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Surf's Up is a Americanmarker Academy Award-nominated computer-animated mockumentary film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It stars the voices of Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder among others.

It was Sony Pictures Animation's second theatrical feature. The American premiere occurred on June 8. It is directed by Ash Brannon (the co-director of Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (the director of Tarzan). Pre-production for Surf's Up began in 2002.

It is a parody of surfing documentaries, such as The Endless Summer and Riding Giants, with parts of the plot parodying North Shore. Real-life surfers Kelly Slater and Rob Machado have vignettes as their penguin surfer counterparts. To obtain the desired hand-held documentary feel, the film's animation team motion-captured a physical camera operator's moves.

Plot Summary

A documentary crew follows the events of Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) a small rockhopper penguin residing in Shiverpool, Antarctica (a pun on Liverpool, Englandmarker). After a childhood visit from surf legend Zeke "Big Z" Topanga, Cody aspires to emulate the renowned legend by becoming a famous and respected surfer.

Eventually, talent scout Mikey Abromowitz (voiced by Mario Cantone) arrives in Shiverpool scouting for surfers to compete in the Big Z Memorial Surf Contest. Cody joins the group of surfers, once he's proven himself to Mikey, and quickly befriends Chicken Joe (voiced by Jon Heder), an easy-going surfer from Wisconsin. Soon after arriving at Pen Gu Island (along with other prominent surfers Renato Mendes (Brazil), Rory Nubbins (Australia), and Tatsuhi Kobayashi (Japan)), Cody crosses paths with the local lifeguard named Lani Aliikai (voiced by Zooey Deschanel) as she rescues the penguin child, Arnold, from "drowning." Shortly thereafter, Cody has an altercation with the egotistical Tank "The Shredder" Evans (voiced by Diedrich Bader), a large muscular penguin and nine time winner of the Big Z Competition, when he witnesses Tank hurling stones at Big Z's memorial shrine. The disturbance catches the attention of promoter Reggie Belefonte (James Woods), all too eager to allow Cody to challenge Tank to a surf-off on the spot. Unfortunately Cody's inexperience with the challenges the competition has to offer leads to a terrible wipeout, and he is injured when he steps on a fire urchin. Lani takes Cody to the jungle home of a hermit called the Geek (voiced by Jeff Bridges) in order to get help for his injuries and to recuperate.

Upon waking up, Cody is quickly shooed out of Geek's house. He shows Cody the route back to the beach, and leaves the young penguin be. A short time having passed, Geek has found Cody's necklace in his hut and quickly returns to the path fork, finding Cody still sitting on the log, and returns the Big Z necklace. Geek then notices the log's type, Koa (of which all the best surfboards are made), and decides to make Cody a surfboard.

While carrying the log back to Geek's house, the two lose control of it and the log starts rolling down a cliff. The two run after it, and the young surfer notices what the cliff looks over: a beautiful and pristine beach. Unable to contain his curiosity, Cody treks down the steep cliff, inadvertently taking Geek with him. On the beach, Cody explores a toppled tree and soon realizes it houses several old surfboards, those of Big Z's. Geek is seen investigating a dilapidated shack littered with messages of grief from Big Z's fans, and from his reaction, Cody realizes that the Geek is Big Z.

Almost instantly, Cody's excitement that his lifetime hero still lives is unleashed in a torrent of questions and theories as to what happened, much to the chagrin of Z, who quickly takes to hiding within his old home. Eventually Cody lures Z from the hut, having pulled Z's old boards from their resting spot and attempting to surf with them out in the crystal blue ocean. Cody takes a few more wipeouts as he attempts to get Z in the water, but slowly manages to work tips from Big Z. Cody is told that he won't be doing any surfing until he has made a board of his own.

Cody, eager to make his own board, is unwilling to listen to Z's advice on making a surfboard. Z backs off, and allows Cody to pry his way through the wood, creating a "work in progress" gouged plank that quickly snaps once in the water. Cody becomes irritated and leaves the beach, leaving Z behind, Z all the time calling after Cody that he will come back. Cody runs into Lani, who reveals that she knew of Geek's true persona, and that he was her uncle. Lani then takes Cody to a series of tubes in the island and after a thrilling race through the tubes and a "winning" landing in glow worm droppings, a shower, and a talk, Lani convinces Cody to return to Z. Cody complies, realizing his folly, and returns to Z's beach, beginning work on a new surfboard under the bright moonlight.

In the morning, Z awakens Cody to start his training, but on land. Cody, initially irritated by the low-progress training, soon exclaims that he is "having fun." Z then gives Cody the OK to go into the water, and joins him in the surfing. Lani soon arrives on the beach and joins the duo as they surf the rest of the day away.

In the evening, Cody asks Big Z to come and watch him surf in the Big Z Memorial Surf competition. Z is highly reluctant, becoming irritated with the questioning, but ashamedly reveals the truth behind his disappearance. Cody is in disbelief that his hero had given up. Tossing his necklace into the dark waves, Cody storms off, intending to win the contest alone. Cody continues through the forest and is caught in a trap set by the natives of Pen Gu island. Chicken Joe appears, having been looking for Cody ever since his disappearance, and since had befriended and apparently traveling with the Pen Gu-ins, retrieves Cody just as the horn blows for the start of the Surf Off.

Taking the audience by surprise, the three finalists turn out to be Cody, Joe, and Tank. Tank attempts to take out Cody only to slip off his board. Tank is knocked out cold after colliding with some of the rocks, Lani coming to his rescue. Meanwhile, Cody is saved by Z, and together they swim back ashore. In doing so Z reveals his presence to the crowd, eventually inviting all to the north shore to surf. Cody finishes talking with the documentary crew at this point and joins his friends in the water. The film comes to a close with Big Z, Cody, Lani, and many others surfing the waves as the sun sets.

Stinger

During the first few minutes of the end credits, there is a last interview Cody's mother and brother, Glenn. His mother is revealed to not mind that Cody didn't win, but Glenn still sees Cody as a loser. His mother then tells Glenn that he wishes he could be more like Cody, to which Glenn responds by telling the cameraman "This interview's over." After the credits, Glenn is seen mumbling and throwing the documentary crew's equipment out of the window, ending the scene with "Go back to Hollywood!"

Voice cast







Technical information



Rating

This film is rated PG by the MPAA for mild language and some crude humor.

Soundtrack

The following music can be found on Sony's official film soundtrack.

# Song Artist
1 "Holiday" Green Day
2 "Reggae Got Soul" 311
3 "Drive" Incubus
4 "Stand Tall" The Dirty Heads
5 "Lose Myself" Lauryn Hill
6 "Just Say Yes" Ken Andrews
7 "Forrowest" Forro in the Dark
8 "Pocket Full Of Stars" Nine Black Alps
9 "Into Yesterday" Sugar Ray
10 "Big Wave" Pearl Jam
11 "Wipe Out" Big Nose
12 "Run Home (Instrumental)" Priestess
13 "What I Like About You" The Romantics
14 "You Get What You Give" The New Radicals
15 "Hawaiian War Chant " Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys


Two songs by Green Day, "Welcome to Paradise" and "Holiday", are used for background music in the film. However, neither song appears on the official soundtrack album, likely due to the profanity in the songs. In the primary teaser trailer, the song "Get on Top" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers can be heard in the background, but that too wasn't included in the soundtrack. Again, possibly due to profanity and the song's subject matter of prostitution. "Welcome to Paradise" was also used in the second trailer promoting Surf's Up, as well as "Three Little Birds" by Sean Paul featuring Ziggy Marley.

The DVD and Blu-Ray behind-the-scenes featurette entitled "Making Waves" features the song "The Water", performed by Venice. This also does not appear on the "Surf's Up" soundtrack, but can be found on Venice's "Garage Demos Part 2: Fast Stuff" CD.

Original Ocean Picture Score

The original score composed for the film by Mychael Danna was released on a limited edition (of a thousand units) 23 track CD.

Tracks are as follows:

  1. Legends
  2. Sports Network Presents
  3. You're In
  4. Big Z's Shrine
  5. Taking on Tank
  6. The Geek
  7. Stuck With This Guy
  8. I Don't Have a Way
  9. Log Roll
  10. The Board Shack
  11. Cody Struggles
  12. Lani And Cody
  13. Waterfall
  14. In the Tube
  15. Training
  16. The Has Been
  17. The Big Z Memorial
  18. First Round
  19. Shredding
  20. Winning Is...
  21. Boneyards
  22. Losers
  23. Pointed The Way Back


Box office performance

The film took in a respectable $5.8 M on its opening day, though it did open at number 4 at the box office. After one weekend, the film grossed $17,640,249. As of March 23 2008, the film has grossed $58,867,694 domestically and $90,134,487 in the remaining markets, bringing the worldwide gross to $149,002,181.

Taglines

These appeared on the film's trailers, posters, and production material.

  • A True Story
  • In the coldest place on Earth, he's the hottest thing around.
  • The ocean just got cooler.
  • A Major "Ocean" Picture.
  • Birds Fly...Penguins Soar!
  • Makin' Waves Summer 2007
  • Hang Six, Summer 2007


Critical reaction

Surf's Up has received generally positive reviews from critics, and the film is 'Certified Fresh' by rottentomatoes.com, with a 78% approval rating among reviews. Some noted that in spite of it coming so soon after many movies featuring penguins (March of the Penguins, Madagascar, and Happy Feet), it was able to stand out on its own. This was an improvement from Open Season, Sony Pictures Animation's previous film, which received mixed reviews.

Indeed, the film pulled a bit of a surprise by being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in January 2008. While Ratatouille (the eventual winner) and Persepolis were widely regarded as being certain nominees, some thought that the third nominee in this category would be The Simpsons Movie.

Awards

Surf's Up was nominated for 10 Annie Awards including:
It was also nominated for the 80th Academy Awards for Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but lost to Ratatouille.

Promotion and merchandise

Convention Exclusives/Promotional Merchandise

To promote the movie's release, surfboard wax bearing the movie's logo and a rendering of Cody was given out at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con

Food and Related Products

McDonald's

On June 8, McDonald's issued eight Surf's Up toys in their Happy Meals for one month. Each meal came with one of the following:

  • Cody figurine with a surfboard.
  • Rip Curl Cody (a tiny plastic penguin in a water globe shaped like a curl wave).
  • Lani with a surfboard.
  • Chicken Joe (a swaying bobbler on a board).
  • Geek rides a plastic "wave" on a surfboard.
  • Tank speeds on a board riding a wave.
  • Reggie (spins on a surfboard).
  • Big Z Boneyard Challenge (rectangular water tank with a floating Big Z on blue "water").


In the Australian market, a few small plush characters of Cody, Lani, Chicken Joe, and Geek replace some of the toys in the US lineup.

Carl's Jr.

Promoting the release of the film on DVD, the "Cool Kids Combos" at Carl's Jr. locations included Halloween themed Trick-Or-Treat bags with Halloween inspired Surf's Up characters on either side (Lani in witch garb, Cody as a vampire). A two-sided puzzle was available, as well as a figurine of the Geek, including stickers.

There appear to be one other set of toys available in the Cool Kids meals as well. Those included are a Cody figurine with spring-launch surfboard, a Lani figurine that balances on a surfboard, Chicken Joe, a bobble type figure, much like the McDonald's release. The last toy is a set of stickers with two backgrounds.

Air Heads candy

There was also a tie-in with the candy Air Heads which introduces a "New Wave" flavor (pineapple) and four collectible lenticular motion surf board shaped pieces. The characters included are as follows:

  • Cody Maverick: "An up and coming 18 year old surfer hailing from Shiverpool, Antarctica, who aspires to live up to the legend of his idol, the late Big Z"
  • Lani: "The beautiful but tough penguin lifeguard of Pen Gu Island's South Beach"
  • The Geek: "A washed-up, overweight and cantankerous King Penguin who becomes Cody's mentor."
  • Chicken Joe: "Having mastered the 12-inch swells of Lake Michigan, has set his sights on the monster waves of Pen Gu Island"


It should be noted that the bios on the boards are mistaken in places. Cody is "seventeen years of age" in the film, and Geek is listed as an emperor penguin in source material.

Baskin-Robbins 31

Several special edition Surf's Up ice cream flavors were offered, including "Splish Splash" and "Penguin Swirl"

Kold-To-Go Thermal Insulated Surf's Up Bags

Coldkeepers, LLC made custom printed Kold-To-Go thermal bags featuring the Surf's Up movie lead characters. The bags were sold from May to July 2007 in major grocery store chains across the nation. official site.

Toys

Build-A-Bear

Build A Bear stores sold plush toys of the film's protagonist, Cody Maverick. Patrons could "build" their own Cody as well as dress him up in an array of surf-themed clothing and other accessories in Build A Bear workshops. They could also purchase Cody and accessories at the official site.

Plushes

Several plushes from Nanco intended for claw machines can also be found and purchased in varying sizes (from 6 inches to 11 inches to 17 inches). Characters available: Cody, Lani, Tank, Geek, Big Z, Chicken Joe, and Reggie Belefonte.

A rare set of larger (Geek measures 15 inches) and higher quality plushes had been made available at the premiere's after party. Won either through available games, or given away with gift sets for attendees. Cody, Lani, Arnold and Geek were created and so far no plans for the dolls to be sold commercially have appeared.

Puzzles

A series of children's 100 piece puzzles are available as well depicting various characters and setups.

Surf's Up Little Tub Surfers

Five inch waterproof plush tub toys released by Jakks Pacific in minimal quantities to most major retailers. Five characters were produced, including Cody, Tank, Big Z, Arnold, & Chicken Joe. Each character has an attached washcloth/surfboard, but sport questionable likenesses (and in the case of Chicken Joe, entirely off model, bearing more of a resemblance to Mikey).

Six Surf's Up eggs that allow you to "hatch" a character and let it grow in water are also available.

Miscellaneous

There are Cody and Lani themed comforters (full, twin, single), bed sheet sets, and throw pillows available. As well as children's underwear with Geek and Cody's visage on the garments. Several trinkets such as Surf's Up charm bracelets, necklaces, and character key chains exist.

In Other Media

Books

The movie saw the release of an extensive batch of printed media, mostly aimed towards young children.

  • Surf's Up: The Movie Storybook
  • Surf's Up: The Art and Making of a True Story (By Cody Maverick)
  • Surf's Up Look & Find (Not unlike "Where's Waldo?" simplified)
  • Surf's Up: The Life & Times of Cody Maverick
  • Surf's Up: The Unauthorized Biography
  • Surf's Up: The Legend of Big Z
  • Surf's Up Interactive Sound Book
  • Surf's Up: The Winning Wave
  • Surf's Up Paint Book
  • Surf's Up Coloring and Activity Book 3-in-1
  • Surf's Up Coloring and Activity Book and Tattoos
  • Surf's Up: Meet the Characters, and Island Adventures ("I Can Read" books)
  • Surf's Up Reusable Sticker Book
  • Surf's Up Activity Book w/Crayons
  • Surf's Up Coloring and Activity Book and Stickers (Big Z centered)


Video Games

Along with the release of the film, a companion Surf's Up video game was released for all the current video gaming systems on the market. All versions of the game are the same with mild graphical differences, with only the Nintendo DS version changing the overall format.

The film was also made in to a mobile video game by developer Gameloft, which became available on cell phones.

DVD, PSP, & Blu-Ray release

Surf's Up was released on high-definition Blu-ray Disc, PSP UMD Video and DVD in the United Statesmarker on October 9, 2007. It is sold in both Widescreen and Fullscreen versions.

  • Wal-Mart had copies of the DVD paired with an exclusive "soundtrack CD sampler" and plastic Big Z necklace.
  • Toys R Us received select copies of the DVD with a "create your own surfboard" kit.
  • Best Buy sold a box set that included the widescreen DVD and four character figurines. Cody, Lani, Chicken Joe, and Geek stand about three to four inches and have rolling "surfboards."
  • Circuit City had a box set including a plush Cody, fullscreen DVD, and wrist band.
  • Vons supermarkets, a division of Safeway, had a promotion during October, 2007 (the release of the DVD) in which one purchases $50 of select items and the customer receives a free DVD of Surf's Up
  • Blockbuster had copies of the DVD that came with Surf's Up boxer shorts.
  • The DVD release includes The ChubbChubbs! and The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas.


Trivia

  • Cody's name is likely a reference to Mavericksmarker, a famous surfing spot. It is also a possibly reference to the NBA basketball team the Dallas Mavericks, of which directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck are fans.
  • This is the second animated film to feature Jeff Bridges in 25 years, the first was The Last Unicorn.
  • In the first appearance of SPEN Sports, there is a line "And now to dodgeball", in reference to Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and its ESPN 8: the Ocho joke.
  • The dialogue was recorded with the actors together in the booth, unlike most animated films where they are recorded independently. The voice-actors were also encouraged to ad-lib their scenes where appropriate.
  • At the beginning of the movie, Cody is asked if he has any "other skills besides surfing?" He responds, "Like what? Like singing and dancing?" This is a reference to Happy Feet, another animated feature film with penguins, another reference to Happy Feet is when you see an egg roll along the ice and a penguin chasing it and saying "Come to daddy", when Memphis is teaching Mumble to walk after his hatching. It's also noted that Happy Feet and Surf's Up were in productions during the same time.
  • SPEN is a parody of ESPN. It stands for "Sports Penguin Entertainment Network". It is also a play on the scientific family name for penguins, Spheniscidae.
  • Big Z/Geek is depicted as having dark brown feet in the film, whereas in nearly all printed or promotional material he is depicted with bright orange feet. It is unknown if the coloration was a last minute change for the film.
  • Originally SPEN was to have on-screen announcers appear as a walrus named Chunk and a seal named Rock. They were replaced in the film when Kelly Slater and Rob Machado signed on. However, the characters can still be found in the various Surf's Up video games, with Sal Masekela making an on-screen appearance in Chunk's guise.
  • A black and white photograph of Big Z is shown in Cody's telling of the history of surfing. The text in the corner reads: "Surfing for me, it's something that's completely unstructured. It's the rhythm of the world. It's the physical connection to the Universe." -Zeke Topanga
  • "Surf's Up" is also the title of an episode of Even Stevens, which Shia LaBeouf also starred in.
  • The character of "The Geek", is likely based on Jeff Bridges' character, "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski.
  • Mikey uses the line "I feel a little light headed" in one scene. That line was also used by Elliot in Sony Animation Pictures' first movie Open Season.
  • Early in the movie, Cody remarks about the lack of waves in Shiverpool, "You should have been here yesterday...", a common surfing aphorism lamenting poor surfing conditions.
  • Chicken Joe's and Cody Maverick's ill-fated fathers share the same name (Bob).
  • The character of Reggie Belafonte is likely based on Bill Sharp, the promoter of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Sharp is known for his spiked-up hairstyles and frequent media appearances on TV and in surfing documentary films such as the Billabong Odyssey.
  • UFOs are placed all around the movie in various scenes or stills like "Z is for Zurfing" and when viewers are introduced to Chicken Joe's late father. This is revealed in one of the Easter eggs on the DVD.
  • The character of "Chicken Joe" is apparently a reference to one or both of the Williams brothers from Sheboygan, WI, featured in the 2003 documentary Step Into Liquid.


See also



References



External links




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