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Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson
Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue, Jonny Weston, Abigail Spencer, Leven Rambin, Greg Long, Peter Mel, Zach Wormhoudt, Devin Crittenden
Writing Credits:
Kario Salem, Jim Meenaghan (story), Brandon Hooper (story)

Legends Start Somewhere.

Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue and Hollywood newcomer Jonny Weston star in this inspiring true story of courage and friendship the whole family will love. When 15-year-old Jay Moriarty (Weston) discovers that the mythical Mavericks surf break is real, he reaches out to local surfing legend Frosty Hesson (Butler) to train him to ride it. What begins as a mentorship turns into an extraordinary bond that transforms both their lives, as Jay and Frosty learn valuable lessons about conquering fear in pursuit of your dreams. Featuring the most spectacular wave footage ever captured on film, Chasing Mavericks is packed with action and drenched with excitement!

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$2.268 million on 2002 screens.
Domestic Gross
$6.002 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French (Quebecois) Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Castillian Spanish DTS 5.1
Castillian Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 2/26/2013

• Audio Commentary with Co-Director Michael Apted and Producers Brandon Hooper and Jim Meenaghan
• Five Deleted Scenes
• “Surf City” Featurette
• “Shooting Waves” Featurette
• “Live Like Jay” Featurette
• “Surfer Zen” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks and Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Chasing Mavericks [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 21, 2013)

Movies related to surfing probably peaked in the early-to-mid 1960s, back when bands like the Beach Boys enjoyed their greatest success. Even then, though, the films had less to do with the sport of surfing and more to do with the glamorized California “sun ‘n’ fun” lifestyle.

We still find the occasional surfing-related flick, and 2012’s Chasing Mavericks becomes the latest entry in the genre. We open in 1987 and meet Jay Moriarty (Cooper Timberline), an eight-year-old who shows a fascination with waves. This continues even after he nearly drowns in an intense break. Surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) saves him and yells at the boy for his carelessness, but the experience actually deepens Jay’s love for the sea and launches the kid into surfing.

We leap ahead seven years to find 15-year-old Jay (Jonny Weston) as an accomplished young surfer. When he surreptitiously follows Frosty, he discovers a semi-mythical humongous wave called “Mavericks”. Frosty attempts to warn Jay away from this dangerous surf but the kid convinces Frosty to train him. We follow this path as well as connected personal developments.

Which is where the movie hits a snag. I admit a form of fascination with surfers, as I admire the nads it takes to do what they do, and I also think the sport looks cool. There are many “extreme sports” that just appear foolhardy and idiotic to me, but I can understand the appeal of surfing. I’d never do it – as a non-swimmer, the sight of those waves scares the Urkel out of me – but I can comprehend why it’d be such a fun activity.

When Mavericks concentrates on the surfing, it can be enjoyable. Sure, Jay and Frosty throw off a Karate Kid vibe in their relationship, but their moments deliver minor character depth, and the shots of the surfing can be exciting.

Unfortunately, those components don’t fill a majority of the film, so we’re left with tedious subplots to round out the flick’s 116 minutes. Mavericks abounds with character issues. In addition to the Frosty/Jay relationship that dominates, we find issues with Jay/his mom Kristy (Elisabeth Shue), Jay/prospective girlfriend Kim (Leven Rambin), Jay/best friend Blond (Devin Crittenden), Frosty/wife Brenda (Abigail Spencer), and Frosty/his kids.

That’s an awful lot of plot digressions, and none of them deliver anything more than trite drama. Granted, I understand that two hours of surfing would become a bore, but I hoped Mavericks would deliver a more interesting human tale than it does. Everything here feels stale; I can’t find much substance or originality in the product.

It doesn’t help that Jay feels like a one-dimensional character and we never quite understand his quest. He just comes across as a wide-eyed dreamer, and we don’t find a sense of the “inner Jay”, especially as portrayed by Weston. He creates a likable naif and nothing more, which isn’t enough to carry the tale.

Butler does better as Frosty, at least. While the film doesn’t give that character much depth either, Butler seems invested and tries hard to flesh out the underwritten part. He doesn’t quite succeed, but at least he brings some life to the role.

Despite some impressive surf sequences, Chasing Mavericks lacks much else to make it memorable. When it sticks to the waves, it offers entertainment, but once it leaves the water, it sinks into trite melodrama.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Chasing Mavericks appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The film provides an attractive visual experience.

Sharpness proved excellent. At all times, the film displayed solid clarity and accuracy. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to be a concern.

Like most modern films of this sort, the movie went with a subdued, stylistic palette. A teal tint appeared at times, and other sequences went with a golden tone. The hues reflected the nature of the material and looked fine. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed decent; some low-light shots could be a bit thick, but those instances weren’t a notable problem. Across the board, this was a nice transfer.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Mavericks. The film’s surfing pieces offered the most dynamic elements, as sequences at the ocean opened up the soundfield well and gave us a nice sense of involvement. Music showed good stereo imaging, and the flick used the surrounds well. The back speakers worked as active participants when appropriate and placed us in the action.

Audio quality proved pleasing. Speech was natural and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared lively and dynamic, and effects fared well. Those elements sounded full and rich at all times. Low-end response was quite good and brought out a good sense of depth. This turned into a positive package.

When we move to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from co-director Michael Apted and producers Brandon Hooper and Jim Meenaghan. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, sets and locations, shooting the surfing scenes, visual effects, cast and performances, how Apted came onto the project, editing and cinematography, music, and connections to the real-life situations dramatized in the film.

Normally I’d expect the director to dominate a commentary, but Apted’s role in Mavericks gives him a different perspective; he came on during production when original director Curtis Hanson became too ill to continue. This means Apted wasn’t involved with pre-production, so he acts more as a questioner here while the producers offer the majority of the info.

That scenario works out well, as it creates a strong commentary. Apted throws out plenty of his own info, but he also does nicely as the one to help draw out notes from the producers. The track provides a ton of good info and becomes enjoyable and engaging.

Five Deleted Scenes occupy a total of five minutes, 45 seconds. We find “Frosty and Jay Paddle” (1:18), “Jay Pays the Bills” (0:37), “Power of Observation” (2:11), “Where’s the Money” (0:52) and “Jay Laments” (0:47). In a movie already packed with too many needless character moments, these five sequences would’ve added more. Nothing memorable appears here.

Four featurettes follow. Surf City runs 10 minutes, 30 seconds and includes notes from Hooper, producer Mark Gordon, advisors Kim Moriarty and Frosty Hesson, photographer Bob Barbour, technical advisor Bob Pearson, pro surfers Peter Mel and Zach Wormhoudt, surf consultant/stunt player Grant Washburn, pro surfer/stunt player Dan Malloy, and actors Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston. We get notes about the Santa Cruz locations and its surfing culture. At times, this feels like an ad for Santa Cruz, but it still gives us some decent insights.

With the 10-minute, 38-second Shooting Waves, we hear from Hooper, Washburn, visual effects supervisor Scott E. Anderson, and 2nd unit director Phil Boston. As implied by the title, this one tells us how the film brought the surfing scenes to life. We already know some of this from the commentary, but the visuals and the additional perspectives/details make it worthwhile.

Live Like Jay lasts 10 minutes, 50 seconds and provides info from Pearson, Butler, Hooper, Hesson, Washburn, Moriarty, Wormhoudt, Meenaghan, Weston, Mel, Barbour, and actor Leven Rambin. The featurette gives us some thoughts about the real Jay Moriarty and his life. It’s not exactly an in-depth piece, but it’s nice to learn a little more about the person behind the movie’s story.

Finally, we find Surfer Zen. In this 10-minute, nine-second piece, we locate comments from Mel, Wormhoudt, Weston, Rambin, Boston, Washburn, Hesson, Moriarty, Butler, and pro surfer Greg Long. “Zen” discusses the spiritual aspects of surfing as well as more about shooting those scenes for the movie. This is probably the least interesting of the featurettes, but it still has some moments.

The disc opens with ads for Won’t Back Down and Crooked Arrows. These also show up under Sneak Peek, and the disc also provides the trailer for Mavericks.

With some exciting surf shots, Chasing Mavericks occasionally entertains. Unfortunately, it sags when it shifts to character pieces, and since those dominate the film, it rarely becomes particularly involving. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a solid set of supplements. This isn’t a bad movie, but it’s not especially memorable, either.

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