The Sea Beast is a fun sea adventure that the whole family can enjoy with stunning visuals that show how far CGI animated films have come over the past decade. CG projects can often have problems with two particular aspects, the action sequences, and the scale, The good news is that The Sea Beast does both superbly.
The battles between sea monsters and their hunters are visually fantastic; and with each piece of wood that separates from the ships, the fidelity of the images in each action sequence impresses constantly.
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Scale is also something that can be quite difficult to achieve with CG; how do you "feel" something huge without having real benchmarks to compare against in a single environment, especially in the open sea?
However, fans will be pleased to hear that the Netflix Animation team did a great job of creating a sense of scale throughout The Sea Beast's adventure.
They are monstrous creatures and the way cinematography uses perspective to emphasize their size certainly translates well. In fact, many times the fear of deep water creeps through the screen and into your living room, no matter how far you look.
That said, parts of The Sea Beast limit its potential, mainly the fact that the story remains extremely predictable and a mix of other similar titles.
As the title of this review suggests, The Sea Beast is essentially the ocean version of How to Train Your Dragon, with some Moana and Pirates of the Caribbean aspects thrown in for extra entertainment.
While not all movies need to have Shyamalan-style twists, The Sea Beast ultimately manages to make you want to see Hiccup and Toothless again.
As the credits rolled over, I thought a more open and vague ending might change our final thoughts on the plot. Predictable, yes; intended for children and not for adults, of course; but ending with a less healthy conclusion would probably have made the trip more rewarding.
This particular war has been going on for centuries, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of hunters and beasts. We could have ended up revolting against the royal family for pushing her propaganda, but there are countless monsters out there and Red doesn't control any - she's just the alpha predator.
While a sequel is Unexpected, a more rewarding ending to a new "enlightened" period, rather than a "peaceful" period, was certainly deserved after such a fun and high-risk journey.
Overall: The Sea Beast is a fun and beautifully animated adventure worth watching, it's a shame we'll probably forget about it in a month or two-8.4 / 10.
How was the film rated by fans and critics?
It appears that The Sea Beast has received generally positive reviews from fans and critics alike.
The film currently scores 7.1 / 10 on IMDB, with higher scores of 8.8 / 10 and 96% seen on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes respectively.
“The Sea Beast is a solid animated adventure from Netflix and continues Chris Williams’s impressive directorial resume. Although the story hits familiar rhythms, it has a remarkable dedication to building a world and staying true to that world without feeling the need to weaken with conscious humor or deliberate anachronisms, or contemporary dialogue. Some plot points seem a little foreign or could have been changed, but it's a solidly fun adventure that I highly recommend. - IonicBreezeMachine user, via IMDB.
The New York Times notes that "the greatest sin of this script is its unwavering predictability", but praises how "the backgrounds and underwater footage are particularly breathtaking."
Polygon also known as The Sea Beast shows how far animation has come, stating that "Netflix's new animated film, The Sea Beast, shows how far the medium has come in recent decades but shows the At the same time how uninspired the big-budget animation can still seem, sometimes moments after providing wow graphics.
“Though the story itself needs a raze, The Sea Beast is a sweet and delightful distraction filled with a melee of sea monsters, a solid emotional core, and fascinating visuals. It has a heart, a decent world-building, and a vital message, even if the set-up is too long and the ending is unstable.