiting for Guffman, it's got as much to offer adults as kids. And when glacier-kid Cody Maverick (voice of Shia LaBeouf) gets taken under the wing of surfing legend Big Z (voice: Jeff Bridges), the improvised, ad-libby ethos gets pretty giddy. It helps that computer animation can take you where cameras can't — alongside two surfers inside the curl of a perfect wave at sunset — as easily as it can to the ocean floor with a wipe-out. And the picture's message, which is basically that winning's not as important as having fun, will sit well with any parent who's ever had to console a car full of Little Leaguers after a heartbreaker.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from