Step Into Liquid, a documentary about the various forms that surfboarding takes around world, is a visually stunning enterprise - it has more in it to wow viewers than whatever it is Jerry Bruckheimer's blowing up this summer. But in following a few dozen surfers who are driven by their often reckless obsessions, it lacks much in the way of deep insight, which leaves it falling short of great documentary filmmaking. On the other hand, what it lacks in human detail is more than made up for in its constant, jawdropping shots of massive waves climbing, cycling, and spraying for 90 minutes. Plan your pre-show soft drink purchases accordingly.
Writer-director Dana Brown clearly had a blast burning through the film's travel budget. From Hawaii to Vietnam to Easter Island, his crew captures some gorgeous footage of surfers at play (or at work, depending on how you look at it). Regardless of where he travels, surfers world-wide all share a childlike wonder at how much fun they get to have in the water. Off the coast of Galveston, Texas, Brown follows a group who find pleasure in surfing on the wakes of the massive supertankers that pass through; in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he discovers a group of decidedly un-buff men cruising the modest tides of Lake Michigan, offering surfer-dude talk in Midwestern accents.
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