After more than 20 years of working on Disney animated films, Mulane at Raya and the last dragonChris Williams earns his first solo director credit on Netflix The beast from the sea, a catchy animated adventure that shares a lot with its Disney work. A brave young orphan hero embarks on a great journey, bonding with a surrogate parent, facing danger and learning valuable life lessons along the way. There are even a number of different kinds of music, giving the film an extra air of familiarity. Despite, or perhaps because of these similarities, The beast from the sea offers fun, family-friendly animated functionality.
The beast from the sea is also strongly reminiscent of DreamWorks How to train your dragon movies, especially in its second half, as it reveals more about the giant sea monsters that have plagued the inhabitants of a fairytale-style kingdom for centuries. In the town of Three Bridges, no one is more revered than the hunters, the brave sailors who set out to sea to hunt down and kill the horrible beasts that came to shore and attacked humans. At least that’s how it says in the book that young orphan Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator) reads over and over again to her fellow residents of a children’s home.
Maisie, whose parents were hunters before they were killed in action, wants nothing more than to become a hunter herself, and she gets the chance when she escapes from the orphanage and comes aboard. of the Inevitable, the most fearsome fighter ship in the fleet. It is led by the legendary Captain Crow (Jared Harris), but Maisie forms a bond with dashing hero Jacob Holland (Karl Urban), who is set to succeed Captain Crow when he retires. After failing to put Maisie back in the children’s home, Jacob takes her under his wing, which mostly involves trying not to have her killed.
There’s a lot of set-up in the first half of The beast from the sea, which at two hours is a bit long for a kid-friendly animated film. Williams and co-writer Nell Benjamin establish the father-son dynamic between Jacob and Captain Crow, who rescued young Jacob when he was orphaned like Maisie. They establish the rivalry between the hunters and the Royal Navy, which threatens to take over the entire war against the sea monsters, leaving the hunters behind. The film also features the Moby-Dick-like Captain Crow’s obsession with a particularly elusive sea monster that he has pursued his entire career. With everything going on, there seems to be little room for Maisie, who is just a child overwhelmed by all the intense activity.
So The beast from the seaThe story changes in its second half, as Maisie and Jacob find themselves separated from the inevitable, stranded with sea monsters and gaining a whole new perspective on the battle between monsters and humans. It’s not hard to guess what the truth will be, and these discoveries are all in the service of fairly bland messages about tolerance and respect for nature. What is convincing The beast from the sea is not his moral lessons but the world he creates and the characters in that world. Hunters are like pirates without the plunder, with lots of eye patches and wooden legs, and The beast from the sea transmits their rich history, transmitted by songs, stories and tales over several generations.
The animation in this Netflix original production reaches the same high standards as its Disney and DreamWorks counterparts, from bustling city to rough seas. The sea beasts themselves are magnificent, ranging from towering and scary to cute and clumsy. Maisie befriends a baby sea monster she names Blue and treats like a dog, which seems tailor-made for stuffed toys, but Williams also conveys the massive monsters’ impressive scale as they pass under boats or rise to attack.
There’s enough danger in the action scenes to feel like the characters are genuinely risking their lives while ensuring the protagonists still narrowly escape any real harm. This may be a little disappointing for adult viewers hoping for a more serious fantasy action movie, but The beast from the sea Successfully balances its cutest moments with periodic major set pieces.
Maisie and Jacob’s connection also follows a predictable path, and their evolution from antagonists to allies isn’t always compelling. Urban and Hator have an appealing chemistry, however, and Harris provides a perfect counterpoint as a grizzled, world-weary sea captain, a role he played in a very different context on the underrated AMC series. Terror. It’s easy to root for these characters, who mean well even when their actions are misguided.
It only makes it a slight disappointment when The beast from the seaThe plot goes exactly where viewers expect it at almost every turn. Williams clearly learned a lot during his years at Disney, and he applies all of that knowledge to The beast from the seamaking it a familiar yet still satisfying animated feature for families.
The Beast From The Sea is now playing in select theaters and premieres Friday, July 8 on Netflix.