Overall, the narrative, performative, and visual splendor of The Sea Beast are enough to vastly outweigh minor issues in presentational consistency. This is a richly realized nautical world, with the animation team expressing an obvious love for the adventure stories that inspired it and a passion for telling a story as hopeful as it is exciting.
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It tells a simple but epic story against the backdrop of a well-realized fantasy world, it does so at a measured pace that provokes the imagination rather than pummeling it into submission, and it stays on course by leveraging spectacular action (highlighted by several blistering pirate fights and a PG-rated kaiju brawl) into an effective fable about the perils of inherited prejudice.
A delightful new-school deconstruction of old-school Romantic adventure that never compromises on the lushness of setting, color and emotion inherent in the latter, The Sea Beast rises to the front of Netflix’s animated offerings like a high tide.
The Sea Beast gets the balance just right between rollicking action scenes, the inevitable didactic anti-hunting message about respecting other species’ right to exist and family-friendly humour.
The Sea Beast is notable for its refusal to dumb itself down for a young audience. It’s anchored by interesting and fairly complex characters who actually have arcs to play.
In the end, The Sea Beast is a movie about challenging conventional wisdom and figuring things out for yourself, and that’s a philosophy that worked on both sides of the camera.
The result is a movie that's as fun as it has things to say, a true animated blockbuster that could play like gangbusters in multiplexes (if there is any indication from the world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, where the crowd went wild towards the climax of the film), and lingers on your mind long after the credits roll.
In terms of sheer energy and invention, it more than holds its own, and boasts action scenes whose wit, vibrancy and gracefulness make Lightyear look low on batteries.
The film features dazzling action and a fantasy world that is realised with an almost tactile level of detail. Seek it out on a monster-size screen if at all possible.