Chasing Mavericks Blu-ray Review
CHASING MAVERICKS is the story of Jay Moriarty, a good-natured kid with exceptional surfing talent and skill. When he discovers that the legendary extra-large waves known as Mavericks really do exist and are not just those of local lore, he enlists the help of his rugged and gruff surfing neighbor, Frosty, to help him prepare to ride the giant and deadly waves.
This is the type of movie that is ‘safe’ to recommend to most anyone. With the PG rating you have a simple underdog story of a boy and his quest to overcome his life obstacles diving deep into his passion for surfing. There are hints of dangerous elements occurring on dry land but you never really see any of it. Things like a single mother who needs her son to be responsible for her as she struggles putting her life together or misfit surfers who scowl and brood with subtle hints implying that they might partake in recreational drug use. Those elements aside, the things that make this movie an easy recommendation to your kid brother or grandmother are the can-do attitude and uplifting spirit of our main character Jay, played with wide-eyed innocence by newcomer Jonny Weston.
No matter how well made a picture might be, films like CHASING MAVERICKS cannot help but inspire the viewer to go after outrageous goals, because they feel the character growing and learning after enduring such a challenging process. Even though the training sequences between Jay and Frosty (Gerard Butler) have a bit of a ‘wax on, wax off’ vibe, it works.
What didn’t work for me were some of the casting choices. Leven Rambin as Jay’s love interest, Kim, looked well beyond the age of 17, whereas Abigail Spencer, who plays Frosty’s wife, Brenda, was younger looking than Rambin. In fact, I was taken out of the picture during a moment when the two women converse, because of the mismatched ages. Gerard Bulter’s performance was what one would expect from him. The majority of the time it felt forced, like he was trying too hard, whereas other scenes felt natural. Those who are fans of Butler’s work in 300 will be happy to hear his signature growling yell as he tips his hat to Jay in the final scene of the film. There was a definite contrast to Jonny Weston’s earnest performance as the optimal optimist, Moriarty. Weston was a great choice for portraying the positive surfer. He reminded me of the male equivalent of Mandy Moore in Nicolas Sparks’ A WALK TO REMEMBER.
The scenery and surfing footage was quite impressive. The filmmakers did an excellent job capturing all the details and elements surfers struggle with when riding the waves. Having three world renowned professional surfers, Greg Long, Peter Mel and Zach Wormhoudt, as Frosty’s surfing buddies helped validate this as a surf sports flick. And, as this film is based on the real life surfer, Jay Moriarty, it might be their way to pay homage to the talented athlete.
CHASING MAVERICKS is lighthearted fun and if you ever want to watch a film that encourages your spirit and makes you feel good, this is an easy recommendation.
Audio (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1): CHASING MAVERICKS had some issues with the audio. The waves crashing sounded amazing, but some of the dialogue felt too quiet.
Video (1.85:1): The video perfectly captured the amazing contrast between sea and sky; pulling the viewer into the picture. Excellent video with a sharp picture.
Audio Commentary with Michael Apted, Brandon Hooper, and Jim Meenaghan: This is an interesting commentary, where we learn that director Apted took over the film when Hanson fell ill. If you are interested in the sport of surfing or like commentaries, I would recommend this one.
Deleted Scenes (5:45): There are five deleted scenes total that come with a play all button. These scenes were rightly deleted as they didn’t add too much to the overall story.
Surf City (10:30): This was a fun look at the surfing community of Santa Cruz, California. The filmmakers and cast review the importance of filming on location, the amazing vibe of the city and how the community loves surfing!
Shooting Waves (10:38): I found this feature to be fascinating. I did not fully appreciate the great lengths filmmakers took to capture all of the shots the audience enjoyed in this picture.
Live Like Jay (10:50): This is a look into the real Jay Moriarty and the legacy he left behind. Family, friends and the surfing community remember him.
Surfer Zen (10:09): If you want to hear what surfers get from being out in the open water and enjoying the waves, this is a good featurette for you. Plus, Gerard Butler shares his scary surfing experience from filming CHASING MAVERICKS.