Soul Surfer

In 2003, 13-year-old surfer Bethany Hamilton had high hopes of becoming a professional surfer, and her skills were promising. But on Halloween night, she suffered a shark attack off Kauai’s North Shore in Hawaii, leaving her with a severed left arm. But her intense love for the water helped her to overcome her disability, and she was competing within a year of the incident. Her inspirational story surfaced, and she became a world-wide heroine.

The story inspired the book Soul Surfer, and the movie was recently brought to the big screen by director Sean McNamara. Despite my high expectations, the movie was a cheesy disappointment, and I left the theater fairly uninspired.

Hamilton is portrayed by actress AnnaSophia Robb, and I was looking forward to a lot more from her. She didn’t seem to put much into it, and in some of the scenes, she was less than believable. Hamilton’s parents are played by Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid, and they definitely saved the movie’s cast as far as talent goes, and I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Carrie Underwood in more movies. It wasn’t the best performance in the film, but I think she might actually have a future in acting.

The effects in the movie were hit-and-miss. For example, after her shark attack, Hamilton’s computer generated (lack of an) arm is so believable that after first seeing the trailer, I had to check to see if it was the actual girl or an actress. But on the other end of the spectrum, the shark that caused the attack left me speechless, and not in a good way. It reminded me of a little kid making a toy shark jump out of the pool. For a moment, I was unable to say anything, and I eventually started laughing out loud. I felt like I was watching a B-rated sci fi movie, which wasn’t what I paid to see.

I was really hoping to see a movie about a brave, young girl overcoming unimaginable obstacles to do what she loves, as well as being successful at it, but what I got was a weak, uninspiring Disney-like movie. It’s going down in the books as a surprising disappointment.

Ashlee Crane