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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Penguins > Computer Animation > Surf’s Up (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Surf’s Up (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: C     Film: C



The latest of a remarkable number of computer animated feature productions (they are not cheap to make) is the Ash Brannon/Chris Buck comedy Surf’s Up (2007) which is about penguins (all the rage lately) who love to go surfing.  Instead of just another animated world to colorfully bounce around in, the twist here is that we are watching a “documentary” about the exploits of these friends in a style that goes back to the surf films of the 1950s and 1960s.


The advantage of this is that they can still use penguins and not look like the other –penguin productions, as well as skirt the obvious point that they do not have Pixar’s animation technology.  Unfortunately, the images of “scratched film” and fading film (including odd sepia-tones that are never explained) are so overdone that it wears thin very quickly.  That is despite voice acting from Shia Labeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Heder, James Woods, Mario Cantone and Diedrich Bader, all well cast as the penguins travel from Antarctica to the beach to hit the waves and even enter a contest!


This is an amusing idea, but even if they had better animation, it can only go so far and that is why it only runs 85 minutes.  Still, children may be amused and animation fans will want to give it a look just the same.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is good, but not up to the best CG animated features we have seen.  Part of this is from said stylization, but there are also other detail limits more common here than in TMNT.  It also cannot compete with a Chicken Little, but looks better than the anamorphically enhanced DVD version that looks good for its format, but is no match for the Blu-ray.


The Dolby TrueHD and PCM 16/48 5.1 mixes are about even, best presented in theaters in a 7.1 SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) theatrical presentation at the time.  Though the sound is definitely here and the richness and fidelity have their moments, we have heard better TrueHD and PCM 5.1 tracks, but any complaints are only minor.  Both play better than the Dolby Digital options in either format and are higher grade than many recent releases just the same.


Extras include still galleries, two Chubbchubbs CG shorts CG and animation fans may want as much as the feature, a pinball game, Lauryn Hill Music Video for Lose Myself tied to the film, progression reels on how the feature was made, four featurettes, two audio commentary tracks (visual effects and directors) and making of featurette.  That should keep the kids busy.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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