Gerard Butler returns to the inspirational “based on real events” sub-genre (after last year’s little-seen Machine Gun Preacher) with Chasing Mavericks, a film about the late surfing icon Jay Moriarty’s origins as a master of the waves. The movie was directed by Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential, 8 Mile) and stars Jonny Weston as the young Jay.
The trailer picks up with a 16-year old Jay skipping out on class – and, instead, enviously watching local surfers cruising over the Northern Californian waves. One of those board-happy fellows, a man named Frosty Hesson (Butler) eventually agrees to take Jay as his pupil and trains him to ride the state’s most dangerous breaks (known as Mavericks).
Chasing Mavericks ventures further into coming of age/inspirational sports drama territory from thereon out, as Jay goes through the customary training montage moments (ie. failing comically, encountering personal obstacles, and ultimately maturing into a competent surfer/young man). Frosty assumes the responsibilities of a surrogate father to Jay, as their respective journeys culminate with the latter’s ascent into the ranks of surfing legend.
Brandon Hooper (Last Flight of the Raven) and Kario Salem (The Score) are hitting all the expected plot beats and character notes with their Chasing Mavericks script work, in keeping with the standards of the true-story sports sub-genre. The film marks Hanson’s first theatrically-released directing effort in five years, following the under-peformance of Lucky You (and last year’s HBO movie Too Big to Fail).
While there should still be an audience for Chasing Mavericks, it probably won’t have the staying power of last year’s sleeper hit drama Soul Surfer – though, that might also depend on whether or not the film also includes the eventual (tragic) conclusion to Jay Moriarty’s too-short-lived surfing career.
Chasing Mavericks opens in U.S. theaters on October 26th, 2012.