To say that I'm an armchair sports fan would be an understatement. In fact there isn't too much I won't sit down and watch, especially if the scores are close. Surfing though is one of those sports I have little interest in and that's despite living a couple of minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise! Still, when this documentary was released I was keen to have a look. Big wave surfing is phenomenally dangerous and as well as featuring that sport, the Blu-Ray is in 3D which was a bonus. So what do we have...
Storm Surfers The Movie 3D follows two best friends on their quest to hunt down and ride the biggest and most dangerous waves in Australia. Aussie tow-surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time world champion Tom Carroll enlist the help of surf forecaster Ben Matson and together they track and chase giant storms across the Great Southern Ocean.
Over one big-wave winter season in 2011 the team experience the brutal force of Mother Nature, score the waves of a lifetime and come close to death, before embarking on an expedition to surf a mythical wave that has never before been ridden. Seventy-five kilometers from land lies a secret reef known as Turtle Dove Shoal and so begins a mission far beyond anything they have ever attempted in their lives...
The conclusive section of this documentary at Turtle Dove Shoal - a surf break 75km offshore - is simply jaw-dropping and worth the price of admission alone. If anything this segment of the film runs a little shorter then we hoped, or expected, but it's clear that the filmmakers have kept this film pretty lean to keep the pacing, and excitement, up for the viewers.
Even as a non-surfer I found this documentary often riveting, often awe-inspiring and often jaw-dropping. Toni Collette's narration is clear and well scripted and Storm Surfers The Movie 3D (which can be viewed in 2D as well) gives you a real sense of the excitement, and danger, of big wave surfing.
Despite the packaging claiming a Linear PCM 2.0 track - this disc actually comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 192kbps which, while it gets the job done, really lacks the extra punch from the lossless DTS-HD track. There is a single English Captions for Hard of Hearing track which provides subtitles accurate to the on-screen dialogue and narration.
Storm Surfers 3D includes a few extras on the Blu-Ray which are as follows...
10 'How To' Webisodes (20:00/HD): While each webisode is only brief there is some rather interesting stuff here. Segments include "Surf", "Survive A Wipeout", "Train for Surfing", "Shoot in 3D", "Ride a Barrel", "Make a Tow Board", "Forecast a Big Wave", "Get A Big Wave", "Tow A Surfer" and "Paddle In". Unfortunately there's no way to View All.
10 Profile Webisodes (29:43/HD): Here we have 10 segments which profiles the main participants, as well as many of those that aren't seen, in this documentary. Segments include "Directors", "Tom Carroll", "Paul Morgan", "Maya Gabeira", "Ross and Tom's Need for Speed", "Ours", "Ben Matson", "Kobi Graham", "Mark Matthews" and "Ross Clarke Jones".
Mission Diaries and Game (1:10/HD): A short promotional piece for the game and EBook based on Storm Surfers.
ATOM Study Guide (HD): In what we think is a first we've seen on Blu-Ray this disc can be put into a PC Blu-Ray drive and includes a Study Guide for Teachers of Media.
Madman Propaganda (3:44/HD): After the anti-piracy trailer we have trailers for "Man on Wire" (2:08) - which is a superb documentary, and the West Indies cricket documentary "Fire in Babylon" (1:36).
Review By: Dave Warner