Our honest review of How to Train Your Sea-Dragon, aka The Sea Beast; The latest animated seafaring adventure from Netflix.
With so many streaming platforms and streamed titles vying for your attention, it can be quite difficult for viewers to find the right thing to watch with the whole family when the weekend rolls around.
Thankfully, Netflix has just released its latest original animated adventure, and although the streaming giant trimmed its animation department earlier this year, the streaming giant has delivered an entertaining adventure on the high seas, The Sea Beast.
Here’s our candid review of The Sea Beast, which dazzles with its graphics and humor but unfortunately can lead fans to expect more from a rather harrowing ending.
Time to set sail with the review of The Sea Beast
The Sea Beast is a fun seafaring adventure the whole family can enjoy, with exceptional visuals that show just how far CG animated films have come in the last decade. CG projects can often struggle with two particular aspects, action sequences and scope… The good news is that The Sea Beast does both brilliantly.
The battles between the sea monsters and their hunters are fantastic from a visual point of view; and with every piece of wood chipping off the ships, the fidelity of the visuals consistently impresses in every action sequence.
Scaling is also something that can be quite difficult to get just right with CG; How do you make something “feel” huge without having real-life reference points to compare against in a single image, especially in the open sea?
However, fans will be happy to hear that the Netflix Animation team did a great job of creating a sense of scale throughout The Sea Beast’s adventure.
These are monstrous creatures and the way the camera uses perspective to emphasize their size certainly translates well. In fact, on several occasions, the fear of deep water sneaks through the screen and into your living room — no matter how far inland you’re watching.
That being said, there are some parts of The Sea Beast that limit its potential – mainly the fact that the story remains extremely predictable and is a mashup of other similar titles.
As the title of this review suggests, The Sea Beast is essentially the ocean version of How To Train Your Dragon, with a few aspects from Moana and Pirates of the Caribbean to add some entertainment.
While not every film needs to have a Shyamalan level of twists and unpredictable sequences, The Sea Beast ultimately manages to make you want to watch Hiccup and Toothless again.
As the credits rolled, I thought how a more open and vague ending could have changed our final thoughts on the plot. Predictable, yes; certainly aimed at children and not adults; but ending on a less sane conclusion probably would have made the trip more worthwhile.
This particular war has raged for centuries and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of hunters and beasts alike. We could still have ended up revolting against the royal family for pushing their propaganda, but there are countless monsters out there and Red doesn’t control any of them – she’s just the alpha predator.
While no sequel is planned, after such an entertaining and perilous journey, a more rewarding ending to a new “enlightened” period than a time of “peace” was certainly deserved.
Verdict: The Sea Beast is a fun and great animated adventure worth checking out, it’s a shame we’ll most likely forget it within a month or two – 8.4/10.
How was the film rated by fans and critics?
It seems that The Sea Beast has received generally positive reviews from both fans and critics.
The film currently scores a 7.1/10 on IMDB, with higher ratings of 8.8/10 and 96% on MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.
“The Sea Beast is a solid animated adventure from Netflix and continues Chris Williams’ impressive directorial résumé. While the story hits familiar beats, it has a remarkable dedication to building a world and holding on to that world without feeling the need to undermine itself with self-assured humor, purposeful anachronisms, or contemporary dialogue. Some plot points feel a little trivial or could have used some tweaking, but it’s a solidly entertaining adventure that I highly recommend.” — User IonicBreezeMachine, via IMDB.
The New York Times notes that “this script’s greatest sin is its unwavering predictability,” but praises how “the backdrops and underwater shots are particularly stunning.”
Polygon also notes how The Sea Beast shows how far animation has come, explaining how “Netflix’s new animated feature The Sea Beast shows just how far the medium has come over the past few decades — but it shows at the same time.” Look how uninspired big budget animation can still be, sometimes it provides a visual wow shortly after.”
“Though the story itself needs a shave, The Sea Beast is a sweet, delightful diversion full of nautical monster melee combat, a solid emotional core, and adorable visuals. It has heart, a decent world build and an important message, although the build is overly long and the ending choppy.” — Matt Fowler, via IGN.
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]
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