Netflix’s new animated adventure Sea Monster could pass for How to Train a [Sea] Dragon for all its similarities to the 2010 Dreamworks film.
Also influenced by Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick—in addition to director/writer Chris Williams’ past work with Disney (Moana, Superhero 6, Bolt)—Sea Monster initially doesn’t have much to offer beyond those stories. review.
But despite the somewhat sloppy amalgamation of reliable tropes, the children’s feature should not be written off. It stands on its own with visually stunning animation, thrilling adventure and thought-provoking themes – all driven by a delightfully precocious and fiercely intelligent young protagonist.
Maisie Brumble (Zaris Angel-Hator) is an orphan, but has a memory of her parents as great wolf hunters. Determined to make a name for himself like his parents, the boy boards the ship of famous werewolf hunters Captain Crow (Jared Harris) and his adopted son Jacob Holland (Karl Urban).
At first, both Macy and Jacob are forced into a history that pits sea animals against humans. But their encounters with the legendary creatures reveal that the truth may be more complicated than the details in the history books.
It should come as no surprise that the film pits the young against the old, challenging the preconceived notions of tradition. The story is fairly standard, but still remains timely. Even more so than How to Train Your Dragon , Sea Monster draws a direct and telling parallel to the real world with these fantasy themes.
As Macy says, “Maybe you can be a hero and still be wrong.” In other words, look critically at fiction portrayed as fact and history books about villains portrayed as heroes.
The message works especially well in The Sea Beast’s historical fantasy setting. It is similar to the real world, reflecting its diversity and social problems.
These can, of course, be brushed off with a glossy and simplistic kind of suffering as depicted in children’s movies. After all, Maisie is an orphan with a tragic history, and she is revived by the power of positive thinking?
Still, there’s an undeniable and compelling side to the girl’s adventure, which is the cultural norm of solving a problem with violence. With its dark-eyed threats and mature themes, Sea Monster cannot be accused of underestimating the intelligence and bravery of its audience.
In many ways, The Sea Monster is a simple and perhaps excessive tale. It goes from point A to point B and still manages to leave some story threads unresolved. But there’s something to be said for William’s direct approach. You can’t ignore the film’s gritty message – nor can you get away from Maisie and Jacob’s tumultuous journey across the high seas.