Thursday, June 07, 2007

Hanging Ten (and Hoping for a Big Opening)

In the tumbling wake of Shrek the Third, and ahead of the Pixar saga about a rat in love with French cooking, comes the tube-riding penguins of Surf's Up, Sony Pictures Animation's second animated feature.

The flick opens tomorrow, reviews are flowing in, and the tub-thumping proceeds full blast:

"Sony early on had a surfing penguin movie that wasn't working," [said SU producer Chris Jenkins.] "It went on the shelf. I thought there was something kind of cool about it and came back with the documentary angle. Reality-angle. Surfers seem to spend a lot of time doing documentaries on themselves we should do it, embrace it and do a full-length narrative like Spinal Tap."

The surfing documentary angle has beguiled a number of critics who -- overall -- give it higher marks than the green ogre's third outing. Come this weekend, we'll get to see how it opens...and if the Mainstream Media returns to its "Animation Glut!" theme song.

As always, keep in mind Dr. Koch's Box office gross metrics: However the picture opens in its first three days, it's going to rake in three to four times that amount by the end of its domestic run. (Overseas revenues are something else again.)

As always, I'm praying for a smash-boffo weekend.

Update: I had Mr. Jenkins title wrong -- producer, not director. Thanks to the commenter for the catch.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Sony early on had a surfing penguin movie that wasn't working," [said SU co-director Chris Jenkins.] "It went on the shelf. I thought there was something kind of cool about it and came back with the documentary angle. Reality-angle. Surfers seem to spend a lot of time doing documentaries on themselves we should do it, embrace it and do a full-length narrative like Spinal Tap."


Of course, a more honest quote would be, "We passed on this, but then penguin movies got big... so in the tradition of gutless executives with no vision, we farted out this pandering turd."

Anonymous said...

"Of course, a more honest quote would be, "We passed on this, but then penguin movies got big... so in the tradition of gutless executives with no vision, we farted out this pandering turd."

Boy, that's quite a quote from someone who probably hasn't seen it yet. Now, I'm going to assume that since you're on this site, you are a member of the animation community. Consequently, I have to assume you understand how long these movies take to make. Is it really possible for Sony to make a full cg feature from the release of Happy Feet? Probably not.

I have seen it and I think it's great. It won't light the world on fire with a ground breaking story. But the animation and effects are great...and the style of the film is refreshing.

Pete Emslie said...

Having just recently seen the trailer, I'm of mixed feelings on this film. The dialogue sounded just as insipidly "hip and edgy" as I've come to expect from these features written by those who are incapable of anything other than sitcom-speak. I suppose it makes sense given the surfer premise, though.

On the other hand, the visuals look very appealing - pleasing character designs chock full of personality. I particularly like the design of the little bird that looks like it could be a sandpiper. The whole cast looks like a fun bunch of characters. Kudos to those involved in their design! (So much better than the blandly sterile penguin designs of "Happy Feet"...)

Anonymous said...

fyi I think the directors of "Surf's Up" are actually Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. I believe Jenkins is the producer.
Ash and Chris are both talented guys; it'd be nice to see more about them and less about Shia, but that's the way these things go, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Having seen too many gawdawful trailers for very good movies, I'll reserve my judgement until I've seen the film.

But man, it's really not fair to rag so nastily on what at the very least is a class production made by people with a lot of experience and good films under their belts.

Anonymous said...

...thanks for the kind words of support from the guys who understand how animation is made. It does indeed take three to four years to make these things - Surf's Up was no exception. When we started, four and a half years ago, there were no penguin flicks on the scene. So, pls reserve your judgement and see the movie based on Chris and Ash's reputation, and not on a trailer, over which we have no more control than unfortunate vitreolic blogs. CJ

Anonymous said...

To the person with the uninformed "gutless" comment...you might want to go over to the IMDB message boards...they seem to have an abundance of mean sprited, bitter people, who lob unfounded insults in every direction...you might make a friend!

Anonymous said...

it never fails to amaze me how sensitive you blog people are to random, anonymous insults from perfect strangers. you people really need to calm down. not everyone likes everything. who gives a shit?

Anonymous said...

one word: poochie.

Anonymous said...

The people who work for 3-4 years, 50-60 hour weeks, on this film give a shit. Their friends and colleagues at other studios, whose careers are also in animation, give a shit.

This is a blog for members of the animation guild, the union for professional animation artists. People whose livelihood and passion is invested in this field tend to not enjoy stupid, derogatory and most of all IGNORANT, ill informed, sluffed-off dissing from god knows who.

Throw out a stupid insult, and a tiny few out of the hundreds of professionals who scan this blog might reply. Get it?
Now go troll somewhere else.

btw I didn't work on Surf's Up, but I could have, and some of my friends, mentors and a lot of people I admire did. I haven't seen it and may not like it(I can't predict ahead of time, and I won't try and guess based on a trailer). If I don't like it, out of respect for the effort expended by those people I won't post slams and childish insults.

And finally-if a guy can't get a bit bugged by someone saying his own work is shit, what is he supposed to care about, exactly? Not all artists are hacks.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the person who posted above in gratitude for the understanding comments and dismay at the hostile ones seems to be the producer of the film. Gee, I wonder why he cares when people make inaccurate slams against it?

Brother!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe their summation of the movie is so desperate that they invoked "Spinal Tap" as a comparison. Puh-lease...

If i worked 50 to 60 hours a week on this dreck then yes i'd be pissed too.
Don't shoot the messenger.

Anonymous #289 said...

Of course, a more honest quote would be, "We passed on this, but then penguin movies got big... so in the tradition of gutless executives with no vision, we farted out this pandering turd."

Oooh my mommy and daddy didn't love me! I need attention!!!!

Another Anonymous said...

"I can't believe their summation of the movie is so desperate that they invoked "Spinal Tap" as a comparison. Puh-lease."

... ???? What movie in Hollywood isn't pitched, bundled and marketed without referencing something that has gone before? This one references the mockumentary form developed by Christopher Guest. You might not like it, but at least it's a different appproach, something no other animated film has ever tried. I give points to Sony for trying to change up the talking animal format.

Anonymous said...

OUCH! I just saw Surfs Up and was VERY DISAPPOINTED. i was expecting so much more. I know Sony is trying to be more edgy and adult than any other studio but this was way off the mark.

renders textures beautiful. story, dialogue and likeable characters .....ummmm no.

oh well. Hopefully we can still trust a family friendly Pixar story.

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