An exceedingly silly film filled with a few exceeding silly pleasures, "Chasing Mavericks," recently released to Blu-ray, comes highly recommended to the surfing enthusiast and to absolutely nobody else. Co-directed by Michael Apted (the "7-Up" Series) and Curtis Hanson ("LA Confidential" and the ridiculously underrated "Wonder Boys,") "Mavericks" is high quality surf porn. The "action" footage, revolving around the 5-story-high waves of the title, is absolutely astounding; and the high-def transfer brings out every sprinkle.
Unfortunately, the central hook, with Gerard Butler torn between his passion for dangerous surf and his wife’s hopes that he’ll play dad to the lost soul of a teenager who lives next door (real life figure Jay Moriarty, as played by Jonny Weston) isn’t quite as entrancing. In fact, I’m being generous: it’s painful to watch, right down to the melodramatic, screaching finale.
Still, if you’re here, it’s for the surfing, and the Blu-ray disc more than satisfies on that end. You get a good 45-minutes worth of extra footage - deleted sequences, featurettes on shooting the wave scenes, interviews with the cast, and also some talks with friends of the real Moriarty. But perhaps the best is "Surf City," a short look at the Sante Cruz streets and culture that inspired the filmmakers and the surfers before them (also included is a commentary with director Apted, along with his editor and producer.) This isn’t just a surf-movie, it’s a movie where the only good part is the surf.