Shia LaBeouf hasn’t had the best of times in the last few months, and is now reportedly blacklisted in Hollywood due to extensive assault and other abuse allegations that come after multiple problems in recent years. Despite making a recent comeback with Honey Boy and The Peanut Butter Falcon, and being in the running for an MCU role, LaBeouf’s career now seems to be at a standstill. Still, if you want to hear LaBeouf as a surfing penguin, his largely forgotten 2007 movie Surf’s Up is currently dominating Netflix.
According to FlixPatrol, Surf’s Up has broken into the top ten films on the platform in the US, and is now just behind Hummingbird and Catch Me If You Can in terms of subscriber popularity. The 2007 CGI comedy features LaBeouf and actors such as Jeff Bridges and Zooey Deschanel in a spoof of surf documentaries. LaBeouf is Cody Maverick, an Antarctic penguin who dreams of becoming a surfer.
There was a pretty big push for this Sony picture on release, and was spun off into a large amount of merchandise. Indeed, critics and audiences were generally positive about the Ash Brannon and Chris Buck production, both in terms of its animation effects and its mockumentary style. An Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature came in 2008, while a direct-to-video sequel, Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania, was put out in 2017. In this case, the cast mostly made up of notable wrestlers, while Jeremy Shada replaced LaBeouf.
Surf’s Up was arguably part of LaBeouf’s peak as an A-list star coming between Disturbia and Transformers, and shortly before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. By the late 2010s, though, he was involved in an ugly racism incident, and the latest stories contain some shocking information about his character. To this end, maybe it’s best to enjoy Surf’s Up as the feel-good penguin experience it was designed to be, and separate modern-day Shia LaBeouf from the performance.