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This new Netflix movie just hit No. 2 — and it’s 94% on Rotten Tomatoes

A TV with the Netflix logo sits behind a hand holding a remote
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Prime Day deals may be upon us, but not even a big sale can halt the cogs of the great streaming machine. The latest movie to shoot up the Netflix charts is animated feature The Sea Beast, which ends its debut weekend in the number 2 slot.

The Karl Urban-led movie is proving to be a hit with audiences and critics alike. The movie is currently rocking a 94% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), while audiences have given it an equally solid 92%. And unlike Urban’s other big streaming project, The Boys, this is something the whole family can enjoy.

What is The Sea Beast about? 

The Sea Beast is a movie from Netflix Animation, set in a world where sea monsters are commonplace. So commonplace, in fact, that there’s a whole industry of monster hunters whose sole purpose is to track and kill the creatures and prevent ships being lost at sea.

The most famous monster-hunting crew is led by the legendary Captain Crow (Jared Harris), first mate Sarah Sharpe (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Crow's adopted son Jacob Holland (Karl Urban). Unfortunately, the crew are set to lose their royal funding, after a failed attempt to kill the Red Bluster — the worst monster to roam the seas. 

After being given one final chance, the crew then find orphan girl Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator) has stowed away on the ship. Obviously things go wrong, and shenanigans ensue when Jacob and Maisie are separated from the rest of the crew during a Red Bluster attack. 

What do critics think of The Sea Beast?

netflix the sea beast shot with jacob and maisie on a raft

(Image credit: Netflix)

Many recent Netflix movies, including the likes of Persuasion and The Man from Toronto, have been mauled by critics — but not The Sea Beast. As well as its impressive Rotten Tomatoes scores from both professionals and viewers, it has an IMDB score of 7.1/10 (opens in new tab). Yes, those figures are likely to change as more people watch and rate the movie, but nonetheless it’s a pretty great start for The Sea Beast.

The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the move as “an original animated tale that's often as daring as its characters,“ and continues that “The Sea Beast sends audiences on a voyage well worth taking.” 

Brian Tellerico of RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) gave the movie 3 out of four stars, declaring The Sea Beast to be one of the biggest movie surprises of the year so far. He noted its similarities to Moana and Pirates of the Caribbean, with a dash of How to Train your Dragon for good measure. 

Ross Bonaime at Collider (opens in new tab), meanwhile, gave the movie a B-, saying that 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.” And Kevin Maher at The Times (U.K.) (opens in new tab) noted the movie’s bland title doesn’t do it justice, and was the only flaw in this “exquisite ocean-going yarn.” In fact, he declared the movie was “easily out-Pixaring Pixar” and awarded it a score of 4 out of 5.

Of course, not everyone agrees. Carlos Aguilar at The Wrap (opens in new tab) noted that the movie looks “top-notch in detail and photorealism” but that it proves insufficient in other areas. Lena Wilson at The New York Times (opens in new tab) criticised the film’s “steadfast predictability,” noting that, “Lessons are learned and enemies are fought, but nothing very surprising happens in between.”

Outlook: Should you watch The Sea Beast? 

From the sounds of things, yes you should. These days it feels as though critic and audience opinions are increasingly at odds, which means it’s always worth checking something out whenever they agree. Not only that, but quality animated adventures that are suitable for the whole family aren't exactly common, so if that's what you're after then this definitely sounds like one to consider.

The Sea Beast is only two hours long, which should prove useful to keep the kids quiet for a little while. But from the sounds of things this isn’t a kid’s movie as such, and adults should find plenty of things to like about The Sea Beast too. Plus, now that The Boys is over, we have to get our Karl Urban fix somehow.

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Tom Pritchard
Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.