Released: 8th July 2022
Seen: 4th March 2023

The Sea Beast Info

The Sea Beast has taken up the spot of the surprise 5th Oscar nominee in this years Best Animated Feature category, it’s the film that’s seemingly there just because they had to round it out to five nominees. The other four are getting nominated time and time again in several other awards shows but The Sea Beast is basically the one in this category that scraped on in. Theoretically, that means it could probably be the one that was missed out of all of these nominated films due to its likelihood of winning being minimal, but it’s also one of the easiest to get a hold of since it sits on Netflix… and you should go watch it because it’s actually pretty damn fantastic.

The Sea Beast is very much an entry point to the swashbuckler, a grand adventure on the high seas with assorted strange water-based creatures that attack ships and scare small island towns. The main Sea Beast is being hunted by a pretty large crew, the most important for story purposes is a man called Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) who has slain many a sea beast and plans to do it again to a particularly large red one that’s been scaring a lot of local fishermen. 

Of course, like any good swashbuckler, there needs to be a young kid to join along and this one has a little girl named Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator) who stowaway on the boat because she wants to be a hunter… until she actually sees one of the monsters and realises that maybe they aren’t as mean as she’s heard and that maybe there’s something more going on besides what the king and queen have been telling everyone.

The Sea Beast (2022)
The Sea Beast (2022)

From top to bottom, The Sea Beast takes full advantage of the medium to deliver some bold and visually striking images that really make the film an absolute delight to watch. For roughly the first half it’s a big sailing adventure with some glorious shots of a rough ocean that could throw our heroes around like they were nothing and then once the creatures make themselves known it’s a bright colourful island-set fantasy where everything is boldly painted in highly contrasting colours that will easily delight any really small kid. It’s a simple and effective visual tone for this movie to take that it uses to its advantage. Darker more intense visuals fill the serious elements of the film and the more we get to see the creatures the brighter the film gets, it’s a fascinating choice that really sells the core idea.

The Sea Beast plays the battle between the humans and the sea creatures like they were opposing armies in a war, a battle that only continues due to the legends told by the ruling class… so yep, they snuck in a good healthy dose off “Question the upper class” in here just for fun. Now granted they don’t really lean into it that much, the queen and king characters only pop up a little bit at the start and finish and any big revelations including them feels almost tacked on so that there can be a climax on top of everything regarding the main story between the little girl and the big sea monster.

The heart of The Sea Beast lies almost entirely on Maisie and her trying to not only get along with the sea creature she calls Red but to get Jacob to see that Red isn’t as scary as he’s been led to believe and when the film just focusses on that, that’s when it excels. The fun banter between the two of them is endlessly charming and watching someone go from hatred to understanding because a child let them see the truth is something stunning… it’s basically a story about a bigot being pulled into line by a kid who hasn’t yet been tainted by the adult world, something that feels rather timely right now considering how many adults are being bigots to people in order to protect children who don’t actually need protecting from anything… yes, I am actually comparing a story about a sea beast to Drag Queen story time, that’s how we roll around here.

The Sea Beast is a great fun little film with a ton of heart, beautiful visuals and a great moral about not letting idiotic bigots turn you into a soldier for their wars. It’s fun and full of exhilarating action, great comedy and some great vocal performances from the cast. Again, this is undoubtedly not going to even come close to winning when the Oscar time comes around but it’s definitely deserving of that nomination just on the ground of its sweetness alone. Consider this a great way to get your kids into the swashbuckling pirate movies, one that’s going to be easily enjoyable for people of all ages.


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