Deep Sea (2023)

Rating ⭐️ 6.8/10
Genre Animation
Runtime 1h 52m
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Deep Sea (2023) – Shenxiu felt profound sadness since her mother’s departure. The storm plunged her into a swirling 3D world, much like a dream, led by Hyjinx. Teaming up with the inventive underwater chef, Nanhe, she embarked on a quest to find solace in the Deep Sea’s Eye.

This year has given us many amazing animated films of diverse styles, such as the anime Suzume and the groundbreaking Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse. Adding to this array of animation versatility is Deep Sea, a Chinese film with its own unique style, blending highly realistic CG with techniques reminiscent of traditional Chinese ink paintings.

Director Tian Xiaopeng employed this blend of realistic and illustrative animation to narrate the story of Shenxiu (Wang Ting Wen), a young girl abandoned by her mother at an early age. While she continued to mourn this loss, her father had remarried and had another child, focusing more on them than on Shenxiu.

As the film opens, the family boards a cruise ship together on Shenxiu’s birthday, but there’s no celebration for her. The only birthday wish she receives is a text message from her cellphone company. Left out of the family vacation, Shenxiu turns to the stories her mother once told her. If you desire something on your birthday, a magical creature known as Hyjinx will help fulfill that wish.

One wish later, Hyjinx ushers a storm into Shenxiu’s life. It takes her to the wondrous underwater restaurant, Deep Sea, catering to fish and walrus patrons. Here, the plot of Deep Sea truly unfolds, and the film faces its biggest challenge in the form of a human chef named Nanhe (Su Xin). Nanhe is the head chef of the Deep Sea, and so far, he is the most formidable element in the film. Amidst the raging storm, the furry tendrils of Hyjinx, and the choking monster known as the Red Ghost, none of them compare to Nanhe. Or, more precisely, to his mouth.