Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ross Clark-Jones, Tom Carroll, Ben Matson
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Justin McMillan, Christopher Nelius
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/14/2013

Storm Surfers 3D (2013)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wave Dwellers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Those who see Storm Surfers in the theater will be treated to some innovative 3D effects, including cameras taken directly underneath the giant curls of the humongous waves. However, seen on pay-per-view or video, Storm Surfers is really only for surf fans. It's ultimately too shallow and too integrated for newcomers.

In Australia, surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones and world champ Tom Carroll are now in their 40s and spend their winters (i.e. the months of June, July and August), looking for the biggest waves they can find. Surf forecaster Ben Maston uses all the latest equipment, as well as local gossip, to find places in the ocean that few have ever seen, let alone surfed. Ross and Tom's waves are so big that they travel miles offshore on boats, and then tow each other on jet skis to get close enough. And then the real fun begins. These men are as skilled as they come, but even they can't always stand up to the massive pounding the giant waves can deliver.

Rather than exploring the lives and souls of its heroes, the movie is content to bask in their coolness, occasionally pestering each other about being too "girly" when things get rough. The movie does spend a bit of time on Carroll's three daughters, and a single shot on Clark-Jones' son, but these efforts seem mostly for decoration than for discovery. Moreover, the movie employs an annoying TV reality show-style formula, inventing phony cliffhangers and artificially ramping up suspense. On the plus side, though, the beautiful, stirring surfing footage may be enough for most viewers.

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