This sequel to director Bruce Brown's classic 1964 surfing pseudo-documentary THE ENDLESS SUMMER once again follows two young California surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave.
The film begins with a brief but informative look at how surfing has evolved since Brown's first film. Once a longboard sport, surfing now features short boards, "Boogie" boards, waverunners, and windsurfers. (Its appeal has grown over the last thirty years, as well: though it still attracts its
share of California "surf punks," the sport also boasts enthusiasts of various ages and nationalities.) We're introduced to Pat O'Connell and Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, a pair of California boys who, while watching THE ENDLESS SUMMER for the 100th time, decide to circumnavigate the globe, visiting
some of surfing's most beautiful and challenging beaches. Using $7,000 Pat won in a surfing contest, the duo travel to Costa Rica, France, South Africa, Fiji, Australia, Bali, and Java, testing (and being tested by) the waves at each stop. Aiding them in their travels are some of the most famous
and influential surfers of the past two decades, including Robert August (who was one of the travellers from the first film), Tommy Curran, John Whitmore, Shaun Thompson, Kelly Slater, Jeff Booth, Tom Carroll, Nat Young, Gerry Lopez, and Laird Hamilton. At the end of their trip Pat and Wingnut
return to California, perhaps a bit wiser in the nuances of their craft.
In 1964, when Brown's first ENDLESS SUMMER was released to surprising success, there just weren't many movies that took a serious look at surfing and its practitioners. As Brown himself points out, though, the popularity of surfing has skyrocketed in the intervening thirty years; that increase in
popularity has created a proliferation of surfing videos and films, from "how-to" videos to ESPN coverage of surf competitions to movies like POINT BREAK. Inevitably, then, THE ENDLESS SUMMER II lacks the first film's freshness. That's not to say it isn't worth watching, though. As the film's
narrator, Brown has an engaging and entertaining style (if you can get past the frequent use of surfer jargon like "stoked," "ripping," and "in the barrel"). He tries to perk up the non-surfing scenes by focusing on each locale's customs and eccentricities; however, too many of these scenes
deteriorate into weak comic contrivances, such as the scene in which Pat "accidentally" orders escargot at a French restaurant, or the many times Pat and Wingnut end up running from elephants, lions, sea snakes, spiders, bats, or crocodiles.
The film's real strength is its depiction of surfing, and nowhere is the filmmakers' love for surfing more evident than in the scenes shot in, and often under, the water--scenes that afford us an intimate look at the beauty, grace, and sheer fun of the sport. The exuberance and flamboyant style
displayed by the surfers is enough to prompt almost anyone to go out and price surfboards. Setting the tone for these scenes is the soundtrack by guitarist Gary Hoey, who effectively splices together fuzzy speed-riff guitar and twangy surf rock, even playing one song with surf guitar legend Dick
Dale. (Brief nudity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: This sequel to director Bruce Brown's classic 1964 surfing pseudo-documentary THE ENDLESS SUMMER once again follows two young California surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave. The film begins with a brief but informative look at how surf… (more)