‘Surf’s Up’ (Ash Brannon, 2007)
An animated mockumentary about surfing penguins? Enthusiasts had no doubt this was bound to be yet another Hollywood botch job. But surprise! It turns out $85,000,000 buys not just a lot of primo CG time and blue-chip voice talent (Jeff Bridges, James Wood, Shia LeBeouf), but a pitch-perfect script that loves surfing while gently mocking its culture. The funny bits are really funny, and the surfing at the film’s conclusion is arguably closer to the actual soulful magic of wave riding than any live action sequence ever filmed. Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature Film (damn you, ‘Ratatouille‘). Added bonus: Real-life legends Kelly Slater and Rob Machado have cameos as themselves (as penguins, that is).
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