Sky Movies Family: Friday 11 September, 8.00pm
High School Musical graduate Zac Efron might disagree, but the film face of 2008 was actually Shia LaBeouf (older but no wiser in this week’s Lawless and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman). Back in 2008, the young star of teen B-pic hit Disturbia loomed large on billboards around the world for megabudget pictures such as Transformers, Eagle Eye and the Indiana Jones reboot.
But it was only his voice on display in Surf’s Up, a cartoon afterthought that might have seemed groan-worthy coming so close to the highly publicised (and successful) penguin pictures March of the Penguins and the Oscar-winning Happy Feet. Hold those groans! Surf’s Up is the best penguin pick-me-up ever. Cleverly styled as a Spinal Tap documentary (complete with funny inserts of scratched ‘old’ footage), it follows the attempts by young Shiverpool penguin Cody Maverick (that’s LaBeouf) to beat obnoxious surfing champ Tank Evans (“What’s winning without the losers? Winning’s a lot more fun with all the losers out there!”) and to meet his legendary hero Big Z.
Reviving his affable Dude turn from The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges is Big Z, stuffing himself on clams in a hidden cave because he couldn’t face being a has-been. Full of bright ideas and brilliant dialogue, there’s always funny stuff and bits of business going on in the corners and background. This is animation with real personality, a cartoon so classy the music’s by Life of Pi Oscar winner Mychael Danna. It even boasts Bridges singing This Ukelele over the end credits.