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Life for Anne Marie has been one long Pipe dream. She's about to make that dream a reality if she can keep from drowning in her own fear. At the Pipe Masters surf competition on the North Shore of Oahu, more is at stake for Anne Marie than the pressure of competing in one of the world's most dangerous, aggressive and male-dominated sports. She must first win a dreaded contest within. Sharing a beach shack with her best friends Eden and Lena, and her rebellious younger sister Penny, Anne Marie lives for the adrenaline-charged surf scene, rising before dawn every day to charge the Pipeline's deadly waves. Things change when a pro football team with slovenly habits and fat wallets checks in. Like it or not, Anne Marie starts losing her balance--and finding it--as she falls for quarterback Matt Tollman. Suddenly there are options: trophy wife or trophy winner? But there's really only one choice for someone like Anne Marie.
For more about Blue Crush and the Blue Crush Blu-ray release, see Blue Crush Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 27, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Mika Boorem, Faizon Love
Director: John Stockwell
» See full cast & crew
Blue Crush Blu-ray Review
Ever get that sinking feeling?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, June 27, 2011
Michelle Rodriguez looks guilty. Something in those tough but wounded eyes of hers screams "I did it!," though that same toughness usually masks any ability to ferret out just what exactly she might have done. Though only the second lead in Blue Crush, there's probably little doubt that at least some of that guilt which festers just beneath the surface of Rodriguez's visage is due to the fact that she ended up in a film with such limited scope and such hackneyed plot developments and completely predictable, stereotypical characters. Perhaps due at least somewhat to the fact that I saw Blue Crush 2 before having seen this first "surfer girl" outing, Blue Crush didn't just seem like déjà vu all over again, it seemed like déjà déjà vu all over again, a prefab entertainment with intersecting plot pieces jimmied together like errant jigsaw puzzle segments in the place of decent writing. Just as in Blue Crush 2 there's a lot of gorgeous scenery, and the surfing sequences are fantastic, but, oh for the days of Gidget and Moondoggie when beach films didn't have pretensions toward "meaningful drama" the way both Blue Crush movies do. Perhaps only slightly hilariously and ironically, Kate Bosworth, who first attracted mainstream attention with her turn in Blue Crush, went on to play Sandra Dee of Gidget fame in the Kevin Spacey Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea, though in Blue Crush Bosworth's character has little of Gidget's spunk and is instead a depressive combination of night sweats, insecurity and overall malaise. And that's on her good days.
In a setup which its sequel Blue Crush 2 would follow almost to a tee, Blue Crush posits a world of girl (grrl?) power friends who also happen to be surfers, one of whom is attempting to gain a spot on a professional team. Bosworth portrays Anne Marie, a promising young surfer in Hawaii who is debilitated by nightmares surrounding a previous wipeout and near death experience. Can Anne Marie ever overcome her fears? Will the support of friends and a new man in her life make a difference? Three guesses and the first two and a half don't count. Anne Marie's best friend is tough talking Eden (Rodriguez), the sort of chick you're likely to see out in the garage behind their pad taking a rotor sander to her board. But, hey, she looks great in a bikini. Lena (Sanoe Lake) is the literal third wheel of the trio of girlfriends, a cipher who occasionally spouts a joke or two but who is otherwise a fairly bland addition to the proceedings. For added heartstring tugging pathos, we also have Anne Marie's little sister Penny (Mika Boorem), whom Anne Marie and pals are attempting (more or less) to raise in the absence of Anne Marie's errant mother. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the waves of our. . .oh, never mind.
Anne Marie and girls work as maids at a tony North Shore resort on Oahu, where in between cleaning up vomit and feces laden toilets (no, I'm not kidding) and used condoms (no, I'm really not kidding), Anne Marie manages, just by the skin of her absolutely perfect teeth, to catch the eye of, and fall hopelessly in love with, a visiting NFL quarterback superstar named Matt Tolman (Matthew Davis). This burgeoning romance manages to alienate Anne Marie's friends, especially Eden, who feels she's neglecting her surf training for a different kind of workout with Matt. But Matt's entourage also feels like he's "slumming" again, picking up some local chick who doesn't have, well, you know, the class and culture of other NFL star quarterback girlfriends. If you're not laughing by now, chances are you can probably make it through large swaths of Blue Crush with nary a giggle.
Blue Crush is just one of those formulaic films that you simply have to take on its own limited terms. As with Blue Crush 2, it's best to pretty much simply ignore the plot and concentrate on the scenery, which includes gorgeous Hawaiian vistas as well as equally gorgeous skimpily attired women. As a travelogue, Blue Crush works beautifully, with some viscerally exciting surfing sequences and a nice overall accounting of its Hawaiian setting. Dramatically, this is about as turgid as you would expect, with the actors trying gamely, and actually succeeding in fits and starts, but ultimately everything being undermined by a paint by numbers approach that telegraphs every jot and tittle of the putative plot miles ahead of time.
In the every cloud has a silver lining department, some supporters of women's professional surfing have garlanded Blue Crush with accolades for forcing a sort of Title IX hand, helping to foster actual professional competitive content for females in the long male dominated sport. That's certainly good news, though one has to wonder if a lot of the women stars of surfing are also going to end up being very special guest stars in what I would guess is going to become, for better or worse, a straight to video franchise. Rodriguez should be looking guiltier than ever by the time Blue Crush 15 hits the video store shelves.
Blue Crush Blu-ray, Video Quality
Every so often a catalog release from one of the majors comes along that is a major head scratcher, and that's certainly the case with Blue Crush, a 2002 film that should look manifestly better than it does in this surprisingly shoddy AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. While the first few moments are promising, due to some hallucinogenically filtered footage that may have some wondering if Anne Marie is an acid head, once things settle down into "normal" footage, there's some really ugly edge enhancement and haloing in rampant evidence from that moment on. Add to that an inexplicably soft image, at least with regard to a lot of the second unit location footage around what should arguably the movie's biggest selling point—the gorgeous Hawaii scenery—and you're left wondering what might have happened. Grain also fluctuates fairly wildly, with some sequences looking pretty darned good and natural, and others approaching smeary DNR levels. Aliasing also pops up and shimmers fairly regularly, again inexplicably as this is not a long film by any means and is on a BD-50, so there really shouldn't be many compressions issues, if any at all. Everything isn't horrible here, by any stretch. Close-ups often reveal abundant fine detail, and some of the visceral up close and personal surfing segments look fantastic. But overall this is a real disappointment, and a baffling one at that.
Blue Crush Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Helping to make up at least somewhat for the less than stellar image quality is a thumpingly good lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio mix which is chock full of fantastic source cues from everyone from Jay Z to Zero 7 to P.O.D. The ubiquitous, virtually nonstop, music helps to fill the surrounds to the brim with pulsating sonic activity for the bulk of the film. There's also a good deal of immersion (no pun intended) in the surf sequences, where the roar of waves and thundering shudder of immense water forces really is robustly delivered, often with very impressive amounts of LFE. Dialogue scenes are clear and crisp, perhaps not a good thing considering the level of dialogue in this film. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is also very well modulated. The problem with all of this is—how many people are going to come to Blue Crush for its sonic activity?
Blue Crush Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Somewhat surprisingly (maybe a bit thankfully), Blue Crush has no supplements other than being BD Live enabled, which only featured generic content (albeit a trailer for Blue Crush 2) at the time of the writing of this review. The disc also has the pocket BLU app.
Blue Crush Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Glub, glub, glub. It would be easy to dismiss Blue Crush as nothing more than a wipeout, but when a film tries this hard to be meaningful, you either have to laugh or cry, depending on what end of the emotional spectrum your jaded temperament takes you to. The cast is game, the scenery is luscious, and the surfing footage exemplary, but the drama here is so incessantly turgid, trite and completely cliché-ridden that it becomes positively maddening after a while. If there's any redemptive grace here, it's in the fact that it took a heady nine years for Blue Crush to beget Blue Crush 2. That means we all have plenty of time to steel ourselves for the inevitable Blue Crush 3 in 2020. Maybe by that time they'll have come up with an actual plot and decent characters.
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Blue Crush Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blue Crush 2 Blu-ray Announced (Update: Blue Crush Added) - February 24, 2011
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced Blue Crush 2 for Blu-ray release on June 7. Made by the filmmakers behind the original Blue Crush – Blue Crush 2 follows a high-spirited California surfer girl as she treks across the magnificent beaches of South ...
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