Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Movie Review - Soul Surfer

By Alex Popp

The next "Blind Side"?

Based on the amazing true story, AnnaSophia Robb plays Bethany Hamilton, a teenage girl who is a natural on the surfboard in "Soul Surfer". Placing high in several competitions, she seems to have a whole career ahead of her. But it's all unpleasantly interrupted when she is attacked by a shark and loses her left arm. After weeks in the hospital, she doesn't give up on surfing and is determined to get back on the board, refusing to get a prosthetic arm.

With stunning camera work, entertaining surf competition scenes, and an all-star cast including Oscar-Winning Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood, and Craig T. Nelson, "Soul Surfer" is bound to be the best film of 2011.

AnnaSophia Robb has been acting since the age of 11, starring in other good movies such as "Because of Winn-Dixie", "Bridge to Terabithia", and "Race to Witch Mountain". And she is clearly growing as an actress; this is undoubtedly her best performance yet. Other fantastic performances included Dennis Quaid as Bethany's father, Chris Brochu as her brother, Timmy, and Lorraine Nicholson as her best friend. Carrie Underwood didn't appear in very many scenes, so it's difficult to say how she did. But who knows, singing may not be her only gift.

There have been arguments on whether or not this is a Christian movie. I would have to say yes. Bethany had to trust in the Lord to give her the strength and courage to return to the sea. She does whatever it takes to overcome the odds, as she says, "I don't need easy. I just need possible." And the verse Jeremiah 29:11 is quoted: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." This verse was for a time removed during editing. But when Carrie Underwood reportedly asked the filmmakers to "tell the story" fairly and accurately by preserving both the verse and its reference, they listened. Also, Dennis Quaid reads a Bible. There's something we don't see every day. In fact, deemed too conspicuous and "prop-like," the words "Holy Bible" were also digitally removed from the cover of Bethany's dad's Bible (most Bibles these days don't have much on the front). But after Tom Hamilton e-mailed a photo of his own Bible—emblazoned with big text similar to that on the Gideon's Bible used in the scene—the words were reinstated. Hamilton told The Hollywood Reporter, "I could see the words bright and clear. I looked at my wife and whispered, 'Thank you, God, they put it back.'"

"Soul Surfer" tells the story accurately and is an epic and touching film that surpasses "The Blind Side". In fact, it may change the way you look at sports movies.

Rated PG for a very disturbing and heart-pounding sequence involving the shark attack. The shot where the shark merely pops out of the ocean scared the Darwin out of me. Although the attack itself is relatively quick, there is a lot of blood in the water. "Soul Surfer" is way out of range for kids 10 and under.

Four stars (out of 4) for the exhilerating and mind-blowing, "Soul Surfer," a true soul lifter of a movie.

Review by Alex Popp for The Animation Empire blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?

Popular Posts (of all time)