A few weeks ago, I finally got around to watching The Sea Beast on Netflix. I saw the trailer a while ago, but I wanted to watch it with my mother. Eventually, both of us had enough time, and although we had to stop in the middle because the running time was 115 minutes, that was a bit too long for an after-dinner movie with my mom’s work schedule. However, as we paused at a good good time, it flowed quite well, and we both enjoyed it. The plot isn’t anything complicated, but The Sea Beast still manages to have complex themes that really speak to our modern society.

Many centuries ago, the humans, specifically sailors, in the world of The Sea Beast began hunting the titular beasts for glory and sport. Those whose job it is to do this are called hunters, and being sailors, all of the hunters go out on ships. The most well-known of these ships is called the Inevitable. On this ship is where we meet the second main character, Jacob Holland, played by Karl Urban. A young man, who lost his parents to a shipwreck prior to the movie and was rescued and subsequently adopted by the ship’s Captain, Augustus Crow the 3rd (Jared Harris). He was raised as a hunter and, like everyone else in his society, believes that hunting the sea beasts is a good thing because they have attacked and would attack humans. It’s a dangerous job, but one that has to be done to protect humanity.

The first main character we meet is Maisie Brumble, played by Zaris-Angel Hator, a young orphan girl who we first meet at said orphanage reading a book about hunting to the other children. We learn from the caretaker that the ones who fund the orphanage are the king and queen of the kingdom, which is specifically one for the children of hunters, and there are many children living there, showing, again, how dangerous hunting is as an occupation. Despite this, the children are all still very enthusiastic about becoming hunters themselves, but Maisie isn’t. She tries once again to escape from the orphanage, but, this being the start of a movie, finally succeeds, bringing the boons with her and quoting to the other children as she leaves, “Live a great life, people die a great death.” This phrase will be very important to the plot.

Returning to the Inevitable, they find the Red Bluster and want to go after it, but another ship is in danger. After, Jacob brings up the code, which “binds us to all who come before and all who come after.” Captain Crow reluctantly tells the crew to go and rescue the other ship from the not Red Bluster, attacking them. After a long confrontation with the beast, the captain almost dies but manages to cut off one of its horns, and the Red Bluster gets away. After this, the crew celebrates surviving, and Jacob has a meeting with the captain in his quarters. It’s here where Jacob learns that Captain Crow, who is the third of his family to captain the ship, wishes for Jacob to take over the ship after he’s gone. All he wants is to kill the Red Bluster out of revenge for losing his leg and eye, and after that, he will be handing over the ship to Jacob.

After this, the inevitable returns to the Three Bridges, the capital city. During a celebration of their return, Jacob meets Maisie in a pub. She’s very enthusiastic about meeting him, believing everything she’s read in her book regarding his adventures and accomplishments. He corrects her, and when she tells him that she’s there to join his crew, he tells her very bluntly that a hunting ship is not a place for a kid and that “there’s no guarantee of making it to page 92,”. However, she counters by saying that he was on one as a kid. She decides to go see someone with “real authority” and asks where she can find Captain Crow. Jacob tells her that he does have authority even though he isn’t captain. In response, Maisie tells Jacob that she will get on that ship, and to do that, she needs to talk to Captain Now, not Captain Someday. We then immediately cut to Jacob carrying Maisie out of the pub and placing her into a cart back to the orphanage.

The next day, Jacob and Crow go to get payment for the horn from the king and queen. During this meeting, the king and queen inform Jacob and Captain Crow that they plan on retiring all hunter ships, as they feel that their new ship, a naval vessel named Imperator, will be good enough to kill all remaining Beasts and will be cheaper as well. Crow, in disbelief and anger, bluntly states all the ways the ship will fail as a hunting vessel. This angers everyone involved, but thankfully Jacob steps in and talks the king and queen into a competition between the broken-down Inevitable and the Imperator; if the Inevitable manages to bring home the Red Bluster, hunters can keep their jobs, but if not, the Inevitable will be dismantled, and all hunters must retire. The king and queen agree to this, and Jacob and Crow leave the palace for the “Inevitable.”

All the crew prepares for the battle, after which Crow announces Jacob as the next captain of the ship and will be so after they take down the Red Bluster. The crew celebrates Jacob and the next hunt with alcohol. As they’re putting spigots in the barrels, it’s revealed that Maisie stowed away to get onto the ship. Immediately Jacob wants to take her back, but after Crow meets her, he wants her to stay, saying, “She’s all vinegar,” and telling first mate Sarah Sharpe to look after her. Sarah takes Maisie to her quarters, where Maisie starts praising the woman, reading from her book, just as she’d done with Jacob at the pub, only to be interrupted mid-sentence by the woman she’s praising. Sarah tells Maisie that the only reason she’s allowed to be on the ship is that Crow won’t stop to “put you off it” and that “The hunt is all.” Then she hands her a knife and tells her to give Crow her absolute obedience or “lay on that yourself because I’ll visit worse than death on you.” Maisie only smiles and tells Sharpe that she’s amazing. The scene ends with Sharpe scowling and walking off.

That night, Maisie accidentally interrupts a conversation between Crow and Jacob. However, after some praise from Crow, she excitedly returns to her room to read more from her book when the Inevitable is attacked. It’s a few minutes into the fight before the Bluster even shows itself. Maisie wanders out of the room after, wondering what’s going on, only to be scooped up by Jacob and placed inside, him telling her to stay away from the windows. During the fights, two important things happen. The first is that multiple spears with a rope attached to them are stuck into the Red Bluster, leading to it pulling the ship wildly around, creating a whirlpool, and tiling the ship so hard that the mast begins to break. The second is that as the ship tilts, Maisie is flung out of her room, into the action.

Jacob yells to Crow that they need to cut the line, that, even if they kill the Bluster, it will drag the ship down. However, Crow demands that they keep going. Maisie hears this and, understanding the situation in the same way Jacob does but willing to disobey Crow, starts cutting the lines with the knife Sarah gave her earlier. First, Crow tells Maisie to stop, but after she doesn’t listen, he tells Crow to stop her from cutting the line. However, when Jacob gets to Maisie, and they both see two sailors about to fall out of the crows’ nest, he’s too stunned to do anything and lets Maisie cut the rope. With this, although they save the two other sailors, Jacob and Maisie are flung out of the ship into the ocean. After seeing the Red Bluster, which is bigger than a whale, they swim to the surface and into a lifeboat. Immediately after they get in, however, Crow shouts from the ship for Jacob to bring Maisie to him, cocking a gun and aiming at Maisie. Jacob protests, shouting that Maisie is only a child. Then, to everyone’s shock, especially Crow’s, before anything can be done, the Red Bbluster comes out of the water under them and engulfs the small boat with Jacob and Maisie inside.

To both Jacob’s and Maisie’s (and my own) surprise, despite being under the water, the two are able to breathe because they are in the Red Bluster. Through exploring, they end up traveling from their mouth to one of their nostrils, where they get a beautiful look into the ocean, from the underside to the sun, as the Red Bluster rises to the surface. After a short discussion where Jacob says he will kill the Bluster, he cuts the inside of its nostril, which makes her sneeze, shooting Jacob onto the island, but Maisie, due to being tied to the spear, stays inside the nose. After some antics, Maisie ends up swinging right in front of the Bluster. She catches her in her teeth, and, while at first Maisie is terrified, after the Bluster doesn’t harm her and, in fact, looks kind, Maisie realizes something important; the Bluster was trying to save them earlier.

That night, while camping out in a giant shell, Jacob and Maisie have a heated argument about whether the Beasts really did “come right up to shore. That nowhere was safe.” Though Jacob admits that it was before his time, he also says that might be true. However, Maisie brings up that the ocean is their home and whether it isn’t possible that the beasts were just protecting themselves from them. That the Bluster, she because Maisie believes it is she, swallowed them to protect them from Crow. Then, after Jacob shouts that Maisie’s own parents were killed by the Beasts, that they died heroes, she counters with one of the most impactful lines in the whole film: “I want to believe that, but maybe you can be a hero and still be wrong.” With that, Jacob leaves the shell to collect supplies for a spiritual journey.

The next morning, Jacob and Maisie, though mostly Maisie, as Jacob is still skeptical of the Beasts not being vicious, convince Red, as she is named by Maisie, to bring them to Rum Pepper Island. She agrees, and they depart. On their journey to the island, Maisie, ever so slowly, removes all so spears and other weapons from Red’s body. She speaks kindly to her, unlike Jacob, who talks to her like she’s stupid and asks her politely for help. Eventually, Jacob comes around to Maisie’s way of thinking and helps her remove the weapons, which earns him Red’s trust.

While all this is happening, due to Jacob’s presumed death, Captain Crow is spiraling. To the horror of his crew, even Sharpe, Crow decides to go to someone called Gwen Batterbie. She is someone who, although known for making fantastic weapons, is also known for her high price. For the Inevitable, the price is the ownership of the ship itself and everything and everyone on it. Crow agrees in exchange for a weapon that can kill the Bluster. Batterbie gives him a giant spear with a specially made-poison that can take down any beast. Eventually, they receive the spear, and unknowingly, once they find the trail of the Red Bluster towards Rum Pepper Island, they also start on a path to reuniting with Jacob and Maisie.

Eventually, Jacob and Maisie make it to the island, and after Maisie gives Jacob a pep talk about how he is not the same person he used to be, how he went from killing beasts to befriending one, Red brings them to the shore, and they depart. However, before Red turns to leave, she hears humans over the hill and moves inland to investigate. This leads to her being hunted by the Imperator, and this leads to Maisie being wounded. As Red attempts to flee, the Inevitable arrives and kinds Red, hitting her with the giant weapon full of poison. As they’re bringing her into shore to kill her in front of the king and queen, Jacob is spotted by Crow in the small boat, Maisie with him.

The next thing we see is Maisie awakening in the ship’s infirmary. She sees Jacob is telling Crow what happened to them and that beasts aren’t actually evil, but Crow completely denies what he told him, asking Jacob whether he has to see his own son as his enemy. Enraged, Maisie jumps out of bed and tries to kill Crow with her knife but collapses before she can make it to him and is then carried back to bed by Jacob. Maisie begs Jacob to save Red but is told to rest. Jacob then tells her that he will bring her back to the orphanage, where she will be safe, and leaves with Crow. Later that day, Maisie is moved to Sarah’s room. When she comes in, Maisie begs her for her help. But, although Sarah says she believes Maisie, she does not do anything to help.

A few minutes later, Maisie, with the help of her new beast friend Blue, manages to get out of Sarah’s room, but as she is leaving, she sees the royal symbol on the gates the ship is passing under. This makes her look at her book as well as the ones Sarah has on her shelves, and she realizes that all the history was written by the royals. That they have been manipulating the people for hundreds of years to fight these beasts and grow their empire. After this realization, she rises off the ship and onto Red to use her knife to cut Red free.

After the Inevitable drops anchor, Crow gives a speech to the townspeople and the royals about how great hunters are and how they will kill beasts. As he does so, he steps from the ship onto Red to stab her with his lance. However, before he can do so, Jacob stands before him, telling him to drop the weapon. In response, Crow does so but instead unsheaths his sword and begins fighting Jacob, beating him unconscious. Crow then returns to his lance, and just as he’s about to stab her, as Maisie is trying desperately to cut the rope binding Red, Sarah shows up and cuts it for her, freeing Red. She awakens, and as she rises, Crow falls, and Maisie and Sarah jump into the water. Red starts destroying all the buildings around her, making the villagers and the king and queen flee. Crow, however, only races for a statue of hunters to its weapon, aiming it at Red as she charges at him. However, before she can reach him, Maisie gets between them, shouting for her to stop and saying that if she hurts him, the fighting between humans and beasts will never end. Jacob joins her, grabbing the lance dropped by Crow earlier, and breaks it over his knee, shouting, “No more monster hunting!”

Everyone looks on in shock as Red leans down towards Jacob and Maisie, letting them up on her head and lifting them even higher than the king and queen. Jacob tells Maisie that she did good, but she only tells her that she isn’t done. Turning away from the rulers and to the audience below, she gives a speech. She tells all the people what she discovered on her journey and from the books. That for hundreds of years, the rulers started, and have been perpetuating, this war between humans and beasts for their own benefit. That they only did this to stay in power and grow their empire. But most importantly, she tells them that the beasts aren’t actually bad and that the only way to stop all this bloodshed is for it all to end. Despite the shouts of the king and queen, the people believe her, demanding answers and for Red to be let go. They shout so much and loudly that the leaders run from the balcony, and by doing so, giving the people what they want. The film ends with Crow dropping his lance and Maisie and Jacob living on an island somewhere with Blue. After some time, everything is peaceful.

I really enjoyed this film, and a big part of that was the theme. The necessity of knowing where your knowledge comes from and the possible biases of the people giving out the information is VERY important, especially today. It can tell you what things they may have left out or why they may have worded things a certain way. It’s important to pay attention to small details like this, so you can decode them and not be easily manipulated and/or taught false information. Being able to discern things like this also makes you more able to think for yourself and do what you think is right and true—having a movie that teaches this to kids in a way that isn’t as on the nose (as it doesn’t take place in modern-day use of computers and such ) and is entertaining to watch. People have been manipulating information since the information was a thing, especially from those in power, like the king and queen in this film, so it makes complete sense for the time period. The creatures are just a nice bonus.

The beasts are both important to the story and very nice to look at, just like everything else in the film. The animation is very well-done. I like how everything had a realistic fer and physics, but it was also bright and pretty to look at, even with my limited vision. With that in mind, as a blind person, one thing I really enjoyed was the Audio Description (AD). Usually, it’s fine, not bad, not good, just fine. The AD for this film was fantastic. I’m probably going to spell their names wrong, as I can’t find them written down anywhere, but the writer is Liz Gutman, and the reader is Jamie Lanchik. Both of them did a great job emphasizing the right spots and added a lot to the film. I felt like I was listening to an audiobook that’s fully acted with sound effects and everything. I would put it up there with the AD for The Martian, which was read by Charlie Cox. It’s that good.

Of course, the AD wasn’t the only audio in the film. The actors were great, especially Zaris-Angel Hator, who was Maisie. She doesn’t have a Wiki, so I assume she’s a new actress, but she is so talented. Her co-star Karl and the rest of the cast were, of course, great as well. I especially enjoyed everyone’s accents. The accents in their voices made it very easy to tell who was talking and thus made the characters more distinctive. Unfortunately, the music, whether due to the AD overlaying the soundtrack, or the music itself, I don’t remember it very well. It wasn’t bad or anything. It just didn’t stand out to me. However, I did enjoy the sea shanty that played over the credits, but that’s because I LOVE sea shanties. They’re very fun, just like this movie.

So, if you’re looking for a film that’s entertaining with a deep thing along with themes of found family, I highly recommend this movie. It’s got great acting and good music. The animation is beautiful, colorful, and fun. If you choose to use it, the Audio Description is FANTASTIC. You will have a great time watching The Sea Beast.