Soul Surfer (Blu-ray)
On October 31, 2003 a young surfer named Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a tiger shark along the Tunnels Beach in Kauai. The attack took Hamilton’s left arm right at the shoulder and in the process she lost 60% of her blood supply. Just two more inches into her body and the bite would have been fatal. After seven days in the hospital, Ms. Hamilton got on with her life and had a renewed vigor to continue pursuing her career of choice…professional surfing.
Before we get too far into this review, I would like to let potential viewers know that this is an inspirational film that involves religion. Although the topic is referenced throughout the film and is a major part of Bethany Hamilton’s life, SOUL SURFER doesn’t come off as terribly preachy and is still a quality film that tells a story worth watching. Just keep in mind that this is put out by the same people who released FIREPROOF and COURAGEOUS.
SOUL SURFER is a feel good film that has so many positive aspects about it. The acting is superb and it’s safe to say that AnnaSophia Robb is slowly establishing herself as a player in Hollywood. She carried this film on her back the entire time and she executed every scene flawlessly (and yes, that includes her surfing as well). Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid are always great to watch, but even they were outshined by the performance of their young co-star. The rest of the supporting cast weren’t as strong as our three main leads, but they got the job done and didn’t distract from the story.
The highlight of this film is by far and away the surfing. So many times in movies we see some scenes in the ocean that just look…off. That is not the case with SOUL SURFER. Director Sean McNamara and Bethany Hamilton herself appeared to work tirelessly to make the surfing scenes in this film look real, and they did an excellent job. This writer has never been one to want to go out on the open seas (especially after hearing about Hamilton’s story), but watching this movie will make you want to take surfing lessons and hit the waves. The scenes are beautiful, the camera work in the water is incredible and I can now completely understand why people are absolutely in love with this sport. If you watch this film for no other reason than for the surfing I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
The story of Bethany Hamilton is really an inspiration. Even though she had this tragic thing happen to her, she is still a happy and thankful person that really puts the rest of us grumps to shame. Her determination and will to continue on with her passion is nothing short of amazing. I think the religious undertones may deter some people from watching this film, but it shouldn’t in the least. The story is great, the actors are mesmerizing and the surfing is spectacular.
Video: Beautiful, crisp and clear pictures, it’ll make you want to go pack up and live in Hawaii.
Audio: There really aren’t any scenes to accentuate the audio in this film, however everything sounds fine and there aren’t any complaints here.
Deleted Scenes (3:49): A handful of deleted scenes that don’t really add anything to the story, but are still interesting to watch just to see the “green arm” AnnaSophia Robb had to work with in the film.
The Making of Soul Surfer (12:47): This is a typical making of featurette that not only includes the cast and crew, but Hamilton herself. They mostly focus on the shark attack scene which appeared to be the most technical.
Surfing for the Screen: Inside the Action (5:28): In this short little featurette we learn that every single one of the actors learned to surf for this film. Robb trained with Hamilton personally for a month to get ready for this film. I’m jealous, I’d like to have a professional surfer train me.
Becoming Bethany (3:42): This is AnnaSophia Robb discussing how she prepped for the film.
Heart of a Soul Surfer Documentary (30:31): This is a real life documentary about Bethany that was shot by one of her friends or acquaintances. The documentary really focuses on her faith and relationships with God, her family and friends.
Bethany Hamilton on Professional Surfing (4:54): This is basically a surfing montage of Bethany Hamilton with her speaking just a bit on how much she loves being a professional surfer.