The Sea Beast (2022)
115 min|Animation, Action, Adventure|08 Jul 2022
7.0Rating: 7.0 / 10 from 57,492 usersMetascore: 74
When a young girl stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter, they launch an epic journey into uncharted waters - and make history to boot.

Netflix, through its animation studio, Netflix Animation, has now re-released an animated film through The Sea Beast. This fantasy film is directed by Chris Williams, who has been involved in producing Walt Disney Studios animated films, such as Big Heroes Six, Moana, and Frozen. This 2-hour film features the voices of Karl Urban, Jared Harris, Dan Steven, and Zaris-Angel Hator. After the success of Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood last year, what else does Netflix have to offer to compete with its big animated rivals?

In a land in of nowhere, the giant sea monsters have clashed with humans for hundreds of years. The kingdom sent its best hunter to kill the monsters. One is Captain Crow (Haris) with his subordinates and young successor, Jacob (Urban). The captain’s goal was the red monster, the strongest of all. A little girl named Maisie (Hator) stowed onto the ship, and the captain couldn’t help but accept her. Before long, a fight with the red monster was inevitable. At one moment, Jacob and Maisie, who entered the belly of the beast, were brought to the island where they came from. Over time, Jacob and Maisie realized that it was the red beast intended to help them, and all the prejudice against the monsters was one extensive propaganda.

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For the big story, The Sea Beast is reminiscent of the story of How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Smallfoot (2018). Your Dragon presents the eternal feud between dragons vs. humans, which has a very touching drama story. Smallfoot has an intelligent story about monster propaganda about humankind. The Sea Beast, even though it doesn’t have the complexity and depth of Train Your Dragon or Smallfoot, can tell an exciting story with a dominant setting in the ocean.

Maisie is a crucial character who balances her story through her warm chemistry with the monster. Meanwhile, the charismatic Captain Crow becomes the antagonist who steals our attention throughout the film. Jacob stood between the two of them. This cross between light and dark sides is what makes the story interesting. The touching climax scene became the best segment of the film.

Even though the concept and idea are in familiar territory, The Sea Beast has a unique, touching monster story; it’s just that its visual achievements can be an obstacle to competing with quality films made by big studios. Although not bad, the visual side of the animation is the weak point of this film, which feels inferior compared to films produced by Pixar Studios, Walt Disney Animation, and Dreamworks Animation. Judging from the filmmaker’s experience, it is only natural that his animation style tends to the films by Walt Disney Animation. If it is fixed up immediately, Netflix animated films will compete strongly in prestigious events such as the Academy Awards. It’s just a matter of time.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at montasefilm.com and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.

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