Blue Crush: Catch the Wave
- Friday, August 16, 2002
Blue Crush - PG-13
Best for: Mature teens to 20-somethings.
The plot: The North Shore of Oahu is famous for more than just tourists and beautiful scenery. It's home to a subculture of surfers who live for surfing, risking their lives to do one of the most exciting but dangerous sports in the world. Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and her roommates Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) are surfer girls who live each day to surf. They pay the bills by working as maids at a hotel, and they take care of Anne Marie's younger sister Penny (Mika Boorem). All three surfer girls share one goal - for Anne Marie to win the Pipe Masters surf competition.
Anne Marie's dream gets sidetracked when Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Tollman (Matthew Davis) decides he wants more from Anne Marie than just surf lessons. As the two become closer, so does the contest that could change Anne Marie's life. Faizon Love also stars.
The good: This is an exciting thrill, from the first curl to the last tube, and it will transform the way future surfing movies are made. Blue Crush is a far cry from the old Gidget movies and more realistic than Big Wednesday, with impressive camerawork and phenomenal surfing.
I've always been curious about surfing and often wanted to try it, but after seeing this movie, no way! This is the first time I've ever seen a movie capture what a wave, tumble and 12- to 20-foot face looks like, and they're not for the timid. You can almost feel the surf and spray, and the incredible camerawork allows you to actually see inside each curl. Never before has this dangerous sport been so accurately portrayed, and if nothing else, you'll gain a new appreciation and respect for those who risk their lives to do it.
Director John Stockwell has also made this a girl-empowerment story, with Prince Charming in a supporting role. Aside from a few digital effects (but no blue screens or fake tanks), the believability is helped by surf doubles like Rochelle Ballard and Megan Abubo (doubling for Bosworth and Rodriguez in dangerous surf scenes) as well as real surfer girls Keala Kennelly, Layne Beachley and Kate Skarratt, who play themselves.
Half of the entertainment in this movie is watching Mother Nature. As producer Brian Grazer puts it: "What the tornado was to Twister, the surf is to Blue Crush." For the most part I enjoyed this exhilarating and exhausting movie that will have you rooting for the surfer girl who thought she could -- and did!
The bad: Flashbacks repeatedly show an accident where Anne Marie hits her head on the rocks, causing her drop out of competition for awhile. The movie also has dialogue about Anne Marie's mother abandoning Anne Marie and her sister for a man. The movie focuses on teenagers and young 20-somethings with a "hang-loose" mentality and includes crude and obscene language, scenes showing vomit, human waste and used condoms, and a scene where Penny rebels against her sister by sneaking off to a party.
When Anne Marie and the girls find a used condom that belongs to a football player, she demonstrates how to wrap it in tissue and throw it away. It's an unusual scene but an effective one with a point.
There's also a sexual relationship between Anne Marie and Matt. After knowing each other for only a couple of days (teaching him surfing lessons for extra money) the two end up sleeping together. Although no sex is shown, Anne Marie wakes up in his hotel room wearing only a sheet. A couple of other scenes show the two kissing and being intimate. The scenes lead us to believe that they "love" each other as much as two young 20-somethings can after only a few days.
Although the story implies that she and Matt might end up together, that outcome is uncertain at the end of the movie. What we're left with is a young, dedicated heroine who aspires to be the best in her sport, but who casually sleeps with a guy a few days before her big contest. My concern is obvious. This is the kind of movie that has the appeal and power to influence a lot of young people. Many teens and young adults are having casual sex or dealing with friends who are (I have teenagers, so trust me, I know!) This movie has the potential to be very positive by showing a person's determination and dedication to a sport (and to conquering her fears) but potential to be very negative in its depiction of her promiscuous attitude.
Since the story deals with Anne Marie's abandonment, we know that she hasn't been raised with a caring parent who taught her religious or moral convictions. But how much more of an impression would the movie have made had Anne Marie resisted sex because of her personal convictions or dedication to her contest? (Actually, she ends up arguing the point with her roommate.) Since her relationship with Matt is a turning point in the plot, I wish Anne Marie had decided not to sleep with Matt because of dedication to herself and her sport, despite her attraction to him. That would have been a much more powerful message than the "sex with no guilt or commitment" message Blue Crush ends up sending.
The story is filled with characters who portray the lifestyle many young teens dreams about (living on your own, surfing, playing pro football, being a part of that "cool" surf culture, partying, having sex, being the best in a contest), so you might want to discuss the characters' choices with your kids.
Offensive language and behavior: Lots of obscenities and crude dialogue. Penny sneaks off to a party where there's drinking and older people, and when Anne Marie tries to bring her back, she doesn't come home.
Sexual situations: Scene after scene shows girls in barely-there swimsuits. Lots of flesh is shown. One character rips off his Hawaiian skirt wrap, and the people around him tease him about wearing a "nut hugger" (Speedo). Matt and Anne Marie sleep together, but no sex is shown. The two get a massage and are covered by sheets with only their bare backs shown. There's a brief scene of Anne Marie in the shower with her backside blurred by the foggy glass. No frontal nudity is shown and no full rear nudity, just skimpy bikinis that you see everyday at your local swimming pool.
Violence: A fight takes place between a few local boys and Matt, but no one gets seriously hurt. A couple of girls scuffle with each other.
Parental advisory: This "PG-13" movie will attract your younger teens and adolescents, but because of the sexually suggestive themes, language and adult issues, it's appropriate only for older audiences.
It's a wrap: I really enjoyed this movie for a lot of reasons but mostly because it introduces the sport of surfing as I've never seen it before. I also like the fact that the hero turns out to be a woman who gets her dream and her man! If you've ever been curious about surfing and you can't go to Hawaii to see the biggest waves in the world, do the next best thing and see this movie!
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