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Review of Sea Beast, aka How To Train Your Sea-Dragon movie

July 9, 2022

Our honest review of “How to Train Your Sea-Dragon”, also known as The Sea Beast; Netflix’s latest maritime animated adventure.

With so many streaming platforms and streaming 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.

Fortunately, Netflix has just released its latest original animated adventure and despite downsizing its animation department earlier this year, the streaming giant has delivered an entertaining high seas adventure, The Sea Beast.

Here’s our honest review of The Sea Beast, which dazzles with its visuals and humor, but unfortunately may leave fans wanting more from a rather shocking ending.

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The Beast from the Sea | official trailer

BridTV10340Beast from the sea | Official Trailer

Time to set sail with The Sea Beast review

The Sea Beast is a fun sea adventure the whole family can enjoy with stunning visuals that prove just how far CG animated movies have come over the past decade. CG projects can often struggle with two particular aspects, action sequences and scale… The good news is that The Sea Beast does both superbly.

Battles between sea monsters and their hunters are visually fantastic; and with every piece of wood that separates from the ships, the fidelity of the visuals in every action sequence consistently impresses.

Scale is also something that can be quite difficult to achieve with CG; how do you make something “feel” huge without having actual benchmarks to compare to in a single setting, especially in the open ocean?

However, fans will be pleased to hear that the team at Netflix Animation has done a great job of creating a sense of scale throughout The Sea Beast’s adventure.

They are monstrous creatures and the way the cinematography uses perspective to emphasize their size certainly translates well. In fact, many times the fear of deep water creeps across the screen and into your living room, no matter how far you look.

That being said, some parts of The Sea Beast limit its potential – mainly the fact that the story remains extremely predictable and a mix of other similar titles.

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As the title of this review suggests, The Sea Beast is essentially the ocean version of How to Train Your Dragon, with some aspects of Moana and Pirates of the Caribbean thrown in for extra entertainment.

While not every movie needs to have Shyamalan-esque twists and turns, The Sea Beast ultimately manages to make you want to rewatch Hiccup and Toothless.

As the credits rolled on, I thought a more open and vague ending might have changed our final thoughts on the plot. Predictable, yes; intended for children and not for adults, certainly; but ending with a less wholesome conclusion would probably have made the journey more rewarding.

This particular war went on for centuries, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of hunters and beasts. We could have ended with the revolt 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 a sequel isn’t planned, a more rewarding ending to a new “enlightened” time, rather than a “peace” time, was certainly deserved after such an entertaining, high-stakes journey.

Overall: The Sea Beast is a fun, beautifully animated adventure well worth a watch, it’s a shame we’ll probably forget about it in a month or two – 8.4/10.

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How was the film rated by fans and critics?

It seems The Sea Beast received generally positive reviews from fans and critics.

The film currently scores 7.1/10 on IMDB, with higher scores of 8.8/10 and 96% seen on MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

“The Sea Beast is a solid animated adventure from Netflix and continues Chris Williams’ impressive directorial resume. While the story hits familiar beats, it has a remarkable dedication to building a world and staying true to that world without feeling the need to undermine itself with self-conscious humor or deliberate anachronisms or contemporary dialogue. Some plot points feel a bit foreign or could have been tweaked, but it’s a solidly entertaining adventure that I can highly recommend. – IonicBreezeMachine user, via IMDB.

The New York Times notes that “this script’s greatest sin is its unwavering predictability”, but praises how “the backgrounds and underwater shots are particularly breathtaking”.

Polygon also notes how The Sea Beast shows just how far animation has come, stating that “Netflix’s new animated feature, The Sea Beast, shows how far the medium has come in the last few decades – but it shows simultaneously how uninspired big budget animation can still look, sometimes moments after it delivers a wow visual.

“While the story itself needs a raze, The Sea Beast is a sweet and delightful distraction filled with sea monster melee, a solid emotional core, and spellbinding visuals. It has heart, a decent world-building, and a vital message, even if the set-up is too long and the ending choppy. – Matt Fowler, via IGN.

By Tom Llewellyn –

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