The latest HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON sequel is sometimes overlong and a bit too bland. However, it makes up for this with an exciting villain and some beautiful creature animation. Oh, crap. Did I just write HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON? 🤦‍♂️ That’s because THE SEA BEAST is incredibly similar to the classic film in both story structure and themes. 

Chris Williams (MOANA and BIG HERO 6) tries to create an animated classic, but he doesn’t quite sail the seven seas. Since this movie is broken up into three acts, and they all have a different vibe, so will my review.

Act I – The predictable pirate story 🤮

I’ve seen this setup before – like 750 plus times. And it isn’t very good. An orphan pirate (Karl Urban), the crusty captain (Jared Hess), and a rag-tag group of pirates sail the open water as “hunters” killing beasts. Even worse, the setup for THE SEA BEAST goes on at least fifteen minutes past their “Save the Cat” Act II starting point.

Act II – TOTORO-light 🤩

The second act of THE SEA BEAST is where the movie swims. It’s a delight watching the lead pirate and the little girl, Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator), explore the island of beasts. Jacob’s story of going from hunter to friend might be predictable, but through the glorious creature animation and his relationship with Maisie – it’s all a delight.

Act III – Rewrite your history books 😊

The thrilling conclusion to THE SEA BEAST hits all the waves you would expect, but the emotion sinks instead of staying afloat. I dug some of the final battles along with the theme, “you can be a hero, but you can still be wrong.” However, it wasn’t enough to completely reel me in.


Based on THE SEA BEAST’s Rotten Tomatoes score (94% Critic / 93% Audience), I wanted to love the latest from Chris Williams. With another pass at the script and a trimmed runtime, this could’ve been worthy of an Oscar nomination. Yet, as is, THE SEA BEAST sadly gets lost at sea.

It’s available on Netflix. 

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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