Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Massawyrm Doesn't Care That SURF'S UP!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Please. For the love of god. Can we be done with the fucking penguins? One successful documentary and I can't so much as take a leak without shaking off some drops on a penguin movie. They're everywhere. Practically everything's been done with them. So much so that all that was left was to make a movie about Surfing penguins. How does one follow to the other? Beats the shit out of me, but there it is. A surfing penguin movie. And odds are you're checking this review for one of two reasons. One, you've got kids and want to know how painful this could be. Or two, you're just itching for yet another wild and exciting Shia LaBeouf talkback. So how's the movie? Meh. Surf's Up is a cute, inoffensive, entirely harmless little romp through the world of Pro Surfing. The jokes occasionally fall into the realm of the piss and fart variety, with a smattering of adult puns that are far too concealed for the kids to get. I giggled a couple of times, but by no means did this ever make me guffaw. But I didn't exactly roll my eyes all that often either. For the most part I was bored with the story – but never did it take me to a point in which I hated it. So it's not in any way intolerable. The idea is clever enough – for an animated film. It's a Mockumentary about a penguin who wants to be a pro surfer, and has raw talent, but just needs the right training. Enter the accidental encounter with a retired legend and you have the makings of a sports training film. Where the moral comes in is in the lead penguins drive to get the trophy, while his aging master tries to teach him the surfing is all about the love and experience, not about prizes. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but fine fodder and story for the kids. And the documentary pacing keeps it different enough to be interesting. As for the kids, they absolutely loved it. It played very well to the families around me and the kids were fascinated and silent the whole way through. It moves fairly quickly, the character design is unique and at times pretty gorgeous (especially the cool tribal/surfer striations on several of the characters), and it certainly plays by all the rules of a sports training film – so it hits all the right notes of a classic genre. And to add icing to the cake, the voice work and talent choices are pretty great. The infamous Shia LaBeouf is the lead, and does a solid job with it. And who better to play an aging surfer than The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges. He's pretty Duderiffic – but sadly isn't offered the chance to make so much as one Lebowski reference. Kind of a travesty considering the role. Jon Heder is Jon Heder, Zooey Deschanel is Zooey Deschanel, and oddly enough James Woods is Don King. Everyone works and no one seems to be phoning it in. But even as a big fan of the sports training film, I just could never get into it. So I can't really recommend it to anyone but those with kids. While a cut above the usual CG drek, it's still not up to snuff with the likes of last year's Over the Hedge or the better of the Pixar catalogue. But if you're kids are begging you to take them to it, it's not really gonna hurt - so if you're looking for some quality time at the movies with them, this should do the trick. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Don't worry Shia, I said the word Penguins. You're not the only one about to take a beating below. The gates of talkback hell have swung wide open. Anyone not wanting to get into the ensuing melee can drop me a line here.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • June 8, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST

    I remember reading this when it was called Happy Feet.

    by Pennsy

    Derivative much?

  • June 8, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    That's a lot of penguins!

    by el-guappo

    This will be the best of the onslaught of penguin films.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    I want a pet penguin.

    by terrytips

    But no more penguin films. Other than The Dark Knight.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Shia LaBeouf Has Chosen Blue-Ray, and here's why...

    by NachoNegro

    Because he's dad is Indiana Jones, not some fat schilling hack who sells his reviews to the highest bidder. Massawyrm is one of the few contributors to this site with any credibility left.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm's 27 MySpace Friends...

    by NachoNegro

    ...all saw this and were appalled - but then they turned and saw Kurt Russell in the back row laughing, so they decided it was OK.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Yippeee...more Penguins!

    by vezner2007


  • June 8, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Penguin movies?

    by Saluki

    Alright, we had the Penguins in MAdagascar BEFORE March of the Penguins, then Happy Feet, then Surf's Up and then Madagascar 2. That's it, right? People are acting like there are more. And kids being silent isn't exactly an exact indicator that they are "enraptured" or whatever. They could just be bored and tired. The quicker LaBeouf's star burns, the quicker it'll burn out. Thank Zodd.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:36 a.m. CST

    "Careful, man, there's a beverage here!"

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Casting a dude-ish Jeff Bridges and not having a single Lebowski nod does seem like a wasted opportunity. I mean, even if only a few people got it, it would be a nice surprise for those of us who love The Dude and get suckered into watching these films with kids and whatnot.<p>Also, once the Penguin well runs dry, I wonder what will be the next big thing in kiddy films. It must be very frightening, working in movie marketing, watching as the clock ticks away on whatever fad they're exploiting at the moment. I don't know how they stand it. I'd be pooing myself every day.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Bored and tired kids are never silent, Saluki

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Trust me. That is when they are at their most fidgety and annoying.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Here we go again

    by Egheaumaen

    Know what I can't so much as take a leak without shaking off some drops on? Somebody complaining about how they're sick of penguin movies. Talk about a cliche, obvious open. How about taking a more original stance and acknowledging that these three movies (yes, there are only three) are nothing alike? I don't see anyone complaining about, "Wow, there's too many movies with people who wear glasses!" or "How many times is Hollywood going to feature two twentysomethings in a relationship?" or "Enough with the dog owners already, it's been done!" These things don't matter. If you don't like the story, characters, script or direction (as you clearly didn't), that's one thing. But leading with the "Oh god, more penguins" thing is pack mentality and irrelevant. Oh, and by the way, it takes 3 to 5 years to make a CG film, so despite popular opinion, this is not a follow-up to "Happy Feet."

  • June 8, 2007, 9:58 a.m. CST

    kinda off topic but....

    by Francis Begbie

    I just saw Happy Feet the other day and man did it suck ass. Anyone else agree?

  • June 8, 2007, 10:04 a.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    Okay, time to move on to whatever CGI animation 2.0 will be. Enough with the penguins, ants, zoo animals on wheels etc. It's just so the suits can make a cutesy theme park ride and sell Happy Meals. You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:17 a.m. CST

    This aint got shit on Animalympics . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . that sea otter surfed on his own tail and beat a killer whale.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Cartoon films are really starting to blur together

    by PacmanFever

    For the most part anyway, not just the penguin films but generally. Still, a cartoon with voice work from Jeff Bridges is pretty cool.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    I Certainly Liked This Movie...

    by kutabeach

    When it was called "North Shore" (1987) with Matt Adler, Gregory Harrison and Nia Peeples. Massa's review makes it sound like exactly the same plot.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    The more and more I think about it

    by emeraldboy

    despite pre-drubbing it got from the usual source with an agenda. Cars was to my mind the best animated film of last year. A triumph in almost every way. it was sad to see pixar eek that film in the way they did. You can tell that lasseter and his team really worked thier hearts on that film. The script was average yes. But getting Newman to voice Doc was a masterstroke. And if anyone can say they saw animated movie with car shaped, snow capped mountains to better cars. I'll eat my hat. Rataoille once again has oscar all over it. I cant wait to see it. The only part of cars that I didnt like was tomater. But the tractor shaped cows were inspired.

  • June 8, 2007, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by Egheaumaen

    I don't work at the studio. I did have some peripheral involvement with this film, but I'm not jumping up and down screaming "See it! See it! See it!" If the trailers don't interest you, then stay home. All I'm saying is don't disqualify it automatically over this ridiculous "No more penguins!" pack mentality. How does saying that make me a shill?

  • June 8, 2007, 11:11 a.m. CST

    No subtext to denounce in this one, Massa?

    by FluffyUnbound

    Didn't this site go after Happy Feet because it was an evil attempt to brainwash children to doubt religion? I guess Surf's Up is properly deity-friendly.

  • June 8, 2007, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Wow- Another negatve Massqwyrm review

    by SkinJob69

    Massa- While I have no doubt that Surf's Up is lame (the trailers were enough to convince me of that), seeing another negative post from you is tiresome. Seriously. The last review I read (or will read) from you was for Mr. Brooks (big suprise- you blasted it). Your complaints about the film seemed overblown (e.g. the unnecessary Demi Moore character somehow ruins the movie), and this was confirmed when I saw the film a few days later. I realize opinions on films will vary between individuals, but your criticisms in many cases seem out-of-proportion to a movie's "crimes". This issue extends to your talkback posts as well. I recall your particularly obnoxious posts a while back criticizing Moriarity and what you labeled as his "abortion of a screenplay", etc. WTF was up with that, Massa? Moriarity is a rock-solid contributor to AICN and appears to be quite friendly (not qualities many would attribute to you, I'm afraid). While you and Mori may have made peace afterward, it doesn't explain or excuse the level of mean-spiritedness you displayed. Maybe you'd benefit from anger management classes (or a good blowjob), but until then the less spewage from you on the site the better, I'd say.

  • June 8, 2007, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by Quin the Eskimo

    Who (Harry) did you piss off to the point where you are sentenced to reviewing kid movies from hell? What kind of unholy discipline is this! Also, the Ant Bully should have given Krushev a co-writer credit. Good call.

  • June 8, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Egheaumaen and Gonzo

    by SavageDragoner

    Wow Gonzo, you totally called that one. Egheaumaen, first of all, just you admitting that you had "peripheral" involvement with the film makes your opinion biased and therefore suspect. Yes, you should always watch a film based on its own merits, blah blah blah, but no one can ignore the sheepish, pack mentality of Hollywood, and the fact that 4 or 5 years ago, penguins were just animals at the zoo and then suddenly we're deluged with as many CGI movies of them as there are reality TV shows (yes, I exaggerate; sue me). And it's true, as you say that such features take years to develop, but it is the IDEA that circulates in Hollywood first, and then these studios race each other to see who can get to theaters first. If Surf's Up had come out first, we would be calling Happy Feet a cheap rip-off. So don't try to convince us that these are all totally original concepts, each as unique as winter snowflakes, that just happened to arrive in theaters within roughly a few years of each other; I'm just not having it...

  • June 8, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    It is becoming increasingly clear

    by emeraldboy

    that the talkbackers thing of kicking all movies is getting tiresome. if none of the talkbackers like movies, then why go? Every film gets the same treatment. Either in the run to its release or during its. Its like what the alkbackers are saying is that all films bad. none of them are. We gets idiots like massawrym saying dont go to Ant bully cause its a basically a kids film disguised as commie manifesto. What i would love to see is talkback praising films rather then the usual its sucks. Thats not criticism. If you dont like something say why you dont like. This "guys a hack" or bay sucks cock and is coke head sounds dumb. I think its about this site smartened itself. and grew up. A huge revamp is in order.

  • June 8, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    That's the funniest Massa avatar ever

    by GiggityGoo

    I don't normally enjoy Lautaro's column, but damn if that cartoon didn't make me spit tea all over my monitor. "The Ant Bully is about communists"! That's the funniest fucking thing I've read in ages!

  • June 8, 2007, 12:11 p.m. CST

    I want a remake of Miami Vice with penguins!

    by Spandau Belly

    A penguins with a handlebar mustaches and white suits riding around in a speedboat. Bring it on!

  • June 8, 2007, 12:15 p.m. CST


    by PwnedByStallone

    "I can't so much as take a leak without shaking off some drops on a penguin movie." <br> <br> I've had my differences with you but that was fucking hilarious.

  • June 8, 2007, 12:28 p.m. CST


    by Massawyrm 1

    <P>Skinjob - you need to go back and double check what you're talking about. Mori and I indeed have had our differences. As a result I never slag him, nor even mention him in talkback in a negative fashion whatsoever. He doesn't find me funny so I don't even kid around with him. I never wrote anything about his screenplay - and refuse to review his work because I believe it is a conflict of interest, and that I am absolutely nowhere near unbiased when it comes to him. I don't know who slagged him in talkback, but that wasn't me. Seriously, figure out who that was, because guys like you saying things lkike this in talkback is EXACTLY how stupid shit gets started. And I don't need anymore stupid shit in my life. As to negativity - I think you need to go through and read some more of my reviews. I tend to be positive.</p> <P>Emeraldboy - go back and reread the Ant Bully review. I thought the communist thing was funny and played it up as a joke. The only reason I cautioned against it was because it was pretty lame. I just thought it was weird to have the message and ideals it had. And I wasn't alone. Methinks you've built this review up a bit in your head and need to reexamine it in context to see the intended humor.</p>

  • June 8, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST


    by emeraldboy

    it wasnt just me on this talkback who didnt see the communist joke. I know of one reviewer in Ireland who thought that it was all a metphor for Iraq. Bonkers....... it just a film. There is a reviwer where I come from who disagrees with Mark kermodes contention that Alien has some deep meaning> acording to Dave Fanning. alien is monster movie and thats all. Personally. I can see merit in both arguments.

  • June 8, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    I still believe its a plant

    by council estate scumbag

    no one can be that enthusiastic about this film. from what i've heard its derivative of "the pebble and the penguin". I'm more excited about it than "Open season", but Sony DO need to step up their game if they seriously want to challenge Pixar and dreamworks.thanks for deleting my post by the way. that wsnt necsesary

  • June 8, 2007, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Massas review (or was it non-review?)

    by Kragmose

    Of Happy Feet was one of the best I've ever read here.. Though I did not agree with him.

  • June 8, 2007, 12:53 p.m. CST


    by Kragmose

    So this is basically Happy Feet, only without the anti-religion propaganda?

  • June 8, 2007, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Oh man, Nice Marmot, I loved Animalympics as a kid.

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    Especially Bolt Jenkins, the track and field star alligator with the John Travolta Brooklyn accent. "He started out life as a handbag, and was told he'd never walk again."

  • June 8, 2007, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Massa gets stuck reviewing bad movies

    by Spandau Belly

    I don't think he's a negative person. In fact, I find him pretty forgiving of mediocre movies in his reviews. He mostly reviews movies that I never even had the most remote interest in seeing, which is why I read most of his reviews, to confirm my doubts on any given project and chat with my talkbacker mates.<br><br>If you guys calling him a 'movie basher by default' look at the movies he gets stuck reviewing you'd realize he's not negative, he's just stuck walking the crap beat. That's all.<br><br>And please, if there's one writer we all need to unite and get kicked off this site it's MiraJeff and we all know it.

  • June 8, 2007, 1:29 p.m. CST

    I demand a 10 year moratorium on movies with

    by superninja


  • June 8, 2007, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Also, finally saw Happy Feet when I was at

    by superninja

    home sick, and what a stupid movie. Showing your kids that hogswollop is child abuse.

  • June 8, 2007, 1:47 p.m. CST

    I saw Happy Feet on the way to London

    by Kentucky Colonel

    after watching Casino Royale and Notes on a Scandal. What a letdown after those two! But no way was I gonna watch "The Pursuit of Happyness"...imagine walking out on that one at 37,000 ft.

  • June 8, 2007, 1:59 p.m. CST

    This looks like Penguin-Porn...

    by The Dum Guy

    Wait a minute, I think I've found a new niche that hasn't been explored yet.

  • June 8, 2007, 2 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm obviously did not see this show

    by THE FAN

    Wow it's amazing that you can write up a review for a show that you have never even seen. It sounds like he gathered up information fromm looking at the clips online aswell as the other reviews that anyone can read. I think I have even read some of the same quotes from another review. Hey Massawyrm why don't you go see the film next time before you review it.

  • June 8, 2007, 2 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm obviously did not see this show

    by THE FAN

    Wow it's amazing that you can write up a review for a show that you have never even seen. It sounds like he gathered up information from looking at the clips online aswell as the other reviews that anyone can read. I think I have even read some of the same quotes from another review. Hey Massawyrm why don't you go see the film next time before you review it.

  • June 8, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Kinda lackluster review.

    by Borgnine JR

    It's missing the studied hyperbole of most of Massa's reviews. Keep taking that Zoloft buddy, so we can have the old Massa back!

  • June 8, 2007, 4:42 p.m. CST

    jon heder did a voice-over cameo in monster house...

    by jig98

    as that fat geek pizza guy playing that "ghost n' goblins" game and telling the kids about the house. or why it's a monster in the first place. i look forward to hearing him as the chicken in this. but, he should try to disguise his voice a little bit for next time so we don't get images of napoleon dynamite in our heads every fucking time. k?

  • June 8, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST

    and happy feet WAS a good movie....

    by jig98

    you don't get anyone better than robin williams to deliver hispanic comedic timing and as a penguin. and yeah, let's try and cut down on the penguin hype after surf's up makes huge bank.

  • June 8, 2007, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Best Massawyrm avatar - Keep it!

    by Lando Griffin

    I liked Happy Feet until it bludgeoned me with its message at the end. Note to studios - subtlety does work.</p>The kids want to see this one this weekend but I am uninterested. I'll wait til dvd.</p> Can someone PLEASE point me to the Mori vs. Massa debacle. I don't think I've ever heard that one. Should be funny.

  • June 8, 2007, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah, anyone who admits that they "guffaw"

    by Lando Griffin

    should be kicked in the balls...repeatedly

  • June 8, 2007, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Happy Feet is sooo terrible. There is just something

    by superninja

    really awful and condescinding about it. The stereotypes are ridiculous.

  • June 8, 2007, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Hostel + Penguins

    by BillyPilgrim

    Igloo : a tale of horror for 3 penguins looking for a good time far from home. Penguin torture pr0n. Welcome to the future.

  • June 8, 2007, 7:23 p.m. CST

    The Pebble and the Penguin trumps all others.

    by jedicaboose

    Now that was a good penguin movie, and all others are pale copies of it. Its a shame everyone's forgotten about it.

  • June 8, 2007, 8 p.m. CST

    Do any of the penguins attempted to be raped?

    by Doc_Strange

    Cuz really, how hard can it be to get raped, especially a penguin?

  • June 8, 2007, 8:47 p.m. CST

    is there such a thing as a bad kids movie?

    by Magic Rat

    Correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't have kids -- but it seems to me you could put a 4 year old in front of a 2-hour long car commercial and they'd be entertained.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:15 p.m. CST

    I'll give a nod to Animalympics too. That was memorable

    by Pound Sand

    On the other hand, Surf's Up will come and go faster than Viggo's balls.

  • June 8, 2007, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Ran out of fucking dolphins and dinos.

    by bioforge

    Fuck penguins right up the ass and and all those who came up with the idea of making them fashionable.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Magic Rat

    by Red Ned Lynch

    Don't believe that for an instant. The problem is they like things based on these strange inner workings that seem to have no connection to anything you can predict or replicate. Fortunately my kids were completely unmoved by the absolutely terrible Ice Age movies. Okay, so I lucked out there. Unfortunately, they adore the absolutely terrible Madagascar. For some reason the boy loves Dr. Who. The girl hates it. For some reason the girl loves Battlestar Galactica. The boy points at the television and screams "This is boring!" before running out of the room. And they both love the 50s horror film Earth Vs. The Spider, but I can't get either of them to give Ultraman the time of day. Now might one, or both of them love a 2 hour long car commercial? Sure, maybe. But then they would hate the 2 hour long motorcycle commercial. And I would have no idea why. It's really pretty cool.

  • June 8, 2007, 10:10 p.m. CST


    by Pennsy


  • June 8, 2007, 11:31 p.m. CST

    The only part of Madagascar I like is the part

    by superninja

    where the lemur chief sings that horrible reggaeton song. And that's because it's so deliberately annoying that it's funny.

  • June 8, 2007, 11:33 p.m. CST

    You should not show your children mindless images

    by superninja

    it will make them stupid and give them ADD with the rapid movement. Everything communicates something. Kids stuff that communicates crap is just as bad as adult content that communicates crap.

  • June 9, 2007, 12:07 a.m. CST

    enough penguin movies

    by posbasso

    March of the Penguins. Farce of the Penguins. Madagascar. Madagascar II. Happy Feet. Surf's Up. All in a 3-year span. Enough.

  • June 9, 2007, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Farce of the Penguins has Penguin porn in it

    by Mace Tofu

    For anyone looking for that (Sam Jackson gotta eat).

  • June 9, 2007, 10:15 a.m. CST

    thank god this is a flop

    by Rupee88

    It did shitty this weekend. Maybe it will do better internationaly or on DVD, but it's nice to see one shitty CGI film not clean up at the box office..ahhahhahaahahahaa!

  • June 9, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Also, if this produces a rash of animated movies

    by superninja

    where animals surf - ANNOYING!

  • June 9, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST

    So Massa what you're saying is this film is essentially

    by half vader

    "Wax on, wax off"?! Haw!

  • June 10, 2007, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Again with the Madagascar 2? WhenTF did that come out?

    by half vader

    Stop trying to gild the lily. It's not out 'til what, 2008? Yeah the first film forgot what it's initial hackneyed point was, but that has nothing to do with the four penguins who you're all trying to make out were the stars of the show, when they were only the subplot/b story. <p> And enough with the "Happy Feet is anti-religion", you morons. Go back and look at it again and realise that even Mumble is NOT an athiest, just anti-dogma, anti-BLIND faith, like the film. He NEVER disparages their deity. Whether you think the film is any good or not, that criticism is incorrect regardless. Stop embarrassing yourselves. My God, if you people lived a few decades earlier you'd be whingeing about "Why do they keep putting out cartoons with MICE in them?" or "ENOUGH with Bugs Bunny already! After decades of the SAME GUY we want something NEW" or "WTF is with the tired Disney thing of ripping off FAIRY TALES all the time?" or absolutely "The fucking Road Runner and Coyote are the SAME EVERY SINGLE TIME" thereby missing the whole point completely. And you'd probably be blaming the 2d animated medium just like you blame cg now, or penguins, or animals. Stupes. You guys make me cranky sometimes.

  • June 10, 2007, 6:03 a.m. CST

    Massa- You were right...

    by SkinJob69

    about the obnoxious talkbacker. It took a while to find it, but it looks like I confused you with miraJeff (sorry,man...both names start with 'm' and have 3 syllables- not a great excuse, I realize). The posts slagging Mori came from miraJeff, TomBodet, and moto on this TB-- Probably one of the most toxic TB's ever seen on aicn- and that's saying something. Again, I apologize for any stupid shit I caused in your life :) maybe I'm the one who needs the aforementioned blowjob...

  • June 10, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Yeah that illustration was great Latauro

    by half vader

    Now get back to work and write your monthly column ya slack bastard.

  • June 11, 2007, 3:44 a.m. CST

    Yeah? Well...

    by SebastianHaff

    That's just like, your opinion, man.