Seal Team (2021)
Directed by: Greig Cameron, Kane Crouace | 98 minutes | animation, comedy | Dutch voice cast: Juliann Ubbergen, Huub Dikstaal, Florus van Rooijen, Marlies Somers, Jürgen Theuns | Original voice cast: JK Simmons, Dolph Lundgren, Sharlto Copley, Bumper Robinson, Jessie T. Usher, Julian Alexander Smith, Patrick Warburton, Rick Zieff, Richard Steven Horvitz, Vivienne Rutherford, Kristen Schaal
With influences from Liechtenstein’s Pop Art, Japanese anime, telenovelas and stop motion, ‘Seal Team’ is a unique animated film to watch. It is a film set half on land and half in the sea using the same animation techniques as ‘The Lego Movie’ (Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, 2014) and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (Bob Persichetti) among others. , Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rotham, 2018). The story is a simple seal-vs-shark conflict, in which the sharks are the bloodthirsty bad guys. Quin (Jessei Usher) is a seal who likes to lend his colony a hand (flipper) to get more food. But when he loses his best friend, Benji, to the shark Grimes (Matthew Rsys), he is determined to start a Seal Team to protect all the seals from the sharks. He finds a group of benevolent seals who join him in training with Claggart (JK Simmons), an old warrior.
The title “Seal Team” refers to a group in the United States Navy that includes a SEAL (short for SEa, Air, Land). The film cleverly combined this reference with the seal, which in English means seal. So what the film does is mainly show a story that promotes the navy and also shows many weapons. But at the same time, the film is also a satire, because references are expressed in hairstyle clichés and weapons that have been humorously converted to seal-friendly use.
The humor of the film comes with ups and downs, but is mainly in well-developed characters. Especially the character of Geraldo, who makes an art of overdramatizing very comically. The voice of Patrick Warburton, who is also known for ‘Keizer Kusco’ (Mark Dindal, 2000), fits this character well. There is also overdramatization in other elements of the film. This is mainly due to the extensive use of slow motions. In addition, the film contains some comic references to classic shark films and films that take place at sea, thereby also involving the adult viewer.
For a young audience, the sharks in the film may seem a bit scary. But in the crucial moments, the film keeps enough distance between the camera and the shark, so that the threat never gets too close. Also, humor, such as slapstick comedy, acts as a relief for these tense scenes. However, some extra attention could be given to emotions of loss, which can be a difficult subject for children. As a result, the plot is just a bit too weak to hold your full attention. Especially in the beginning, the film is still looking for a well-running common thread. In the second half of the film, however, it picks up better.
‘Seal Team’ is not a high-quality animation film and that is mainly due to the plot. But the animation is nevertheless very nicely executed and the film certainly shows surprising elements. Although it is not immediately clear at the beginning where the story is going, the film develops towards an exciting climax. The animation combined with the humor is what keeps the attention and that makes it a great entertaining film in the end.