A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Stresses importance of who one is rather than what one has done. Encourages teamwork, looking out for others, taking responsibility for one's actions. "Friendship is the universe's most precious gift." Frowns upon putting a "win" ahead of doing the right thing.
Positive Role Models
While the heroic penguin is courageous, inventive, and loyal and has proven (in original film Surf's Up) to take risks and make sacrifices to save a life, he loses sight of what's important in favor of winning at all costs. He learns a powerful lesson about what it means to be a stand-up "guy." Central female character is effective, competitive, and nurturing; in one instance she forgoes adventure to model responsible behavior. Bullying member of the team intimidates others; he, too, learns a lesson about working together and respecting others.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon action, peril, and narrow escapes throughout. Characters face a variety of obstacles: steep falls, wipeouts, jagged rocks, a sea of molten lava, crashing surfboards, a cave-in, severe storm with lightning and thunder, a giant wave. Several characters appear to be unconscious, near drowning, or in other dire straits. "Slaughter Island" is spooky, dark, stormy, and dangerous. Some loud arguments result in scuffling. No serious injuries or deaths.
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Some bullying, intimidating, and name-calling ("dork," "failure"). Reference to "peeing your pants."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Surf's Up 2: Wave Mania is a sequel to Surf's Up, a popular movie from 2007. Surfing penguins Cody Maverick, Lani Aliikai, and Tank are back along with Chicken Joe, ready for a new adventure in an animated, direct-to-DVD movie that stays with the original's mockumentary format -- a documentary television crew follows the adventures of surfers from Pen Gu Island, where the waves are sweet and the competition among wave-riders is fierce. Tank is still the bully of the piece, tormenting Cody and Chicken Joe with put-downs and bragging. This time, however, there's an added element: Hang 5, a "world-renowned surfing troupe" (made up of popular wrestling performers/voices from the WWE) joins the company. The story includes plenty of thrills and spills for young fans of both surfing and action-adventure: wipe-outs, giant waves, lightning storms, a sea of lava, a high-wire act, and multiple narrow escapes. Characters are knocked out and trapped and nearly drown, but all's well that ends well for everyone. This is OK for kids who are comfortable with pretend vs. real violence. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sequel with its amusing -- if not unique -- surfer characters, along with inventive rivalries and stunts, should satisfy fans of the original movie and may appeal to first-timers as well. You don't really have to have seen Surf's Up to catch on to both the plot and the players. In fact, some of this film's solid messages are repeats. As with most direct-to-DVD sequels to big-screen features, Surf's Up 2: Wave Mania lacks the big-name stars (Shia LaBeouf, Zoey Deschanel, Jeff Bridges) and big-time budget of the first movie, but it's an earnest and basically likable effort. The filmmakers stay with the character-driven plot rather than simply continuous action, and Jon Heder and Diedrich Bader are back in featured roles. WWE's quest for cross-promotional opportunities continues. The wrestlers have appeared in The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo! movies, show up here, and even join The Jetsons in yet another marketing DVD bonanza, hoping to initiate ever more young fans to the "sport" of wrestling as entertainment. It's not as cute as the first adventure, but it should appeal to kids who like (and are comfortable with) cartoon action and some familiar laughs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.