Andrea’s film review – The Sea Beast

The Sea Beast ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

A young girl stows away on the ship of a legendary sea monster hunter. Available to watch on Netflix and in selected cinemas from today.

Given the pretty bland title and the fact it was released rather unceremoniously on Netflix (at the same time as the latest Minions movie), I wasn’t really expecting much from this latest (and apparently last) feature from the now defunct Netflix Animation department.

But right from the first frame I could see that this wasn’t just a cheap cash-in exercise. The film begins with a gripping battle at sea between some pirates and a huge menacing monster.

The visuals are staggering and the cinematography is rich and detailed, from the beautiful landscapes, to the textures of people’s clothes and hair and water which feels so real that you might mistake it for real footage.

The action is gripping, immersive and breath-taking, at times even scary, pushing the boundaries of what animation can do these days.

Directed by former Disney golden boy Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero 6), this is a lot better than it has any right to be.

The story might have distant echoes from How to Train Your Dragon, but this is mostly a refreshingly original film, with plenty of good messages to learn from (possibly a bit too many?)

It’s about understanding those who aren’t like you, never being afraid of differences, not believing things on face value just because you’ve read them in some book and it’s about learning that even heroes can sometimes be wrong.

These are all grown-up themes, but nothing feels heavy and even if it’s certainly not as hilarious as the previous The Mitchells vs. the Machines (one of the funniest films released last year), there’s still a lot of fun to be had.

A film with a proper story, a smart script with unexpected twists and turns (particularly welcome since it’s aimed mainly at children) and some great set pieces.

Family and children might all be cramming cinemas these days, to enjoy the silliness of the Minions, but while those yellow big-eyed creatures, are breaking the box office, they’re certainly not even scratching any mould in terms of characterisation or depths.

Surely there’s space for this kind of original film too, especially now that schools are closing.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

The Sea Beast is available to watch on Netflix and in selected cinemas from today.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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