War and beasts
Sea adventure with a simplistic worldview
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In the mythical world of Netflix’s animated movie The Sea Beast, kings and queens appoint hunters to protect their kingdom by plying the seas in search of evil sea monsters. Captain Crow of the hunting ship The Inevitable seeks out his prey zealously. His right-hand man Jacob grew up on the ship and waits to take the helm once the captain completes his final mission—killing an infamous red beast known as the Bluster.
These plans are upset by a ship stowaway, a little girl named Maisie, who wants to become a hunter like her late parents. But in a strange twist of events, the Bluster rescues Maisie and Jacob after they fall overboard: With only grunts and growls, the giant sea beast wins over Maisie, and later Jacob. What if all the hunters’ assumptions about sea monsters were wrong, or worse yet, were invented by a royal house in need of war to maintain power?
The PG-rated film is a straightforward adventure, beautifully animated, but parents should note a few troubling elements. Some viewers will sense an LGBT agenda by the inclusion of some strangely androgynous sailors and soldiers. And Captain Crow’s obsession with capturing the Bluster leads him to procure a new weapon from a witch-like figure, perhaps at the cost of his soul. Lastly, Maisie’s (somewhat mixed) message seems to be that war is really just a misunderstanding—peace is always the answer, and violent sea beasts just need to be appeased.
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