Film Review: The Sea Beast

DIRECTED BY

Chris Williams

STARRING

Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens and Kathy Burke

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SYNOPSIS

When a young girl stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter, they launch an epic journey into uncharted waters – and make history to boot.

Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens and Kathy Burke

The Sea Beast is the latest animated original film from Netflix, which is directed by Chris Williams, making his solo directorial debut after co-directing on Disney animated films such as Bolt, Big Hero 6 and Moana. The film is set in a world where enormous sea monsters terrorise defenceless ships. But brave sea monster hunters set sail to protect the innocent and they are the celebrated heroes of their time. The greatest of the hunting ships is The Inevitable, captained by the legendary Captain Crow, alongside his surrogate son, Jacob Holland, a beloved hero willing to risk everything to keep people safe. When the King and Queen implore them to chase down the most feared sea beast, the Red Bluster, they embark on their most dangerous mission yet. But things become complicated when a young child, Maisie Brumble, stows away on their ship! Unable to turn back, Maisie, who dreams of becoming a legendary monster hunter, becomes a witness to history as the crew of The Inevitable prepare to take on the greatest of all beasts.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect with The Sea Beast, but judging from the trailer, I just assumed it would be a typical family-animated film with an odd-ball duo hunting sea monsters. Thankfully watching the film, there is definitely a lot more to it than my initial expectations. Firstly, the battle sequences of the hunter ships going up against a sea beast are beautifully composed, providing some interesting angles with the animation, almost done in a way to make it feel like they’re shooting in live-action to have the viewer caught up in the moment and placed in the hunt themselves. Overall, the animation style is gorgeous and what really works in the films favour is how they capture the scale of the sea beasts, given viewers that sense of awe and wonder. But what Williams and his co-writer Nell Benjamin have done is that they have brought a lot of heart into this story. There’s comparisons to be made with Maisie, being a young orphan, and Jacob, a hunter who was orphaned after being the sole survivor of a sea beast attack as a young boy, and having the two paired together for the majority of the films runtime is actually one of the films main strengths.

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Primarily this is due to the performances from the voice cast. Zaris-Angel Hator, who voices Maisie, is absolutely terrific in the role, she’s feisty and wide-eyed to the adventure she’s forced herself into, as well as looking into the complications of the history between man and sea beast. Karl Urban, who voices Jacob, is having a great time playing the character, who adores the life he leads but still holds on to certain values and codes that can’t be broken. In terms of the supporting cast, Jared Harris brings gravitas to proceedings voicing Captain Crow, while Marianne Jean-Baptiste is also really good as Sarah Sharpe. There is one particular sub-plot I felt that didn’t work for me and that involved the King and Queen having one of their own Admiral’s have their own ship and wage with Captain Crow and Jacob that whoever got the Red Bluster first, wins. It’s a shame too, considering when you find out that the character of Admiral Hornagold was voiced by Dan Stevens, but I found it to be underwritten and wondered if it was due to film duration reasons. However, there’s one particular sea monster that appears in the film, and has been shown in the trailers, by the name of Blue that Maisie comes across, that thing will undoubtedly become a plushie selling machine once this film takes off with audiences.

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VERDICT

The Sea Beast is a delightful animated film, with plenty of adventure, heart and wonder that the whole family can enjoy this summer.

★★★★

NETFLIX PRESENTS THE SEA BEAST AVAILABLE 8TH JULY.