By: Jaimz Dillman
From the mind of Chris Williams (Big Hero 6, Moana), this summer's big animated offering is on Netflix in the form of THE SEA BEAST. This daring, adventurous tale takes us through the journey of orphan stow-away Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator) and first-mate of the Inevitable, Jacob (Karl Urban). The oceans around their kingdom have been plagued for generations by vicious sea monsters, or so they've been led to believe.
The king and queen fund and support ships full of hunters to eradicate the beasties, and keep their people safe. Jacob has a bright future ahead of him to take the reins upon Captain Crow's (Jared Harris) retirement. So when Maisie unexpectedly appears, and charms the Captain to let her stay, but Jacob is in no mood or position to take the rebellious child under his wing.
The crew and townspeople are a varied bunch, which is a nice change from the usual cookie-cutter animated crowd. Not a surprise coming from Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Williams. Through fantastical fights and storms we learn the Captain may not always live by the hunter's code while chasing bounties. We also find out Maisie wants to join the crew, as she lost her parents when their ship was overtaken by a creature during a battle.
Having a tiny hero in Maisie, we're treated to her child-like hope and fascination for all she was taught and experienced growing up. Then we see her strength blossom when a realization comes to light that all is not as it seems. She's also our reminder to think of things in another way. When all the adults are fighting and barging full-force into battle, she's the voice of reason, taking a step back and opening minds to what the big picture actually is.
I watched this with my pre-teen daughter, and was pleasantly surprised by the representation - not only in various skin colors, but also in having women among the prestigious officers on the Inevitable - bucking the tradition of women on board being bad luck. I also liked that the child was given a voice, the elders took notice, and she was heard.
Enjoy THE SEA BEAST with your littles, or on your own. And I'll be happy to see more movies follow the great example that THE SEA BEAST sets.
THE SEA BEAST is streaming on Netflix now.