Pretty Hard To Beat

Trilogy's Australian premiere gets semi loose

Taj, Andy, Parko, and Occy put on a good show

So Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Mark Occhilupo are standing round talking about this and that, when suddenly Occ's cellphone buzzes. He fumbles at the thing, then goes comically round-eyed: "Hi…Mom?"

Occy wanders off, doing his Mr Vague act, seemingly forgetting everything else that's happening, while the others suppress laughter at their buddy's timing.

And the best thing about it is: he's on stage in front of 700 guests! Sick!!

This was the scene at Trilogy's Australian premiere, at the Hayden Orpheum Theater on Sydney's northside, where the stars of the show made a special appearance. They took the stage pre-movie magnificently primed, much to the envy of the audience, who'd barely had time for two beers before climbing into their seats.

AI, who'd flown from Hawaii specially for the evening, actually thought Occ's mother was on the phone. "Mom? Say hi!" he stammered, before being corrected by Parko.

Then Occ got hold of the stage mic. "So, Taj… is it true that whoever gets the end part of the movie gets a bonus of $30,000?" But Taj, grinning, wouldn't say a thing.

The shtick was eaten up by the big guest list – Billabong accounts, wide-eyed grommet team members, surf media, and a vast lathering of Surf Bros and their chicks, all of whom were trying hard not to froth at their seldom-seen-in-real-life heroes.

The three – with help from Bong team manager Jezza and of course the Occ – gave away a board each before getting off stage in a near-record 10 minutes, just in time for the movie itself to blow onto the screen.

Oddly enough, despite four openings and perhaps the most sensational premiere party in surf movie history in Vegas a month or so ago, Trilogy has yet to be reviewed by anyone in the surf media. So let's rectify that right now.

Trilogy shows us three exceptional surfers at a mature late-20s performance peak. From a pure surfing perspective, it's a joyride, racing way ahead of anything else released this year, and on the big screen it really hummed. Some of it's beautifully shot – Joel's and AI's Mundaka morning trim lines, driven from black-walled takeoffs into shimmering sun-sparkled barrels, give you a sense of artistry as well as talent. Some of it leaves you happily guessing as to where that sick sandy barrel might be found. Sequences are artfully cut to an unvaryingly strong soundtrack. And the three are just so bloody entertaining to watch on waves! A year or so's worth of 'em, shot by a dozen different lensmen and compacted into an hour or so …it's bound to make you drool.

But the editing, while it whips the viewer around the world about 60 times in less than that many minutes, doesn't take you anywhere in particular, and as a result it's all somehow missing a sense of occasion. It doesn't tell us anything about the three that we didn't know already. Was there really a big duel over who got the last bit of the movie? Taj does, but it's not any better or worse than anything else.

It doesn't really add up to the sum of its parts. That might change on DVD. But as highbrow surf porn, it's very hard to beat.