A new Netflix animated film has got itself a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, having also shot up to number one across the world.
The Sea Beast may look like the sort of forgettable fodder your four-year-old nephew might whack on while you nap – ahem, I mean babysit...
However, it turns out to have been a surprising hit with the critics, whose generally positive reviews have come together for a respectable 94 percent rating on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes – where it also has an equally solid 86 percent audience score.
A synopsis from Netflix says: “From Academy Award winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero Six), The Sea Beast takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins.
“Starring Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens and Kathy Burke. In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes - and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland.
“But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he’s saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history.”
After dropping on the streaming site earlier this month, the movie has sailed to the top – sitting happily at the number one spot of the global top 10 after being watched for 68.11 million hours this week alone.
Writing about its successes, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Sheri Linden praised the ‘superb animation’ of the ‘rousing, terrific-looking film’, writing: “Set in a world of fantastic creatures and tall-ships verisimilitude circa 1700, The Sea Beast weds cartoon stylization with striking photorealism.
“The rendering of water - the movie’s main milieu - is especially powerful, whether the filmmakers are capturing its surface roil and glitter or plunging into its tranquil depths. The skies have a breathtaking eloquence too, with fire, fog and candlelight effectively conjured as well. But through it all, character nuance is primary.”
Meanwhile, Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times said the film sees Netflix throwing its ‘harpoon’ at the ‘2023 Oscar nomination for animated feature’, saying the ‘ripping yarn’ is a ‘gorgeously rendered kaiju adventure on the high seas that uses fantasy to ask pertinent questions about the stories we believe, and who benefits from that belief.’
Noting that Netflix has had its ‘ups and downs’ with animated content over the past few years, Collider’s Ross Bonaime believes The Sea Beast is a promising 'step in the right direction’ for the streaming service, thanks to director and co-writer Chris Williams, who was also behind Disney’s Bolt, Big Hero 6, and Moana.
“Williams’ work was essential to the changing opinions of Disney moving towards computer animation, and with his first film with Netflix, it seems like he might be helping do the same thing for the streaming service,” Bonaime said in his write-up, adding: “The Sea Beast might not become the gigantic animation success Netflix is hoping for, but it definitely looks like the tides are starting to change in their favor.”
Watch The Sea Beast on Netflix now.