Surfs Up: Better Than You Remember


“It’s The Animated Spinal Tap”

-Shia LaBeouf

From the Top Now Y’all

Lets start from the beginning. By beginning I’m of course referring to the production. When researching the making of this movie it seems like Sony arrived late to the animated movie party. Pixar’s Toy Story was the first fully computer animated movie ever made. And from that point up until Surfs Up release animation had grown tremendously.

Studios like Pixar, Blue Sky, and Dreamworks had been not only pioneering the “Genre” if you will, but were ahead of the punch when it came to the inclusion of certain core elements like Realistic fur, dynamic water, and cute lovable penguins (Finding Nemo, Happy Feet, Ice Age, Madagascar all came no more than 5 years prior). From the looks of things Sony’s second animated release was squaring up to be just another kids movie

BUT THAT WASN’T THE CASE. You see Surf’s Up had been in production since all the way back in 2002. While a Pixar film generally takes two years to produce Sony decided that five was Needed for Surf’s Up. The extra time was spent making sure everything looked, sounded, and felt right. And it payed off

An obvious huge area of investment in production had to be the water. While nothing revolutionary, the water movement in the movie is remarkable. The waves and ocean look gorgeous, with even rain and water pellets standing out, and not in a bad way. Another area that the production focused on was the documentary format. In order to replicate a handheld camera shake, the animating team actually motion captured a physical camera operators movements, which is pretty dang cool.

Last and certainly not least was the dilemma voice actors. Sony luckily was able to snag big names like Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges, while also getting smaller but up-and-coming actors like Zoey Deschanel and Jon Heder (who happened to be somewhat fresh off the growing cult following of Npolean Dynamite). Suffice to say despite looking late to the party, Sony’s Surfs Up was looking Casually late at worst, and maybe even right on time at best.


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