Friday, April 11, 2008

"The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep"

Fantasy adventure starring Emily Watson, Alex Etel, David Morrissey, Ben Chaplin. Directed by Jay Russell. About five years ago, my son and I took a car ride around England and Scotland. One of my most favorite memories of this trip was the morning we spent on the banks of Loch Ness. The loch is many things but one thing for sure it isn’t. It isn’t separated from the ocean by a narrow channel. Other than that geographical misstep, I found this film about how the Loch Ness Monster came to be rather charming and a wonderful example of the term "family film," providing the children in your family are at least close to double digits in age. It tells the story of Angus MacMarrow (Etel), a young lad during World War II who finds an egg on the shore of Loch Ness, takes it home, discovers that a strange little creature has hatched from it and then watches it grow quite rapidly which becomes a major problem since his mother (Watson) has refused to allow young Angus to have pets. "E.T." is a major influence in this film, although the climax of "The Water Horse" is far more in the rousing adventure tradition and is the reason the film might be a little too intense for younger children. The monster is wonderfully created and realized, from infancy to full beasthood. The movie borders on over-sentimentality at times, but never fully crosses the line. Grade: B-

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