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DVD Review: Chasing Mavericks

February 26, 2013

Chasing Mavericks Blu-ray CoverChasing Mavericks – A 20th Century Fox Release

DVD Release Date: February 26th, 2013

Rated PG for thematic elements

Running time: 116 minutes

Curtis Hanson (dir.)

Michael Apted (dir.)

Kario Salem (screenplay)

Jim Meenaghan (story)

Brandon Hooper (story)

Gerard Butler as Frosty Hesson

Jonny Weston as Jay Moriarity

Elisabeth Shue as Kristy Moriarity

Leven Rambin as Kim Moriarity

Our reviews below:


Chasing Mavericks DVD Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) is a California teenager who struggles at home and takes refuge in the world of surfing.  After he discovers the existence of the mythical Mavericks, a series of huge waves that can put you under water for several minutes, he reaches out to local surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) to help him train.  The two change each other in unexpected ways as they form a bond, both learning to finally confront their fears and face the waves.

Although Chasing Mavericks often has the feel of a TV movie and certain scenes are melodramatic, the true story behind the film is an interesting and even inspirational one.  The scenery is always nice to watch and the footage of the waves is beautifully captured, providing some of the best scenes.  As a wholesome family film designed to inspire teenagers to follow their dreams, Chasing Mavericks works about as well as you can expect.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with co-director Michael Apted and two of the writers, deleted scenes and four featurettes.


Chasing Mavericks DVD Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Based on a true story, Chasing Mavericks is about teenager Jay Moriarity (who would later become a surfing legend, played here by Jonny Weston), who learns to surf after being saved by local surfing legend Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) when a wave knocks him into the water at age 8.  By the time he is 15 and one of the best young surfers in the area, he discovers that a supposed mythical wave called ‘mavericks’ is real – and comes to shore close to where he lives.  After convincing Frosty that he is going to surf that wave whether he helps him or not, Frosty agrees to train him – if only to survive one of the largest surfable waves on Earth.

The film plays out a bit like a Hallmark movie, but it has inspirational tones about following a seemingly impossible dream, and features some stunning footage of real world waves.  The beauty of the ocean put on screen is one of the reasons to watch this film.

Those into surfing, or who knew the true story of Jay, will be interested in checking this one out.  It is a decent enough film – certainly watchable – and despite being close to 2-hours, doesn’t feel overly long either.


Chasing Mavericks DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Based on a true story, Chasing Mavericks follows the young Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) as he learns the art of surfing.  We see Jay as a young boy in the late 1980s. living with and caring for his alcoholic mother (Elisabeth Shue).  His father is absent and the only connections he has to the world are his best friend (Leven Rambin) and the giant waves best known by surfers as Mavericks.

Seven years later, Jay wishes to fulfill his dream of riding a Maverick, but first he must learn to look into himself if he is to be one with the wave.  His neighbour, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) is both a surfing veteran and a mentor/father figure to Jay, reminiscent of Mr. Miyagi in the classic The Karate Kid.  He agrees to teach Jay how to dance with the very waves that can easily pull one down.

What I liked about Chasing Mavericks is the philosophy behind it.  In order to surf, one must be in harmony with the ocean.  One must listen to, watch and observe the wave, while at the same time be aware of one’s own breath.  The ocean footage is spectacular.  The waves display a beautiful, almost frost-like combination of blue and green, topped with pure white foam.

In one scene, Frosty brings Jay underwater to a reef, where they watch as a seal and a great white shark swim gracefully by.  While Jay is initially frightened by the shark, Frosty gently teaches him to respect the ocean and its inhabitants, to be aware of their majesty, power and grace without turning to panic.  This peaceful and reflective moment is shaken by the sight of a gun toting boat captain, whose idea of “safety” lies in a firearm.  (Don’t worry, the gun is never fired).  This really reflects the contrasting attitudes that often occur when we share our world with predatory wildlife.

Chasing Mavericks is a family friendly movie that inspires viewers to live in humanity with our natural world.  While the ocean can be dangerous to the body, the negative influences of poverty, substance abuse and overuse of electronics are dangerous to the soul.  Only when we get back to the natural world do our souls feel complete.  Hopefully, Chasing Mavericks will inspire young people to care about the welfare of the world’s oceans.


Chasing Mavericks DVD Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

If you like watching daredevil surfers take on killer waves, nicknamed Mavericks by locals, then you’ll appreciate the appeal of the biopic Chasing Mavericks.  Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) was a California teen surfing sensation in the 1990s.  Fascinated since childhood by the giant waves, Jay learns what it really takes to ride a Maverick thanks to the reluctant mentorship of his neighbour, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler).

The movie focuses on the Karate Kid-like relationship between Jay and Frosty.  Jay is a hardworking teen who works part-time at a pizza shop to help his alcoholic single mom (Elisabeth Shue) pay the bills.  He is determined to achieve his goal of riding a Maverick keeping charts of his progress and meeting the challenges Frosty sets out for him.  Frosty is married with two kids and divides his time between contract work and surfing with his buddies, (played by pro surfers).  He has no tolerance for cutting corners when it comes to achieving goals and is tough but caring in his training with Jay.

There are plenty of inspirational and message moments in Chasing Mavericks that are nice to watch, but at times make it feel like a made-for-TV after school special.  However the ocean sequences are stunning to watch.  These waves are truly scary to see, yet mesmerizing.  Cinematographer Bill Pope manages to capture the awesomeness of these incredible waves, giving us a sense of wonder and peril.

Both newcomer Jonny Westen and actor Gerard Butler give good performances, but the star of this movie is the waves.  Chasing Mavericks is suitable for families with kids ages ten and up.


Chasing Mavericks DVD Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Chasing Mavericks is based on the true story of the teenage surfer Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston) who in the 1990s rode the deadly waves of northern California after which the film is named. Due to a number of factors, including the seabed profile and El Niño, waves at this location can exceed 10 m in height, which only surfers of extraordinary strength, endurance, and ability to hold their breath for four minutes or more can hope to survive. Veteran surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) mentored Jay in the physical, knowledge, psychological and spiritual requirements of his goal, developing a father-son relationship along the way that neither of them ever had.

The seascape and brief surfing sequences are spectacular. However most of the film, dealing with coming of age issues of family, job, love and the town bully, rarely rises above the level of an after school special. Mature audiences may therefore find Chasing Mavericks somewhat hackneyed, but younger audiences and surfers will likely be inspired by it.


Consensus: Although Chasing Mavericks often has the feel of a made-for-TV movie, the film is carried by good cinematography throughout the surfing sequences, providing wholesome and even inspirational family entertainment.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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