Well, Hollywood has done it again, and not in a good way. The trailer for "Chasing Mavericks" just dropped and it looks good -- if you keep it on mute.
Visually, you will see epic cinematography of that iconic Northern California big wave spot, some fine looking women, and Gerard Butler (my wife is a sucker for the scene when he sings to Hillary Swank in "P.S. I Love You.")
However, if you leave the volume at an audible level, you will get an earful of horrendous pop music and dreadful lines like:
"It's about finding that one thing in life that sets you free..."
You certainly can't take anything from the true story. The film is based on the life of Jay Moriarity, the Santa Cruz surfer who famously took on Maverick's in his mid-teens and made the cover of Surfer Magazine with a hellacious fall in 1994. He went on to become one of the world's premier big wave surfers in an arena generally reserved for men twice his age. His untimely death during a free-diving accident in the Maldives was a shock to the surfing world.
The film stars Butler as Frosty Hesson, a real life Santa Cruz legend and Maverick's pioneer and mentor to Moriarity, played by Jonny Weston. Anthony Tashnick is Weston's stunt double and Greg Long plays one of his buds. Plus, during filming, Butler took a two-wave hold down, and nearly drowned. That's some serious method acting. Then on the final day of shooting, a production boat was nearly eaten by a set. ESPN's Frank Quirarte wrote this report last February.
So on the visual end this movie has some fantastic credibility. But there's not much Long and Tashnick can do about terrible soundtracks and over dramatization.
Perhaps Directors Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson and Fox 2000 figure that the audience is too young to remember "North Shore," the Hollywood surf blockbuster that reeked of Hawaiian cheese. It seems a very familiar project. And that begs the question, how is it that John Milius was able to make such a credible and phenomenal film in the 1970s and Hollywood still struggles to tell a great story without it feeling like a 90-minute phone service commercial?
Gerard Butler with a beard kind of makes me want to see "300" again instead. But then again, I haven't actually seen this movie, so maybe it's solid.
"Chasing Mavericks" opens October 26, 2012.