Fearless seal Quinn assembles a squad of misfit recruits to stand up to ruthless sharks with razor-sharp teeth and reclaim the open sea.Fearless seal Quinn assembles a squad of misfit recruits to stand up to ruthless sharks with razor-sharp teeth and reclaim the open sea.Fearless seal Quinn assembles a squad of misfit recruits to stand up to ruthless sharks with razor-sharp teeth and reclaim the open sea.
Seal Team marks the latest film from South African based production house, Triggerfish Animation, who cut their teeth on modestly budgeted features like Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba and are responsible for co-producing a number of TV specials for British TV along with Magic Light Pictures. The studio currently also has a number of TV projects in development for streamers such as Disney+ and Netflix. Seal Team marks the studio's first feature film in about 8 years and on the surface from its celebrity voice cast to its pun-centric title seems like it's tailored made as one of those middle of the road foreign animated films from the likes nWave Pictures or Vanguard Animation that are tailor made for bargain bins in your local store, but in execution the movie surprisingly has a lot of charm and humor to it and despite being on the lower end of the budget spectrum is considerably more stylish than I was expecting.
The movie is very much a parody of "men on a mission" formula military movies down to the fact the movie flashes back to the 80s to show the glory days of HMMF and features Dolph Lundgren in a prominent cameo as a cigar chomping dolphin who fits well within the characterization seen in projects like The A-Team or any number of Cannon Films. The movie lovingly sends up the tropes of this type of military team movie with all the tropes and trappings we know and love from the genre and gets a lot of mileage from its creative weaponry and gadgets like a stealth suit made out of octopi, a barracuda firing weapon called the "barazooka", and a number of other fun elements that lead to some amusing moments.
The cast is very entertaining featuring the likes of J. K. Simmons, Patrick Warburton, Kristen Schaal, and Sharlto Copley are all strong supporting performers who give real life and energy to their performances and help augment the film's humor. Jessie T. Usher as Quinn makes a good protagonist who plays off well against the set of characters, and Matthew Rhys is having fun chewing the scene as the villainous Great White Shark Grimes who's both threatening as an antagonist and pretty funny. The animation is really strong for a smaller studio with Triggerfish going for a slightly simplified style in terms of the designs and animation that almost looks like a stylized stop-motion and falls well in line with the quality of their TV specials they've produced in the intervening years.
Not every joke lands as there are elements such as running gags that aren't all that funny such as British Singer-Songwriter Seal playing a singing cape fur seal called Seal Seal and some gags work better than others, but the humor has so many diverse and amusing moments (including some cheeky references to other shark movies) that when I wasn't laughing I was smiling.
Seal Team is well above average for the standards of many animated films from smaller production houses and with a team of well utilized comic talents and humor and approach that succeeds more often than it stumbles, Seal Team will make enjoyable viewing.
- Jan 1, 2022