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Introduction
Over the years the sporting genre has been done to death with varied levels of success. There are movies such as Karate Kid and Bend It Like Beckham, which are worthwhile efforts, while on the other end there are turkeys like Wildcats which should carry public health warnings! However, they all have one thing in common; that is that each one features a person or team striving against all the odds to become as successful as possible. Director John Stockwell added another sport to the list with his 2002 release of Blue Crush, which dealt with surfing, and in particular women’s’ surfing. Read on to find out whether I thought it was a reasonable addition to the genre, or just another failure.

Blue Crush
Movie
Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) is a girl with a dream. Her aim is to become a well known professional surfer who is on the cover of magazines worldwide and is endorsed by all the major sponsors. Anne Marie is obviously talented, but she is held back by an accident which happened a few years ago. During a surfing competition she nearly drowned, and now whenever she gets into the water she has reoccurring thoughts which make her doubt her own ability. Trying to help her to realise her dream are best friends Eden (Michelle Rodriguez), Lena (Sanoe Lake) and her little sister Penny (Mika Boorem). The group live in Hawaii and work as maids in a local hotel, however that is only a sideline as they can normally be found at the beach in their spare time.

Anne Marie is preparing to enter a rigorous competition called Pipe Masters, which is basically a tournament involving the biggest waves a surfer could face up to. The tournament is renowned for its danger, and people have been known to die during these events. Bearing that in mind, Anne Marie has to be fully focused, and her preparations are going well until she meets a handsome American Footballer called Matt (Matthew Davis). He is obviously after a date, but after initially being turned down, he manages to arrange a few surfing lessons with Anne Marie, and hopes for something else to blossom as a result. As the movie progresses Anne Marie finds herself concentrating less on the upcoming competition and more on her admirer, but will love get in the way of her achieving her dream?

Blue Crush
From the start I must emphasise that I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. The main reasons for this were that the trailer I saw made it look like a chick-flick, and the idea of a surfing movie didn’t really appeal to me. Well, how wrong was I??? Blue Crush is actually pretty entertaining! Director John Stockwell has produced a script which, while not the most original, certainly kept my attention for the duration of the movie. The cinematography is also superb, the cameras manage to get inside of waves, so you feel as if you are actually surfing with the characters. The film also has a lively soundtrack which gave the movie an MTV feel, and this was backed up to some extent by a young cast. So guys, what’s in this movie that will appeal to you? Well, everywhere you look there are loads of women wearing bikinis and there are also some breathtaking stunts which keep the movie flowing. Blue Crush is nothing more than a run of the mill winner-takes-all movie, but nevertheless it is an entertaining one! I never thought I would find myself saying this, but Blue Crush is highly recommended!  

Video
Universal have presented Blue Crush in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is also anamorphically enhanced. The movie itself is relatively new, so it came as no surprise that the transfer was first class. The image is clear, well defined, and showed no sign of damage or specks. Probably the best aspect of this transfer is the accurate colour palette, which portrays the Hawaii beaches in a vibrant light. The ocean looks realistic and skin tones are also lifelike. As for blacks, they were solid and defined. There was the occasional sign of edge enhancements, but for the most part they were not too obvious. Grain levels were also kept to a manageable level, while compression artifacts were not noticeable. This is a nice little effort by Universal, and left me with very little to grumble about!

Audio
I really didn’t know what to expect with the audio side of this disc, but Universal have once again excelled themselves. Provided on the disc are two Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, one in English and the other in Czech. After about five minutes of listening to this track I realised that I was in for a real treat. Its use of rears is outstanding; waves come whooshing past your ears and splashes can be heard all around the soundstage, creating a very convincing environment in the process. The musical score is also striking and blares out from all of the speakers. Dialogue levels are perfect and crystal clear throughout. This is one of the most realistic and engrossing soundtracks that I have heard this year, definitely one of the highlights of the disc which is a huge compliment seeing as it has no weak elements!

Blue Crush
Extras
The extras on this disc far exceeded my expectations and when I first selected the extras, I was amazed by the size of the list. The first extra is called The Making of Blue Crush and starts off with an exhilarating sequence which shows various clips from the movie. The sequence emphasises how dangerous surfing is and the next few minutes contained cast and crew talking about how tricky making the film was. This is then followed by some standard clips where each cast member talks about their role in the movie. This documentary also gives a good insight into surfing and 'pipe' in particular. My favourite part is where we get to see how the water shots were filmed; what is abundantly obvious from this section is the fun that all the cast had when performing the stunts. The documentary lasts for just under fifteen minutes and makes easy viewing.

Next up are deleted scenes, of which there are eight in total. Each scene has an optional commentary, but the scenes have to be played in a continuous clip. They are from various different points in the movie and are not in a brilliant condition, appearing a lot paler than the movie itself. Nevertheless, there are some interesting scenes to watch and they are a useful addition to the disc. Following on from the deleted scenes is an extra entitled Filming Blue Crush, which is a music video showing various clips from the movie and behind the scenes. This extra lasts for just under four minutes and can also be accompanied by a commentary if chosen.

Women will enjoy the next extra which is called The Female Surfing Revolution This is a short featurettte, showing how surfing has grown in popularity with the female population. Several top women surfers talk about how the sport has progressed and the reasons for it. As mentioned, this extra is short and lasts for just under two minutes.  Next up is an extra entitled Wipeout which can also be watched with an optional commentary. This shows various wipeouts (people falling off their boards) during filming and is once again accompanied by a pumping musical track and only lasts for just over a minute. Following the same train of thought is a an extra called Riding The Waves, which houses two videos (one for the girls and one for the boys), each of which this time show people staying on their boards! The videos are once again accompanied with optional commentaries. Stunts are kept at the forefront once again with an extra called Skateboarding, which follows the same format as the previous videos but this time, as the title suggests, focuses on skateboarding.

The next extra on this disc is called Blue Crush Promo and as you can probably imagine is another MTV type movie, but this time it features clips from the film itself. This extra is once again accompanied by a commentary, a pumping musical score and lasts for two and a half minutes. If you are into shopping then you will love the next extra which is called Surf Fashion. This shows clothing from the movie, but also craftily advertises Billabong. Personally I found this extra a little too much, but I am sure our female readers will love it! Next up is an FAQ which is called The World Of Surfing. This section provides a wealth of information about surfing and the terminology used in the sport.

Blue Crush
Music fans will be interested in the next extra which is a music video by Lenny Kravitz. The song is entitled 'If I Could Fall In Love' and is a typical example of the artist’s music. Following up the music video is the theatrical trailer which actually manages to sell the movie as a thrilling rollercoaster ride, and I am sure it will win over a lot of people who will be interested in seeing it. The trailer lasts for just over two minutes. The final extras are commentaries; there are two in total which each have their own selling points. The first commentary is by director John Stockwell and is really more of a technical piece, while the second commentary is with cast members (Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake), which is more of a fun chat. Both have their merits and I am sure fans of the movie will find something noteworthy in each of them.

Overall
Blue Crush is one of the surprise packages of the year. It’s fun, engrossing and extremely enjoyable. I’m not going to say it’s a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but assessed on entertainment value alone it would do very well. Every year there are movies that you don’t expect much from, but which go on to deliver, and Blue Crush certainly is one of them. Universal have also shown faith in the movie by producing a disc of extreme quality. The transfer is of the high standard you would expect from them, whilst the soundtrack is among one of the most immersive I have heard this year and the extras list makes nice reading too! You may not have even heard of this movie before reading this review, but hopefully afterwards you will be daring enough to take a chance on Blue Crush, you won’t regret it!


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