The Sea Beast is an animated epic that goes well beyond most kids movies. With the countless CGI movies released every year, it is nearly impossible to know what is worth your time. For every Toy Story or How to Train Your Dragon, there are plenty more imitators looking to cash in on a trend or concept. Thankfully, Netflix animation delivered something that not only had depth, but a real sense of wonder, filled with characters well worth viewers time.
The Sea Beast is an incredibly deep and well crafted movie, taking inspiration from stories like Moby Dick and 16th and 17th century nautical maps. There is detail and wondrous ideas crammed into each frame of the movie. The animation and story feels something taken right from the Disney vault, so it was no surprise to see that Big Hero 6 director Chris Williams was behind the fantastical journey.
Set in a world where terrifying beasts of the sea are real, the heroes of the day are monster hunters. Sailing the ocean, taking down the many creatures that could pose a threat, these crews keep the economy working, and the kingdom that backs them very wealthy. Captain Crow’s (Jared Harris) and his ship The Inevitable stand at the top of the monster hunting world.
Renowned for their bravery and legendary slayings of some of the most fearsome beats, Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) stands as one of its most celebrated members. With his bravery and drive to save the world from the many dangers of the sea, few people can match his resolve, at least until Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator), a young stowaway makes him question everything.
“With an amazing voice cast, and great direction, The Sea Beast is a much more deep feeling kids film.”
Taking the guise of a chase film, chasing down the Red Bluster, it is not until The Sea Beast’s second act where things get fascinating. Not everything is as black and white as the royalty of the nation seem to say, and the heroic deeds of Captain Crow and other hunters, may not be as altruistic as once was thought.
The creature designs manage that fine balance between exciting for the kids, while never feeling too scary for a movie rated PG. This is further emphasized by the incredible level of detail scattered around every part of the world. From the many scars on the creatures’ backs and skin, to the way their eyes feel filled with emotion, making The Sea Beast a true spectacle to behold.
With an amazing voice cast and great direction, The Sea Beast is a kid’s film filled with deeper meaning. It tackles complex ideas, all set around the feeling of adventure, and does it all with purpose that makes the 1h 55 minute runtime fly by. Even the obligatory humour made directly for the kids in the audience never feels forced, giving the stakes and tension at the core of the film the needed gravitas and urgency it deserves.
With sea battles, meaningful action, and giant sea monsters, there is a lot to say about the presentation of The Sea Beast. This is a film that uses the CGI medium to its fullest, making each scene feel epic and filled with the scale needed involving a misunderstood monster. There are set piece moments and complex narratives that elevate what could have easily felt like a How to Train Your Dragon copy-cat into something truly exciting.
While complex and engaging for people of all ages, The Sea Beast is not without its fun and kid friendly moments. The monster designs verge on the side of cute, with some baby monsters being some of the most adorable creatures you could imagine from an animated feature. One of the little blue monsters will be loved by kids everywhere, and if there are no toys of them already planned, Netflix should start talking to stuffed animal makers without delay.
With amazing voice performances, giant creatures, and an engaging storyline, The Sea Beast impressed me on every level. This is one of the most staggeringly stunning CGI movies in years, and never loses its focus and depth while still making something wholly family friendly. The Sea Beast is an epic journey worth taking, bringing a world of wonder to families everywhere.