Starring: Tingwen Wang, Su Xin, Yang Ting, Kuixing Teng, and Jing Ji
Director: Xiaopeng Tian
This film has been reviewed by Quentin and Nick as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival.
Look, I get it… I’m old. But for the past several years, most animated movies, even Pixar, haven’t done it for me. However, when one actually does hit, it hits hard. That’s where Deep Sea comes in. This film is flat-out remarkable. From the maybe-best-I’ve-ever-seen animation that combines incredibly realistic CG with Chinese ink-wash-painting-in-motion to the deeply poignant themes of childhood depression and parental neglect, I was blown away. Not to sound culturally obtuse, but it’s reminiscent of Spirited Away (Japanese), but that doesn’t diminish Deep Sea (Chinese) at all. The only thing precluding a perfect score is the subtitle factor. Still… Blown. Away.
Deep Sea is one of the most beautifully animated films I've seen in quite some time. The watercolour-style of animation brings forth a vibrancy not often seen, and it matches perfectly with its imaginative visuals. Were I rating the film purely on appearance, it would get five reels, without a doubt. Unfortunately, the story doesn't match up to the artistry. There are strong themes touched on, including depression, abandonment, and abuse, but it’s not done in a succinct way, which often leads to an unfulfilling resolution. Deep Sea is still a good film, but a better script could have made it an all-timer.