Originally, the kids and I had planned to see Shrek The Third.
They--and I--really liked the first two, and they were eager to see Eddie Murphy's donkey character make for some more funny.
But, I talked them into surfing penguins.
"Surf's Up looks pretty cool," I said. ' Watching a penguin waddle when it walks always makes us chuckle, so a surfboarding penguin will really make us laugh."
They gave in pretty easily. They are only 6 and 4 years of age, after all.
I didn't even have to move on to my other points of debate: (a) That using the voice of Jeff Bridges as the surf-guru Big Z was inspired casting, designed to capitalize on his character from The Big Lebowski, and (b) I've seen the trailer for Surf's Up at least five other times, and I've been eager to see it for months.
No kids in short pants were gonna keep my outta that theater!
Surf's Up tells the story of young penguin Cody Maverick who, when he was very young, met penguin surf-boarding legend Big Z. The meeting affected Cody dramatically; his life became devoted to being like Big Z. Living in the moment, and enjoying the waves. After Big Z apparently dies in a surfing accident a Big Z Surfing Memorial is established, and Cody sets his sights on winning that tournament.
Winning it will honor his hero, and it will help him escape Antarctica, which he desperately wants to leave.
The computer animation that created Surf's Up is the best I've ever seen. Most times what was depicted on the screen looked real. It really is remarkable. And the story is told in a unique way for an animated film designed for children. It's told in a reality show, documentary style. That means there are cut-away interviews, occasional interactions with producers off camera, and dialogue that seems real between the characters.
While I enjoyed it a lot, I'm not sure that the kids in the audience got it. Most seemed to have some difficulty following the story in this format, and at times seemed bored. A saving grace, however, is that the word poop is used at least three times in the film.
That makes any kid, whether 4 or 42, laugh hard.