The Sea Beast is a beautifully animated, heartwarming film about standing up for those that need protecting.
The Sea Beast is a wonderful and heartwarming story about sticking up for those who need it, and is proof that mighty things can come in small packages. For a movie that is very clearly geared towards a younger audience, it is something that older viewers can (and will) enjoy as well. Beautifully animated, The Sea Beast is a very pleasant surprise in the category of Netflix films for young viewers.
What Works With The Sea Beast
Let’s state the obvious first — The Sea Beast is a visually stunning movie. The attention to detail that this animation team put in must be applauded. It is bright and vibrant when it needs to be, but also dark and subtle when it should be. The ropes all look realistic, and according to the creators, that was quite a challenge to pull off.
The beasts themselves are incredible creatures, with several different designs to admire. They are a bit reminiscent of the dragons in the How To Train Your Dragon franchise, each with their own personality and characteristics. Look closely and the older ones will show signs of scuffles with hunters through their scrapes and scars. This is impressive animation at its finest.
The Sea Beast respects kids and their intelligence. What we mean by this is that it is a movie that has a much deeper meaning, and it doesn’t dumb it down for children to understand. It trusts them to fully grasp its intentions, which is very much appreciated. Because of this, the film is more enjoyable for adults, as well.
The lesson here is one of standing up for those who are oppressed. No matter how much they try to stand up for themselves, they are often ignored and still treated poorly. Maisie proves that powerful things come in small packages, as she is unafraid to put her foot down and stand up for what is right. She is willing to protect the sea beasts at all costs, and shore the hunters that they are in the wrong, and fighting a pointless war.
When it comes to the casting, there were some great choices made. Karl Urban does a wonderful job in the lead role as Jacob Holland, one of the best sea beast hunters around. His chemistry with Zaris-Angel Hator is what makes the movie so special, though. Besides Red, the main sea beast of the film, these two are front and center. The way they learn and grow together is truly special, and what makes The Sea Beast so heartwarming and emotional.
What Doesn’t Work With The Sea Beast
One of the only real issues with The Sea Beast is that it starts off quite slow. This is, of course, to build out the world and the characters, but it forces the audience to take their time really getting into the movie. Around the 25 minute mark is where things pick up, and viewers will likely be hooked (pun intended). That is where the tide turns and things get really, really interesting.
That being said, children will be intrigued from almost the start, especially once the epic sea monster battles come into play, but those who enjoy a good plot and story over action and wonderful visuals, will take a bit to get into it.
Even though there are several different sea creatures in the film, we were hoping for a wider selection of them — mostly because they are so wonderful to look at. The film clocks in at just under two hours, but there are a few times where the pacing drags. Should it had been cut down by even just ten minutes, it could have played out in a more cohesive way.
The Sea Beast is a film that will be appreciated by both children and adults, as it tells a compelling story with some very important life lessons. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways this movie relates to real life and current world events, that allows it to hit a bit close to home.
Maisie proves that powerful things come in small packages as she gives it her all to show hunters and humans that sea beasts aren’t to be feared, and that perhaps the war they have been fighting for so long is for no good reason at all, and based on lies and myths.
With stunning animation, a perfect cast, and a heartfelt story for viewers of all ages, this movie is an exceptional addition to the Netflix library, and one that will surprise many, in the best way possible.
Rating: 3 out of 5
About The Sea Beast
In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes – and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he’s saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history.
From Academy Award winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero Six, Bolt), The Sea Beast takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins.
CAST: Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens and Kathy Burke.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.