Plot: Charlie is a mutant monster fish with big dreams, as he wants to become a comedian and win over crowds with his jokes. But right now, his material is not that good and he gets nervous on stage, so he bumbles his lines and as a result, the crabs boo his routine. A huge comedy show is happening soon however, so Charlie wants to fine tune his comic skills and win over the audience. To do so, he plans to visit The Maestro, a famous writer who can unlock the comedic potential in anyone, even a nervous mutant monster fish. So Charlie heads out with a couple of his friends, but the road to finding The Maestro proves to be tougher than expected. Will he be able to track down the elusive genius and learn the secret to comedy?
Entertainment Value: Sea Monsters is a simple, low budget animated feature that has some obvious spots, but has its heart in the right place. You can tell there is some passion involved in the production, but animation is a tough format to hide flaws in, so the movie suffers from the lack of resources. The writing is passable, but feels more like a YouTube show, rather than a feature film, as the jokes are well worn and there’s no real flow to the material. The premise follows our main characters from one conversation to another, with no segues or transitions, so Sea Monsters isn’t a kinetic kind of flick and it does get slow at times. The focus on dialogue wouldn’t be bad, but the movie’s humor is mediocre and sometimes even quite lame, with some painful misses and even the hits aren’t that humorous. The cast does what it can, but leans on stereotypes and heavy accents, none of which are that fun. I wanted to like Sea Monsters, but this is a tough one to recommend. Perhaps if you have very young viewers, the bright colors and slow rate of speech will resonate.
I don’t need perfect animation in these kind of movies, but Sea Monsters just doesn’t have the juice to pass muster. The animation is mostly short loops, so we see the same movements over and over again, even within the same scenes. This is really evident when it comes to dialogue, as the characters’ mouths don’t match the dialogue, as the loops remain the same regardless of the words spoken. Sometimes this isn’t much of an issue, but when entire sentences pass with closed mouths, it can be trouble. I liked the overall designs involved, especially of the characters, but the film’s budget doesn’t allow for the kind of detail needed for the designs to shine. The Frankenstein style fish for example lacks any real texture and doesn’t even look finished, while the sushi fish has solid looking visual details. The backgrounds are mostly static, with some minor sways and such, but at least they’re bright and colorful. A flow of bubbles and other little touches keep the visuals moving and active, but the animation here just isn’t able to deliver on the basic visual needs.
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