I was somewhat surprised by Surf's Up, which is better than you might think from the trailers. It's very much a movie for children, without much to capture the interest of adults, but there are so many subpar movies for kids these days that it's refreshing to see one that entertains in an almost classic fashion. The filmmakers behind Surf's Up were obviously aiming for a timeless family movie, something kids 10 years in the future could watch and still enjoy, although by then the animation might be considered dated in some way.
The structure of the narrative is the only real pop-culture reference -- it's shot in faux-documentary style, like The Office, and the beginning is obviously meant to recall March of the Penguins in a few ways. (In fact, the film is funnier than the few minutes I lasted through Farce of the Penguins.) The offscreen filmmakers interviewing the penguins are voiced by Surf's Up's directors, Ash Brannon and Chris Buck. The pre-credit sequence, which features "vintage" footage of penguin surfing legend Big Z and home movies of the main character, is done beautifully with some clever graphics and was my favorite part of the film.