Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Sea Beast may be a predictable family film, but it is still cute enough to pass the time. The animation is stunning to behold, especially with the monsters in particular. It seems they went out of their way to lay the details on thick for these creatures, and all are wildly unique. The Tales of Captain Crow have reached far and wide, but for the children at the orphanage, its messages mean everything. 

Co-writer/director Chris Williams, who also penned the story for Bolt, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Mulan, brings that same sort of whimsical tone to a jaunty sea adventure, where the stakes never get too intense for younger viewers. I think this is one feature in particular that is aimed at the child crowd, and has little for mature audience members to sink their teeth into. For Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator), the fact that the King and Queen care for the children “out of kindness” is simply not enough. Maisie longs for a home and a family she can truly call her own.

Captain Crow is more than some mythical figure, he is very real! Jacob seems poised to take over for Crow as Captain of the Inevitable. The Crown abruptly announces that it will no longer endorse these monster hunters, as they have failed to bring in the legendary Red Bluster. Jacob makes a deal to give the hunters one more chance to return with the Bluster in a contest against the Royal Navy. Whoever first returns with the Bluster wins all. Maisie is about to discover that Crow’s quest for vengeance on the monstrous Red Bluster will cause him to cross paths with her own destiny. To Jacob, the Captain’s righthand man, Maisie’s assistance may prove vital in the mission. 

The Sea Beast goes the natural animal-positivity route that seem to have spread more commonplace since Once Upon a Forest and The Lorax set the stage in their prospective decades for eco-tinged excellence. The “monsters” around us deserve to be treated with proper love and respect. Of course, this isn’t primely the focus of the film, as it is far too concerned with Pirates of the Caribbean-esque hijinks to care much about hammering home its messaging. 

In spite of a few different shortcomings, The Sea Beast is still a decent way to kill time—if one has young ones at home, fear not. Not only is it not scary, the film runs nearly two hours in length, so should serve as a nice, colorful distraction for kids. The Sea Beast is an interesting attempt at raising points about humanity versus nature. While I doubt most who watch will be examining it on a layer so deep, The Sea Beast provides plenty of fish food for thought.

The Sea Beast comes for one’s deadlights, exclusively to Netflix and limited theatres on Friday, July 8th.

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