The Sea Beast review: A squeaky clean seafaring adventure

THE SEA BEAST - Jared Harris as CAPTAIN CROW. Cr: Netflix © 2022
THE SEA BEAST - Jared Harris as CAPTAIN CROW. Cr: Netflix © 2022 /

“Captain! A new Netflix animated film off the port side! She’s coming in fast!”

“Arrg, an animated Netflix movie? I thought thems was extinct.”

Aye, the sea-born legends be true. On Friday, July 8, the latest Netflix original, The Sea Beast, hit shores. She’s written and directed by Chris Williams, director of Big Hero Six, and weighs nearly 2 hours long. She be a hefty film. The question is, will she sink or will she swim? Let’s get into it.

The Sea Beast tells the tale of Jacob Holland, storied hunter of oceanic monsters on the good ship Inevitable alongside Captain Crow and his crew. Their main target is a creature known as the Red Bluster, but their boat is blown off course when an adventurous young kid, Maisie Brumble, stows away on their voyage.

The Sea Beast plays it too safe to be memorable

The two main things I want to talk about are the animation and story, and we’ll start with the former. Naturally, the animation is at its peak during the fight or action sequences. In those parts, the characters move smoothly and with energy, and it provides the fun that you’d expect.

However, the movie isn’t able to maintain that level of energy for the slower, conversational scenes. The main characters are given more detail and attention in terms of movement, but if it’s a shot with a lot of the crew around them, it gets a bit stilted. I wish animation effort had been spread around a bit more. The main characters are the ones with the most polish to them, and it makes a lot of the other characters look remarkably still and lifeless.

A personal nitpick that I have is with the art style. It’s mostly just imitating the 3D, wide-eyed and bright style that’s been prevalent in Disney movies since Frozen, so The Sea Beast lacks distinction. The movie blends in too much with the current offerings. I’m sure from a business standpoint there’ss justifiable sense in imitating the popular style, but from an artistic one, I think it shows a lack of risk and creativity.

The story and writing were serviceable, but again, felt very paint-by-numbers. It makes a fine tale for its target audience to enjoy for sure, but if you’re an older viewer, the film’s beats are recognizable and predictable.

On top of that, the dialog is pretty simple. This is all to say, The Sea Beast is not the type of general audience film that can grip people of any age. It’s obviously geared toward kids more, and fair enough. Just saying, if you’re looking for a movie that both you and your kids will enjoy, this might not be it.

If I had to sum up The Sea Beast in one word, I would choose: safe. It’s a very safe kids movie, and it made safe choices as a film. So, if the question you ask yourself as you scroll Netflix for something your children can watch is, “Will this movie entertain them?”, my answer for you would be, “Yes, probably.”

The animation is bright and pleasant-looking with high-quality action sequences. The moral of the story is, most people would consider, an objectively positive one–one of peace and coexistence. However, if you’re asking, “Will this movie inspire them? Will it challenge them? Will it stay with them?”

As far as The Sea Beast is concerned, my honest answer is no. It’s too safe and too clean, and as a result just ends up a little boring. I don’t think that’s something only an adult would feel either. I’ll give my respects to The Sea Beast, since it is a good animated movie about sailors, leviathans, the seven seas, and a bottle of rum, but stories like that need some dirt and barnacles to them, even if it’s for children.

Grade: C+

Next. Every new movie coming out this weekend. dark