Chasing Mavericks Blu-Ray Review
Written by Kario Salem based on a story by Jim Meenaghan and Brandon Hooper
New to Blu-ray and DVD from Fox Home Entertainment is the ‘inspired by a true story’ surfing movie Chasing Mavericks. The troubled production saw star Butler injure his back during filming and the movie split between two directors after Curtis Hanson fell ill with complications following heart surgery and the final two weeks of principal filming were finished by Michael Apted. So with all the personal issues on the production, is the final product worth the purchase?
Chasing Mavericks is the inspirational true story of real life surfing phenomenon Jay Moriarity (Weston). As a child Moriarity becomes fascinated by the ocean and the power of the waves. Years later, as a 15 year old, Jay discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, is not only real but exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home. After sneaking aboard the truck of local legend Frosty Hesson (Butler), he sees first-hand the massive destruction and beauty of Mavericks and enlists Frosty to train him to survive it. As Jay and Frosty embark on their quest to accomplish the impossible, they form a unique friendship that transforms both their lives, and their quest to tame Mavericks becomes about far more than surfing.
Chasing Mavericks was made with the help of some of the biggest names in the surfing world, and features some of the most mind-blowing real wave footage ever captured on film. The camera work is stunning and the effects works to put the actors on the boards is fairly seamless. Despite the fantastic camera work though, the film cannot escape the overbearing presence that it is merely a TV movie of the week in nicer packaging. The script is very straightforward and formulaic with Frosty representing the only father figure Jay has ever had after the line of mine his borderline alcoholic mother, played by Shue, has brought home over the years. And of course the film continues on to its climax of Jay vs the big wave that only he manages to surf.
Butler is decent here, you can tell he really believed in the project especially after he injured himself to make it happen, but can only go as far as the script can take him. Newcomer Weston is wide-eyed and cocksure with a goofy grin that works well for the character, but his acting ability is very unpolished and limited and it shows. The rest of the cast is not given a lot of material to work with here, Shue does not appear in much and it feels like her character may have been the one most lost to the cutting room floor or in the script editing phase. And while Rambin is quite beautiful and likeable as the target of Jay’s affections her role is not much more than eye candy.
The Blu-ray features a handful of deleted scenes and an audio commentary with Apted and writer/producers Jim Meenaghan and Brandon Hooper. The disc also contains four featurettes that cover aspects of the filming as well as talk about the real Jay Moriarity with the people that knew him best including the real life versions of Frosty and other characters from the film.
Chasing Mavericks works better on the small screen that it did in theaters because this is probably where the story belonged all the time. Overly sappy and predictable as it is, the film does manage to remain charming enough to stay watchable throughout. Worth a rental at the least, Chasing Mavericks is a mild recommend.
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