Pretty cute movie
The M.O.W. - wrote on 02/25/09
The cameras of the "Sports Penguin Entertainment Network (SPEN)" follow "Cody Maverick" (voiced by Shia LaBeouf), a rockhopper penguin from "Shiverpool, Antarctica," to "Pen Gu Island" for the annual "Big Z Memorial Surf Contest," which is a tribute to "Maverick's" childhood hero, an Emperor penguin named "Ezekiel ‘Big Z’ Topanga" (voiced by Jeff Bridges).
After almost missing the boat to the island, which is actually a whale, "Maverick" and his new friend, "Chicken Joe" (voiced by Jon Heder), a surfer dude chicken from Wisconsin, finally gets to see their competition -- which includes the defending nine-time champion, "Tank 'The Shredder' Evans" (voiced by Diedrich Bader).
Now, the young penguin must prepare for the contest of his life, and defeat the defending champion, who has been bullying him and others.
For most of the movie, you see the action through the "SPEN" cameras. This is one of the most creative parts of the movie. You have many of the main characters being interviewed on-camera by an off-camera interviewer (voiced by Sal Masekela). The characters talk to the audience this way to tell of their feelings and everything they are doing for the surfing contest. If you ask me, this is the most creative part of the movie.
Another thing that stands out is the animation. If I am not mistaken, they animated actual champion surfers on the waves to give accurate movement. The animators did a great job at detail. When the penguins are close to the "cameras", you can actually see each individual piece of fur, especially in the black fur. And the water has ripples in it as it becomes a surfable wave. However, like all computer animation, it is not completely realistic looking. If you ask me, some of the scenery looked pretty fake, as did "Chicken Joe's" comb, which appeared to be reflective at times.
Character development is only fair in this movie. Possibly because of the young target audience, which really doesn't care about the development of the characters in a movie. They are, however, well written, and the chemistry between the characters are pretty good.
What makes the chemistry between characters work is that many of the actors recorded scenes together, which is unusual for an animated movie. Normally, the actors record their lines separately, and they are edited into the scenes during post-production. The actors who recorded lines together even had a chance to ad lib some lines when the time was right.
As for comedy, the kids will probably laugh a lot more than adults. I really didn't laugh, but chuckled a few times.
Many of the songs used in this film were beach tunes from the 1950's and 1960's. These tunes just enhanced the feel of the movie. The original score also worked pretty well.
There are a few laughs for adults, including some that only adults will understand. However, this is a kids movie, and they will be the ones who will really enjoy it. I can only recommend it for kids.