- Directed by Chris Williams
- June 24, 2022 / July 8, 2022 (Netflix)
- Jacob Holland-Karl Urban
- Maisie Brumble-Zaris-Angel Hator
- Captain James Crow-Jared Harris
- Sarah Sharpe-Marianne Jean-Baptiste
- Child 1-Benjamin Plessala
- Child 2-Somali Rose
- Child 3-Kaya McLean
- Child 4, Villager Boy-Davis Pak
- Matron, Ms. Beth Merino, Cart Driver-Helen Sadler
- Lea the Lookout-Xana Tang
- Sailor 1, Sailor 2, Villager-Alex Wyndham
- Jim Nicklebones-Brian T. Delaney
- Old Nick-Ian Mercer
- Fen-Shannon Chan-Kent
- Young Sailor-Max Mittelman
- Surgeon-Paul Chowdhry
- The King-Jim Carter
- The Queen-Doon Mackichan
- Adm. Hornagold-Dan Stevens
- General-Rajia Baroudi
- Gwen Batterbie-Kathy Burke
- Villager 1, Villager 2-Emily O’Brien
- Sergeant-David Lee
- Sailor-Jason Anthony
- Various-Mark Rhino Smith
A girl joins a group of sea monster hunters as they go looking for the Red Bluster and begins to believe the hunts may not be justified.
I had heard about The Sea Beast a little bit ago but ignored it on the assumption that it was extremely juvenile. From what little bit I had come across it didn’t seem better than the most simplistic things that Disney or Pixar or other animation studios would put out but nothing that I would be interested in.
While I’m not calling it extremely sophisticated, The Sea Beast is a better than expected CGI animated feature currently available on Netflix. It has great visuals and a good story with some possible deeper than the surface themes. Pun intended.
The story is set in a fantasy world where for what appears to be a very long-time sea monsters from the far out waters have been attacking human ships and at this point vessels filled with hunters have been exterminating them in order to make the seaways safe. They are backed by the royal family of a kingdom called Three Bridges.
As with many animated features there is the spunky young orphan girl (here named “Maisie”) who goes counter to the rest of society and ends up changing things. Not all that unusual. It is a reflexively used element that has produced plenty of enjoyable movies as well as plenty of turds.
Since the deaths of her parents at the hands of a sea monster while hunting, Maisie has immersed herself in books about the exploits of hunters. What kind of parent abandons their child with apparently no one to care for them? Seriously. She was left on land when they were all killed? Who is taking care of her while her parents were off at sea?
That issue aside, Maisie has come to idolize Captain Crow and his first mate Jacob Holland via reading about their exploits. She sees a life of grand adventure and excitement in those pages.
Jacob, much like the young girl, is an orphan whose parents had been killed while hunting as well. Why was he on a boat during a dangerous trip? Seriously. Hunters can die! So why bring your kid along? Anyway for better or worse Jacob takes a shine to Maisie but does his best to not indulge her desire to come along. If he had been to stop her we would not have a movie.
One of the themes that goes through The Sea Beast is that the information we get may not be all that accurate. History is written by the victor and occasionally what we read is there to push a narrative rather than to relay information. In this world the sea beasts are not a threat so long as they are left alone. They only become dangerous when they are hunted.
In other words someone started hunting them unnecessarily and the stories from the past of them attacking the coast may have been mostly if not entirely fabricated. An interesting idea but the only real proof ever presented in this whole movie is that the Red Bluster is nice and relatively intelligent. That’s it. There’s no discovery of a parchment or a book or anything that really points to that as being confirmed. Maisie uses a variation on the Gish gallop and uses an excessive number of arguments but no real proof.
There’s also the implication that the royal family knows just that and sends the hunters out and it’s been benefiting via political power from the hunt. It’s implied but the accusation by the little girl is enough to apparently end of the monarchy. There is no actual proof. She Gish gallops them out of power.
I know this is not real nor a court of law, but accusations and hypotheticals should not be enough to change society. However a possible unintended message is that they are. While the conclusions are logical there is no proof to them. There’s about as much support for what Maisie said and thought as there is for ancient astronaut theory.
There’s also the idea of doing the wrong thing for the right reason. That is deep. It’s encapsulated in a line uttered a few times “You can be wrong and still be a hero.” Sometimes bad things happen because of good intentions.
There are no bouncy songs and the story whether you agree with everything executed in it or not does not talk down to the audience. It has a point of view it wants to get across and it does that without being demeaning to the viewer. And it’s just plain down entertaining. It’s got elements of excitement in a very good story set on the high seas.
The Sea Beast is a good animated feature. The story can be enjoyed by children and adults. If you want to watch something with your kids that won’t bore you to tears this is it!