Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    90
    An awe-inspiring survey of global surf culture, with the power to crush the post-"Gidget" decades of Hollywood stereotyping of surfers and surfing.
  2. 89
    Absolutely unlike any documentary you’ve ever seen, Step Into Liquid nearly qualifies as a religious experience.
  3. 88
    The best surfing documentary ever made. And that includes 1966's "The Endless Summer" and its terrific 1994 sequel -- both from Bruce Brown, Dana's father.
  4. 88
    The movie has dual strengths that silence most objections. Even more than "X-2" or "American Splendor," it is, in a good way, the most comic-booky movie of the year. It's also the human Winged Migration.
  5. Even from the safety of a movie seat, you can just about feel the stinging hardness of the surf. Blue crush? This is more like white smash.
  6. Reviewed by: Barry Garron
    80
    Not only set the high standards for surfing documentaries but brought the sport much greater respect and interest from around the globe.
  7. 80
    The movie's tag line, which promises (among other things) “No stereotypes,” is one of those rare cases of truth in advertising. That Brown also happens to have captured some genuinely awesome surf footage -- often the only raison d’être for such films -- feels like a bonus.
  8. The movie's diplomatic breadth compromises its thematic depth -- it basically repeats that fun conquers all -- but few movies will so generously rawk a crowd this year.
  9. 80
    Like his father, Mr. Brown has the magical ability to take his public on a two-hour vacation. It's the next best thing to being there, and you don't need to worry about sand in your beer.
  10. 80
    Ravishing, often entrancing paean to a pastime that has hooked more than its share of hard-core addicts.
  11. This is pretty much a feel-good film for committed fans and moviegoers looking for some spectacular combination of travelogue, athleticism and slo-mo grace.
  12. 75
    As a bonus, "Liquid" also includes eye-popping footage of the top surfers in the world (Taj Burrow, Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama) -- wave riders who make the impossible look easy.
  13. 75
    Provides a few of the best thrills so far this summer.
  14. 75
    As transporting as its otherworldly title suggests.
  15. Will have even the most landlocked goofy-footers wondering why they never learned to surf.
  16. Brown has expertly captured the exhilarating and terrifying experience of watching surfers attack waves so preposterously large and ridiculously beautiful they defy description.
  17. 70
    In his narration Brown says that he wants to dispel the image of surfers as airheaded slackers, an ambition undercut by his own breathless and clumsy writing. But to his credit he collects some fascinating stories.
  18. What has changed most dramatically over the years is the camera's ability to shoot as if it were stationed on the wall of those rolling pipelines. For some, this is the next best thing to being there.
  19. When it's not making the argument that Surfing = Peace, Step Into Liquid can be diverting.
  20. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Part of the appeal is the underlying theme of the torch being passed between generations. Think how disappointing it would have been had Dana become an insurance actuary instead of a surfing filmmaker.
  21. 63
    Serves up enough action and passion to stay afloat, but at the end of the day it's just not the perfect ride those earlier films were.
  22. If the cinematography lacks the up-close-and-personal drama of "Blue Crush," it's still adequate to the occasion -- after all, like any star worth her salt, the ocean has yet to meet a camera she doesn't like.
  23. Inspires the requisite shock and awe, but a little goes a long way. About the fifth time I saw someone slip-sliding away from a 60-foot wave, I longed to hear someone on the soundtrack say, “That guy is really nuts.”
  24. 60
    The astonishing visual poetry of Step Into Liquid's best surfing footage nearly compensates for the mindless boosterism of Brown's constant narration and the often comically banal observations of the film's largely homogeneous master surfers.
  25. Reviewed by: Ed Halter
    60
    Like many late-franchise attempts, it stretches its material thin and grasps at novelty, overstaying its welcome despite a handful of requisite dude-that-is-so-fucking-cool moments.
  26. There are some novelties, like views of people surfing down sand dunes, but there's also far too much self-congratulation by surfers. Don't step into this not-so-new wave unless you're a die-hard surfing buff.
  27. 50
    Surfing isn't inherently service to humanity; it's a sport whose grace and athleticism Brown captures thrillingly, and that should be enough.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jun 6, 2012
    10
    I Really Enjoyed This Movie! Really Cool!