Yarr! There be monsters here! There be many and they be huge, like KAIJU HUGE!
According to The Sea Beast, one element of that above sentence is inaccurate. Think on that, we’ll return to it in a minute.
The film immediately announces the legitimacy of the Netflix animation division as it drops us into the middle of some rollicking pirate action in the tradition of the Disney pirate movies of old and new (of the remarkable animation, I had to remind myself the chopping waves were not real!).
The crew of The Inevitable, led by the legendary Captain Crow (Jared Harris), is doing battle with the equally legendary beast known as The Red Buster – Crow’s personal “white whale.”
Joining the captain is his chosen successor, the tender and empathetic Jacob, and a diverse cast of swashbucklers led by the very much by-the-book first mate Sarah Sharpe (Marianne Jean-Baptiste).
They are “Hunters,” in the employ of the king and queen, charged with protecting the kingdom. And what do they hunt? You guessed it. MONSTERS!
But the heart of the movie belongs to a young orphan, the plucky, adorable and resourceful Hunter-wannabe Maisie. She orchestrates a daring orphanage-escape to chase these dreams.
That she is so driven should come as no surprise. Her parents were Hunters. It’s in her blood. Jacob isn’t convinced, but as an orphan himself, he gets it.
Jacob finds himself aghast that Maisie would defend the monsters. THE MONSTERS. Isn’t she tarnishing her parents’ hunting legacy with such thoughts?
“Maybe you can be a hero and still be wrong,” she replied.
Even so, the film asks, can we honor those who came before us by growing past their mistakes?
Yarr or Not to Yarr?
At one point while going through the swashbuckler stories and histories along with Maisie, Jacob goes on a bit of a tangent: Hunters, pirates and their similar ilk do NOT say YARR! (If you guessed “YARR” to the query at the beginning of this article, YOU WIN! Congrats!)
When the victors and ruling class are the ones writing history… Who tells these stories? What is their agenda?
This exchange between Jacob and Maisie sums up the cycle of violence:
Maisie: The sea is [the monster's] home. And we go after her. What if we just left them alone? Jacob: We kill them because they kill us.
But the deeper the two dig into the stories of old, the more inconsistencies they find. The truth rocks the boat, so to speak, and challenges the very foundation that justifies the long-standing war between man and beast.
It also effectively illustrates what can happen when history isn’t placed into the proper context. And when the victors and ruling class are the ones writing history, finding this context is easier said than done. Who tells these stories? What is their agenda?
In the end, though, does it matter?
“I don’t know how the war started. Maybe what matters is how it ends,” said Maisie. And so the struggle begins.
Breaking Bad (Cycles)
It’s clear that there are some generational cycles playing into this and intercession is needed.
Generational cycles are traits or patterns passed down from parent to child, sometimes positive but most often negative. It’s a lens through which we see the world, not only passed down through families, but also influenced through culture, ethnicity and events. We pass it along, both consciously and not.
What cycles need to be broken to liberate yourself, the next generation in your family, and perhaps even beyond? It could be hostility towards a partner, a bad temper, an addiction?
Like Maisie and Jacob, getting to the root of the problem likely involves a closer examination of what came before. It also involves self awareness.
Building a New Legacy
Here are five steps provided by Jody Michael Associates to break those cycles and build a more positive generational legacy. I have included my personal commentary:
- Become Self Aware. Each of the subsequent steps on this list build on this first intentional step. I would suggest journaling, something we touched on earlier with Stranger Things.
- Taking Ownership of Belief Systems. Don’t just ask yourself: What do you believe, but why you believe what you believe?
- Travel and Experience the World. VACAY! Expose yourself to other people, other cultures, other outlooks. Locally and virtually o the ‘net? Every one of us tends to operate within an echo chamber, particularly in the world of social media, surrounding ourselves with people with shared beliefs, philosophies, and values. Consequently, we rarely find ourselves challenged. Intentionally venturing out requires a sense of intentionality.
- Forgive and Move Forward. Forgiveness is a healthy thing to do, perhaps mores for yourself then the offender. Also remember: Forgiveness doesn’t always equate to forgetting or allowing toxic relationships to continue. “Move forward” is key.
- Become a Model to the Next Generation. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” There has been some debate over whether that quote was actually said by Ghandi, but it doesn’t change the spirit of the statement. Be a role model!
Remember these steps are merely that – steps! Something to build on. That said, it’s highly advisable to seek professional guidance from a therapist, particularly when dealing with past traumas.
Live by a Code
In the world of The Sea Beast, there is a “Hunter’s Code.” Basically it says this: If another crew is in peril, any ship nearby has to provide aid, regardless of the sacrifice. I love this. We should all do this. It’s called being a good human, amiright?
What kind of a code did you grow up with? What should you keep? What should you drop?
Here’s a fun exercise. Call a family meeting, with the main agenda being to write out a family code! Make kindness the rule. Offer up a variation of The Hunter Code. Someone in need? Drop what you are doing and help. Perhaps you adhere to a Spock philosophy of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Have fun with it! EVERY TUESDAY IS RESERVED FOR TACOS. THIS IS THE WAY.
You don’t have to do things the way your parents did it. Repeat after me: “I am the captain now.”
Where to Watch
The Sea Beast is currently streaming on Netflix.
Have you successfully broken out of a destructive cycle? What kind of advice would you offer up? What would write into your fantasy code? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!
The Sea Beast (2022)
Director: Chris Williams
Screenwriter: Chris Williams, Neil Benjamin
Cast: Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens, Kathy Burke, Jim Carter
Rated: PG for action, violence, and some language
Running time: 115 minutes
Scott is a movie lover who brings over 20 years experience in mental health, journalism and vocational ministry. He has a Masters of Divinity degree, which is not nearly as amazing sounding as Masters of the Universe, but it is what it is. It is here at Movies That Move Us where his powers combine! It is not uncommon to find him pretending to open automatic doors using The Force.