THE SEA BEAST (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: 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.
The Sea Beast has all the typical traits of a Disney animation, adventure, fantasy, friendship and not forgetting potential merchandising opportunities. It’s basically a movie Disney should made but never.
Written and directed by ex-Disney veteran Chris Williams who gave you Big Hero 6 and Moana, The Sea Beast is an original story about the adventure of an orphan Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator) and seaman Jacob Holland (Karl Urban). Set in a time where men wreak havoc on sea monsters and vice versa, Holland works with his adopted father, the legendary Captain Crow (Jared Harris) to hunt sea beasts across the ocean. After a near fatal incident, Crow decides that Jacob should eventually take his place but not before killing the humongous beast known as the Red Bluster who took his eye.
Meanwhile, inspired by her parents who were killed during a hunt and hailed as heroes, an overzealous orphan named Maisie stowed away on the ship to join Captain Crow’s motley crew to the objection of Jacob. As expected, they soon encounter the Red Bluster where after a round of ferocious fighting, Jacob and Maisie find themselves stranded on a deserted island together with the Red Bluster and several other sea beasts. It’s here that Maisie realised that it’s not the monsters that are hunting mankind after all.
The Sea Beast is a solid swashbuckling adventure tailored for audiences of all ages. It succeeds on many levels consider the predictable plotting and heavy dosages of Disneyfied tropes. There’s a clear indication that the story is inspired by Moby Dick, How to Train Your Dragon, Pirates of the Caribbean, Godzilla and many more. In the hands of other less capable filmmakers, this surely will be a disaster. However, Chris Williams whom we feel works on the same level as James Cameron knows how to tell an engaging story filled with life lessons and epic action despite the familiarity. Avatar didn’t exactly has an innovating story and it sells like hot cakes.
Sony ImageWorks, the effects house who was also behind last year’s The Mitchells Vs the Machines continues to give Disney and Pixar a run for their money. The visual for a lack of a better word is stunning. The numerous sea battles entertain with its massive offerings of sword fights, cannons, harpoons and elaborate action choreography. Ideally, The Sea Beast should be watch on the biggest screen available although the look of the sea monsters lacks in terms of details as compared to a typical Pokemon monster. But that’s just me nitpicking.
The main voice actors, Karl Urban, Jared Harris and Zaris-Angel Hator delivers outstanding performances while composer Mark Mancina produced a catchy original song called “Captain Crow”. The Sea Beast has the right balance of action to appeal to adults and a cutesy sidekick named Blue to appeal to younger kids. Most importantly, it consists of a really strong message about mankind destroying nature. It’s simply an animation not to be missed.
Review by Linus Tee