Netflix has a new hit movie on its hands – and the streamer should learn a valuable lesson from being an animated film.
The Sea Beast, a swashbuckling CGI adventure film from the mind of Chris Williams – whose credits include Frozen II (story artist), Moana (writer) and Big Hero 6 (director) – received critical acclaim ahead of its 8 July. throw.
The Netflix movie stars The Boys’ Karl Urban as Jacob Holland, a legendary hunter who leads his motley crew on countless missions to slay the ocean’s deadliest sea monsters. However, when a stowaway child named Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator) ends up befriending the most dangerous sea creature of all, Jacob and his fellow hunters begin to realize that there’s more to these supposedly deadly beasts than meets the eye. And with villainous Captain Crow (The Foundation’s Jared Harris) on the hunt for the monster Maisie befriends, it’s up to Jacob and company to keep him safe from harm.
Netflix’s latest family movie doesn’t seem to reinvent things from an archetypal story or character perspective. However, that didn’t stop critics from praising the film.
Prior to the public release of The Sea Beast, the film has a new certified critical rating of 92% on the review aggregator website. rotten tomatoes (opens in new tab). It’s an impressively significant score to reach pre-release – one that will push The Sea Beast to Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Movies on Netflix List (opens in new tab) (based on your critical ratings). At the time of writing, The Sea Beast did not make that list. When that happens, though, it will nestle alongside other fan-favorite movies available on Netflix, including Full Metal Jacket, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Da 5 Bloods, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Uncut Gems. Not bad to go to an animated movie, huh?
On IMDb.com, The Sea Beast’s 7.9 out of 10 points (opens in new tab) (among critics, that is) would see him tied for second in the List of IMDb’s Highest Rated Netflix Original Movies (opens in new tab). Only 2019’s Klaus, a fantastic Christmas-themed movie, tops The Sea Beast with its rating of 8.1 out of 10. Meanwhile, The Sea Beast’s current score would sit alongside the live-action drama Marriage Story. starring former Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson and former Star Wars actor Adam Driver.
Of course, The Seas Beast ratings are sure to change when Netflix subscribers get a chance to stream it. There’s no denying, though, that it resonated with critics, as well as being a rare occurrence for a Netflix movie – an animated one, no less – to earn a rating of over 90% among those commenting on the entertainment industry. You only have to look at the mixed to poor reception that big-budget Netflix movies like The Adam Project or Red Notice have received from critics to see just how impressive The Sea Beast’s score is.
And that’s a big deal, especially when you consider the fact that Netflix significantly reduced headcount and canceled several projects in its in-house animation department earlier this year.
The streaming giant has suffered unprecedented losses in 2022 so far, losing 200,000 subscribers at the start of the year and lasting its slowest quarterly growth period in more than 12 months (opens in new tab). Unsurprisingly, Netflix’s financial woes caused the company to lay off employees and cancel several shows, with most of these cancellations and employee layoffs affecting Netflix’s animation department. The company’s fan site Tudum was also affected, but not as badly as its animation team.
The critical success of The Sea Beast, however, proves Netflix wrong in primarily downsizing its animation department. The streamer continues to forge ahead with the development of movies starring top-tier actors. Meanwhile, Netflix is still trying to successfully turn iconic anime and manga series like Death Note and One Piece into live-action properties.
Netflix subscribers, however, have shown that they are not only interested in this type of production. Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop TV show was panned at launch last year; the series later being canceled by Netflix after a lonely season. As mentioned earlier, too, Netflix’s original movie offerings don’t always appeal to fans and critics.
The Sea Beast shows that there is still an audience for animated films and shows – and potentially a large one. Arcane, Castlevania, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Klaus and Love, Death & Robots showed that Netflix subscribers enjoy animation as much as their live-action counterparts. With the critical success that The Sea Beast and its contemporaries have garnered, Netflix shouldn’t downsize its animation department — it should be pumping more money into it.
For more Netflix-based content, check out our picks of the 10 best Netflix original movies.