(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Johnny Tsunami)
Doug (vo): It's Johnny Tsunami, the Disney Channel Original Movie that got a lot of requests, and, well, I hope you like the movie Airborne, because it's pretty much the exact same story. Hell, even Airborne wasn't exactly that original a story. It's another "fish out of water" tale about a surfer dude who goes to a really cold place and he doesn't fit in, and if you know what I thought of Airborne, you'd probably guess I don't like this very much, and...well, yeah, parts of it aren't very good, but this movie's actually much better than it has any right to be. A lot of that comes down to the acting, the directing, and where they choose to focus the majority of the drama. But we still got to deal with that bullshit story that, yeah, already sucked in Airborne and still sucks here.
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): In Hawaii, there's a famous surfer named Johnny Tsunami, who got that name because he apparently saved a bunch of people on a beach once. His grandson, also named Johnny, wants to follow in his footsteps, but his father gets a job somewhere else, somewhere far, far away in a totally different climate, where, naturally, he can't surf. Wouldn't you know it? His school uniform arrives late, too, and, oh, no! How is he gonna fit in wearing that? Like clockwork, bullies start to pick on him, and one girl feels sad, so she starts to show him a little sympathy, and he tries to find an outlet similar to surfing and he discovers snowboarding. But there's a problem. The people at his school only ski, and people at other schools snowboard, so, you know, he can't snowboard. But this brave Capulet decides to snowboard with the Montagues, forming a friendship with a kid named Sam, eventually gets good enough to wear the cool hat, which... (Laughs a bit) ...looks awful on him. But the pompous bully says he shouldn't be snowboarding, and, gasp! Is he on the side of the mountain where snowboarders don't belong? Well, only a race that'll decide the future of who gets to go where on the mountain will decide all this! You know, a race all rivalries that have apparently been going on for years here, even the principal of the school is a part of.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Yeah, when this scene in particular happened, I was dumbfounded. This writing is terrible, like, insultingly so at times. But, much to my surprise, the film does have a lot of charm and a lot of heart.
(Clips focusing on the film's characters are shown)
Doug (vo): Most of that coming from, I really like these characters, and surprisingly believe the emotions they're going through. With the exception of the bully, which, yeah, I don't know who could save this role, everyone is doing their damnedest to make these roles identifiable. Johnny has trouble fitting in, but he's not a crybaby, he's not a blowhard, he's not a jerk, he's not a whiner. He's actually a pretty balanced kid, and when something doesn't go right, I feel like he takes it the best way any kid could. The supporting cast are the same. His father doesn't like him surfing because it reminds him so much of his grandfather who he sees as a beach bum, and, again, this could so easily be an over-domineering, jerky character, but you kind of feel for this dude, and saw he never quite made that connection with his father, and he's seeing it happen again in his son, and he's concerned and confused, and...even the dialogue written for the mother is either very nagging or very stereotypical supportive wife, but when she talks, you feel her concern and knowledge that she knows how to make things better.
(Several clips focusing on the character of Johnny Tsunami)
Doug (vo): What shocked me the most is the guy who played Johnny Tsunami. You've seen him before, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa...hopefully, I said that right. He was the bad guy in Mortal Kombat and Elektra and he always plays the villains, and he plays them great, but it's always the role he's cast in. So when I saw he was supposed to be the wild and wacky grandfather, I was like, "Oh, man, this isn't gonna work." But I absolutely love this guy. I love how laidback he is, but he seems to take the important things seriously. I like how funny he is, how patient he is, even his dorky laugh. He really plays it like a dude who has things figured out, and is letting other people figure things out. He's just slightly guiding them whenever he feels like he can, which isn't often, because everyone should take their own journey, but when he does, he makes it count.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): What the film focuses on is also very refreshing. Many of these movies focus on how mean the bullies are, or how whiny the main character is, or how lovely the girlfriend is, or how wacky the best friend is, or all the crazy slapstick, you know the drill. But this movie keeps us on what's actually interesting. The kid trying to find his way, the falling out between the father and the grandfather, even learning the difference between surfing and snowboarding. Yeah, they actually do show you some of the techniques, and it isn't just a montage and he's perfect, you do see him slip and fall and try to get better.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): With that said, you do still have to hit those stupid bullet points that a lot of these Disney Channel sports movies hit, and, yeah, they are lame, but they fly by pretty fast. Most of it is just allowing these good actors to be good actors. And in a lot of these Disney Channel movies that are supposed to be about growing up, I think that's enough. I really feel like the important moments that would help kids figure stuff out is given the proper amount of attention. So, would I recommend it? Sure, for the Disney Channel movie crowd, you know, sort of the younger kids and maybe a few teens. I don't know how many adults would get that into it, but it's not difficult for an adult to sit through either. It knew what it wanted to do, and it achieved it adequately well. Grab a snowboard or a surfboard and take the surprisingly decent ride.
(The film's final scene, showing everyone celebrating Johnny's victory at a party, is shown)