The Sea Beast presents an important message for adults and children alike. But its approach is too idealistic.
The Sea Beast Synopsis
The seas were once the terrifying domain of humongous monsters; that is, till humans ventured afar to proactively kill the fearsome creatures. Among these hunters, the crew of the Inevitable is the most famous, her Captain and his adopted son Jacob Holland celebrated as legends. But are the huge monsters truly as deadly and as wicked as everyone believes them to be? Without the efforts of the hunters, would the seas once again be off-limits to all humans, with even those living along the coast in danger of being eaten? An intrepid little stowaway on the Inevitable uncovers the truth.
A couple of things happened with this Netflix animated special, which I will use to write this review with.
Firstly, and much like the case with Spiderhead, I streamed The Sea Beast without first watching the trailer or reading the online synopses. Can’t say I was won over within minutes; I’m not a huge fan of nautical culture and talk. But the superb rendering did delight the amateur 3D artist in me. And then I was gripping my armchair during all those big sea monsters, i.e., kaiju fights.
Secondly, this is on Netflix. You know, the streaming platform so detested by some circles for its left-wing, progressive, inclusive stance? And so, before the show was even halfway through, I knew the story couldn’t possibly just be about monster hunting. The moment “Red” made her entrance, the way she moved and gazed, I knew she couldn’t be the real foe too. I fully expected the story to soon do an about-turn and make sea beast hunting the real monstrosity.
Which happened. Which then also led me to rate the show 4 stars, instead of a full 5.
But let me first be clear. I’m all for the constant reexamination of axioms and paradigms. In our complex modern world, I feel it’s also crucial to constantly question so-called truths cited by politicians, especially when said truths are “backed” by evidence and experts we have little clarity about.
The ending of The Sea Beast thus supports my worldview, and I should be swooning. And yet, I’m not because I can’t help but wonder whether it’s appropriate to have such statements in what is at the end of the day, a family show. A kid’s adventure.
Nope, don’t be mistaken. I’m not saying children shouldn’t be exposed to such concepts. What I mean is, an animated adventure of this nature prevents the ugliest truths of political brainwashing from being explored. One such truth is how change rarely happens just because someone stood forth to make a speech. In our real world, Maisie would be gunned down before she could speak.
But had the movie shown that, it would be condemned as unnecessarily grim.
Where should the balancing point thus be at? What is the correct mix of idealism and reality? The Sea Beast, moving and entertaining as it is, didn’t feel to me to have found this balance.
But perhaps I’m expecting too much from a fantasy adventure. Or as some would criticize, finding excuses to refuse the first step.
On that admission, I haphazardly end this review, before I step on too many toes.
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