Friday, January 24, 2014

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007) [PG] ****

In present-day Scotland, in a village at the shore of Loch Ness, an aged Angus MacMorrow (Brian Cox) tells a wondrous story to two young strangers he's just met in a pub. It's the story of how, in the spring of 1942, ten-year-old Angus (Alex Etel) finds a magic egg in a tide pool of the Loch, and how out of the egg hatches an animal that grows over time to become the Water Horse of Scottish legend, a sea creature the size of a humpback whale. 1942 is the middle of World War II, and a military detachment is garrisoned on the grounds of the MacMorrow estate, guarding Loch Ness against incursions by German submarines. 

As the Water Horse grows, it becomes harder for Angus and his sister Kirstie (Priyanka Xi) to hide the creature from their mother (Emily Watson), the household staff and the soldiers, and finally Angus and handyman Lewis Mowbray (Ben Chaplin) have to load him onto a lorry for transport to the Loch. But the drama is only beginning as the gunnery crews guarding the Loch mistake the Water Horse for a German submarine.

Part fantasy, part drama, part comedy, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep feels a bit like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial meets Free Willy, with young Angus playing a role similar to Henry Thomas' role as Elliot in E.T.. Although the Water Horse takes Angus for a thrilling ride on his back, the relationship between boy and sea creature doesn't have the richness and opportunities for communication and growth found in E.T. and the film's moments of drama and peril mostly relate to the gunnery crews firing into the Loch at the Water Horse. Production values are excellent and the supporting cast is very good, especially Ben Chaplin. Although rated PG, this film is probably a bit too intense for your pre-teen children. 

Labels: adventure, family, fantasy

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 71/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=67, viewers=70)

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