Netflix has hit the skids lately. With people canceling their memberships over the past year, times are different. It was originally the leader in streaming formats. Stranger Things‘ four season has come and gone after much wait. Cobra Kai’s fifth season is a few weeks away. And even that Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana de Armas has people intriqued.
But it can’t stop producing the same lackluster material, such as the true-crime docuseries that really do nothing more than a simple Wikipedia search could produce. So, while streaming services are vying for your views, they’re also trying to attrack the younger viewers. With a NC-17 rating, I don’t think you’ll want little Brinsleigh and MaiKayla tuning in to see why Blonde, the bopic about Monroe, got its rating.
I’m sure Netflix had to give Chris Williams a nice paycheck to lure him away from Disney to make The Sea Beast. Williams may not be as well known as other animated movie directors, but his credits include Big Hero 6 and Moana, as well as a co-directing credit on Bolt. All three of those movies are very well made.
Now, I’m not the first one to make the connection between The Sea Beast and How to Train Your Dragon. While watching Beast, I had to do a quick Google search because I thought it looked the same. But it’s not. Regardless of where the titular characters look the same, the story is actually worth watching.
Jacob Holland (voiced by Karl Urban) is the adoptive son of the legendary Captain James Crow (voiced by Jared Harris) of the ship The Inevitable that hunts the high seas searching for beasts. Crow tells Jacob he will be named him captain after the hunt and kill the legendary Red Bluster that took Crow’s eye. The ship is backed by the king and queen of The Crown.
However, when they return to port from their latest venture, they learn they will be replaced by another ship The Imperator. Jacob convinces the king and queen to let them hunt one more time, this time tracking down the Red Bluster. On their voyage, they discover a orphan stowaway, Maisie Brumble (voiced by Zaris-Angel Hator). Eventually when they track down and hunt the Red Bluster, it manages to swallow both Jacob and Maisie whole taking them to an isolated island populated by other beasts.
Very soon, both Jacob and Maisie see that the beasts aren’t ferocious. Maisie calls the Bluster Red and tries to convince Jacob of their behavior and says they’re just misunderstood. And Jacob at first doesn’t believe that until Red saves them from a large crab beast. So, a friendship is formed as both Jacob and Maisie want to show to the others that the beasts aren’t monsters. And of course, the real monsters are the humans hunting them as Crow thinks Jacob is dead and will vow to kill Red.
A plot like basically writes itself, but how Williams and the voice cast do the work is what makes it stand out. There’s going to be a showdown in which Crow is bent on killing Red come Hell or High Water but everyone sees she’s a gentle creature. And The Crown loses its power as the people take a different view of the beasts of the waters. It’s a story told time and time again.
And it could’ve just been a cash grab. But Williams knows how to make it work. At almost two hours with credits, it is a little longer than it should be. But I’m sure the kids and their parents will enjoy it for a couple of hours.
What do you think? Please comment.