This high-performance frolic of a flick starts off with C. J. Hobgood waking up in his car to see picketers passing by, carrying signs stating: BOYCOTT SECRET MACHINE, THE MACHINE IS EVIL and BELIEVE SONNY MILLER. This weird little hook ushers us into the surreal world of Dr. Surfwell and his Secret Machine, whereby high-profile members of Globe’s International pro team (who are too busy dealing with fame lifestyles to surf as much as they want) are hooked up to the gizmo. The surfing in the film (awesome, redhot, explosive) is the captured “dreams” of these bedeviled dudes.
An innovative marketing campaign created pre-release buzz for Secret Machine, when it was widely and electronically ballyhooed that famed surf photographer Sonny Miller was trying to shut down the flick because of its unethical used of computer graphics. “Boycott secret machine!” Miller was quoted as saying in press releases. “The machine is evil!”
In fact, “It was all a marketing hoax!” laughs Miller. “The art imitating life really was taken seriously by a great deal of the public and media. Some still believe it!” Um … yeah.
But, seriously, SM is packed with fierce footage of the Brothers Hobgood, Taj Burrow, Nathan Webster, Vadim Nicol, and (introducing) Dion Agius in celestial Indo, Aussie secret spots, bombing Mexico, funky France, and fabulous Fiji. I loved the retro-psychedelic energy of the concept and the weird spacey feel this gave the pace, making it a rather unusual surf flick. In some measure we must thank the naturally-fanged PT for this, supporting the boys as the crazed lab coach, Surfwell.
With a fun soundtrack by the likes of The Arcade Fire, The Black Angels, Bloc Party, and The Knife, Secret Machine is a sharp spike driven into the heart of the norm.
On issues of viewing and acquisition, trackball over to: www.globe.tv/secretmachine