My son is something of an animation aficionado. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a kid of 2022, preferring to watch a 15 second YouTube video over a two hour movie, but he knows his stuff. While he doesn’t love every animated flick, he has a pretty incredible knowledge of when films were made, what they were about, and even what studio were behind them.
And it’s that last part that got us into the trouble we’re in here today.
He and I were discussing various studios’ efforts, with him being quick to point out Dreamworks had created so many of the ones the whole Reynolds clan loves. The entire Shrek series…Secret Life of Pets…Prince of Egypt...so many of these films we’ve watched over and over. Of course Disney cannot be discounted, with an amazing back catalog of absolute classics. But, he noted, there was one group that was on the rise: Sony.
I thought they only made terrible stuff like The Emoji Movie?
“No no”, RD Jr. told me. “They’re on the upswing. After all, they put out what is not only the best Spider-Man animated film, but flat out may be the best Spider-Man movie ever with Into the Spider-Verse.“.
The boy makes a good point, that was a fantastic piece of cinema. Maybe he was right?
He continued. “In fact, there’s a movie they did you might like. It has WWE wrestlers in it, I believe it’s a sequel to the criminally underrated Surf’s Up from 2007.”
At this point even he couldn’t keep a straight face. “You really need to watch it…you know, for me,” he giggled.
You overplayed your hand there, kid.
But I write for WrestleCrap, so what the heck.
I’ve never seen the first one, but thankfully the movie realizes there may be newcomers to the Surf’s Up franchise and gives us biographies of the leads via SPEN’s (see, it’s like ESPN but misspelled!) show, “Are They Still Cool?” I’d note that the original film not getting a sequel for a DECADE would seem to indicate they were never cool to begin with, but bear with me here.
To start, we meet Cody Maverick, our hero. He was going to be a major surfing star but instead decided to save his friend Chicken Joe in lieu of fame and fortune, eventually falling to local bully Tank Evans and seeing Joe win some tournament or something. Cody has done his best to move on, becoming a surfing instructor, but he longs for the day he could be someone important instead of just a nobody surfing instructor.
Sigh…writing about a WWE animated film with a lead character named Cody who is not that Cody is going to have me very confused the entire time.
Cody is reunited with his old friend Chicken Joe, who has returned from a tour. While on his travels, he was able to get a poster of Cody’s all time favorite surfing group, The Hang Five. And this group is why we are here today, as not only will they look and sound familiar, but they are in fact here “live and in overdrive”!
First up we meet the leader of the group, the mammal with the plan!
Yes, kids, it’s MR. MCMAHON!
Now in OTTER FORM!
Next up we get the penguin who views the waves as ripples…because the H is triple!
Say hello to HUNTER!
(Wait, his rankings aren’t all perfect? Can’t believe the company let through such a glaring oversight!)
Our girl in the group is the best surfer on the world stage, her skill cannot be gauged, and I’m too old for such stupidity at my age…here she is, PAIGE!
He’s the Hang Five’s enforcer, and even sharks and orcas meet their maker when they run into The Undertaker!
And the last guy is just big and strong or something or other. But don’t call him crazy – just call him….JC?
Well, I’ll be…who knew Jim Cornette was a perfect ***** of ***** on the Radness meter!
Oh wait, that’s just Cena, my bad. Which is a shame – I promise this show would have been a lot more interesting with Corny. He could have lectured us on how Tennessee Tuxedo would have worked circles around these young goofs!
Lest I forget (and make no mistake, I’d sure like to), I should also note that there’s a seagull who does announcing of all the events. He sounds annoyingly familiar. I’ll just leave it at that for now.
So hanging out one day on the beach, Cody’s friends try to convince him that he is actually a cool guy who folks love and respect. Cody doesn’t believe this (nor do I), but his day brightens when who should appear but…
…the weirdest bunch of random animated characters you ever did see.
And by that I mean, WOO HOO!
It’s the HANG FIVE!
“We get crazed fans all the time,” explains Otter McMahon. “It’s like I always say: ‘a brave man builds his house on an ocean of milk!'”
Paige: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
McMahon: “It doesn’t have to. I’m the boss!”
Where’s Scott Keith to tell us that he loves shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments?
So everyone gathers together for a luau, and Mr. McMahon pulls out his prized possession – a shell that somehow doubles as a map to the toughest surfing spot on the planet: The Trenches. Jagged rocks, huge cliffs, a surfer’s graveyard. McMahon notes they are all going to head out there as not only will it be a gnarly time, but also something far more important: his final surf.
Yes, he’s going to RETIRE.
So wait a minute – we can get the animated otter version of McMahon to retire but not the real one?
Up yours, movie!
With the elder spokesman leaving the group, that leaves an opening in the Hang Five. Eventually, the decision is made that each of the Hang Five will bring along a “rookie” who could potentially take McMahon’s place, so JC takes Cody, Paige goes with Lani, Tank with Hunter, and Taker with the chicken (“In case I get hungry,” he notes).
In order to get to the world’s craziest wave pool, the group must first go through the desert. This is literally the definition of padding out a film – nothing at all happens, and it’s just one terrible joke after another, including such gems as “What did the wave say to the surfer? Have a SWELL time!” There’s precious little action of any sort, with the only scenes even resembling such being the group ‘surfing’ in the dunes and Undertaker scaring them as they are trying to sleep.
As I write this I am just passing the half hour mark and it already feels like they could have cut 25 minutes so far.
Eventually, the crew find a tomb…that turns out to be a surfing hall of fame or something, complete with gold surfboards, hieroglyphics, and tons more. And of course there are booby traps all over the place, which leads to a whopping 20 seconds (yes seconds, not minutes) of action.
I mean, it’s not good action by any stretch, but it’s at least something beyond John Cena telling Cody to believe in himself for the 14th time.
Oh, and if you were concerned there would be no wrestling in this show featuring a slew of WWE superstars, don’t you worry – we do indeed get a match, as Tank pins Cody by sitting on him as Hunter counts the pin. Off to the side, Undertaker rolls his eyes.
Who knew Mark & I were such kindred spirits?
Eventually, the crew winds up at a lake of fire, with no way to pass. McMahon asks for ideas, and Cody notes that maybe they could turn their surfboards into hang gliders. McOtter praises Cody, which causes his head to blow up to astronomical proportions. Metaphorically, not physically, because that may have at least been interesting. But yes, he gets egotistical and starts to take dangerous chances which and put his friends in all kinds of peril.
Seeing what a failure he’s become, young Cody runs away in utter shame.
Here’s to hoping he can learn a lesson by the time this is all over!
So the crew takes flight and goes airborne over the liquid hot magma. Not sure how it’s possible to make a hang gliding Undertaker and his chicken friend completely boring, but this crack crew has somehow done it.
After what seems like 18 hours of nothing, the crew finally makes it to The Trenches. The team notes how there are broken surfboards all over the place, and just how deadly it looks. As they mention it, the announcer seagull shows up again and tells us it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
…and is then immediately struck by lightning, never to be heard from again.
And yes, you guessed it – the bird is voiced by none other than Michael Cole.
I mean, I don’t want the guy electrocuted or anything, but never hearing Michael Cole’s voice again is pretty close to the top of the moment I’ve been waiting for for like the past 20 years.
In our climax, the Hang Five get out into the ocean, with only Tank stupid enough to go with them. I mean, it’s penguins and an old man otter riding 50′ waves in a thunderstorm, that does sound pretty idiotic.
And it proves to be so, with them wiping out mere seconds into the madness.
In the ultimate irony, Undertaker gets stuck by a bolt and is…dead.
But then our hero Cody finally shows up and goes out into the drink to save his nemesis Tank. That’s pretty nice of him to vanish for like 25 minutes, then watch Tank go out to sea in the middle of a hurricane, only to show up at the last minute to save him for certain doom.
Oh and don’t you worry about the Undertaker – here’s Chicken Joe giving an electric eel bikini top to revive him!
Wasn’t that in that old Elton John song, Bennie and the Jets?
“He’s got electric boobs, a mohair suit…”
Sorry, dude. I know you’ve had a rough day and my jokes aren’t helping.
We wrap up with Cody and Tank becoming friends, and of course Mr. McMahon offers him his spot in the Hang Five. Naturally, though, he declines – he wants to just hang out with his friends instead. And so McMahon decides he won’t retire after all. What a shocker.
Finally, Undertaker sheds a tear as he tells us “Friendship is truly the universe’s most precious gift.”
It’s a nice sentiment and all, but I respectfully disagree.
My son has been my most precious gift.
Even if he did completely troll his old man with this horrible, terrible, horrendous, awful movie.