Soul Surfer

(2011)

Genres: Action, Drama, Sports

Review: Soul Surfer

Transcript for Review: Soul Surfer

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Our next film is SOUL SURFER, a well-intentioned movie based on the life of Bethany Hamilton, a surfer from Hawaii who lost her left arm in a shark attack and then made a comeback on the professional surfing circuit. The film offers motivational catch phrases instead of any real insights into Hamilton's character or the religion that the film constantly reminds us is so central to her life.

CLIP 6 / Being Normal is overrated

IGNATIY:
Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt play Hamilton’s parents, a couple of lifelong surfers who struggle with helping their daughter accept her disability and yet still follow her dream.

CLIP 7

IGNATIY:
Bethany occasionally seeks the advice of her church group leader, played by Carrie Underwood.

CLIP 3 (“Perspective”)

IGNATIY:
The film is very earnest, and also very campy. The bad girls wear black, characters say things like “Let the surfing do the talking,” and the special effects are distractingly inconsistent—especially the one that creates the illusion that AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Hamilton, has only one arm. SOUL SURFER is a visually bland movie that really only succeeds at making surfing really look boring.

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Yeah I would like to have seen a documentary on this subject.  Walking out of it I felt that this is a really good story, it’s a really inspiring story and occasionally AnnaSophia Robb has these kind of pure moments of determination that shine through all of the nonsense.  And some athletic kind of cool girl stuff that I would have liked to have seen more of that, but you mention the use of religion here and I think they don’t go far enough with it.  Either go all the way with it or nothing at all because the way it is now, it’s cynical and almost calculated to have little bits of it to please your faith based audience, but I’m not sure that’s quite how these folks actually lived their lives.

IGNATIY:
No, I completely agree.  This is inherently a really interesting story and it deserves kind of a more serious treatment.  You know when the shark comes out of the water to…I had to bite down on my fist to keep from laughing.

CHRISTY:
Yeah, it is kind of like Jaws.  It does look kind of fake and you think like this day and age we could have better effects again wih the arm you’re talking about how distracting…it comes in and out at different lengths.

IGNATIY:
Yeah her arm changes size troughout sometimes throughout the same shot, kind of shimmering.  It does give the film an acidental surreal overtone I think.

CHRISTY:
And supposedly it’s the same effect they used on Lt. Dan’s leg in Forrest Gump, but it doesn’t looj very good at all surfing or just walking around and also Helen Hunt, freakishly miscast as the laidback Hawaiin surfer mom.  I did not buy it for a second.

IGNATIY:
And yet Dennis Quaid perfectly cast as a laidback Hawaiian surfer dad.

CHRISTY:
He was fine, but they made no sense together.