HomeMoviesThe Sea Beast Review: Netflix's Greatest Animated Feature To Date

The Sea Beast Review: Netflix’s Greatest Animated Feature To Date

Photo Credit: Netflix © 2022

With their latest animated film, The Sea Beast, Netflix delivers possibly their greatest animated adventure to date as it embodies the heart and adventurous spirit of a classic animated Disney epic.  

A big part of why The Sea Beast has a lot of Disney DNA undoubtedly comes from director Chris Williams, co-director of Big Hero 6 and Moana. It’s easy to see the large scope and vision that The Sea Beast has as it brings viewers on a high seas journey where monster hunters roam the seas to nab legendary creatures. Although there are many seafarers that hunt beasts across the sea, there’s no ship more prolific than the Inevitable. This ship features a crew of legendary monster hunters including Captain Crow (voiced by Jared Harris) and his right-hand man Jacob Holland (voiced by Karl Urban).

The film establishes its world of monsters and hunters in truly thrilling and imaginative fashion. An opening fight between the Inevitable and a giant sea monster is incredibly engaging and evokes all the fun aspects of a great pirate fight on the sea. It’s a visual treat to watch the crew swiftly carry out orders. The stunning animation and the speed of the action creates great momentum and suspense for the impending fight. The Sea Beast never tries to go too photorealistic with its animation, but still utilizes high quality textures and distinctive colors to make it a spectacle for the eye. When the fighting gets going, it’s absolutely epic with all the serious destruction that occurs and the daringness of the hunters to fight these creatures to the death. 

The Sea Beast does a great job setting up the tone, character lore and world-building in order to create more immersive storytelling. The use of environmental hints as to where the creatures are through bird movement keeps you engaged. There are great character threads that begin with Crow’s clear desires for vengeance against a creature that took his eye as well as the royal family’s desires to see monsters killed, and Jacob possibly taking Crow’s role after this big monster is slain. We also see how impactful the actions of monster hunters have been for civilians as their adventures are cataloged in story books for young kids, like dreamer Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator), to fantasize about. 

There are even a couple fun songs thrown in to add to the great early energy of the film. The Sea Beast introduces this intriguing world to be sucked into from the start. It’s even better though how things start to change when Maisie stows away onto the Inevitable and her and Jacob end up on an unexpected adventure that changes your entire perception of the world. There’s a bond that’s made between Maisie, Jacob, and a monster that kicks off a very heartfelt dynamic with some great comedic dashes and emotional realizations. The film does an excellent job slowly building this relationship up and having both Maisie and Jacob start to realize the actions of hunters. 

It all builds up to one of the best turns I’ve seen in a story recently as there are excellent themes and arcs that hit strongly and change your perspective. As Jacob and Maisie start to think deeper on this conflict between humans and sea beasts, they start to uncover hidden truths that can be truly mind-blowing. It’s a great way to touch on history’s falsehoods and the trouble with history being written by the victor/those in power. It excellently deconstructs the fantasy of their world and presents thematic truths that are relatable to viewers of any age. There’s certainly a thrilling final battle everyone will enjoy and some great endings for character arcs, but it’s these big realizations that leave the biggest impact and it’s largely because of the strong voice performances from Urban and especially Hator. 

The Sea Beast is an adventurous, beautifully animated, and undeniably charming animated flick that elevates itself to a higher-tier in the ways its strong world-building takes new form through its thematic turns that are excellently handled by Williams’ direction. Netflix finally has a Disney-level animated feature under its belt. 

The Sea Beast is now streaming on Netflix.

Tom Moore
Tom Moorehttps://mooreviews.com/
Tom is always ready to see and review everything horrifying and hilarious that hits theaters, television, and video games...sometimes. You can check out his other reviews and articles on his blog, Mooreviews.

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