The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

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Review byMatthew Turner6/02/2008

out of Five stars
Running time: 112 mins

Enjoyable, well made fantasy adventure with a strong script, superb effects and impressive performances throughout.

What's it all about?
Based on the novel by Dick King-Smith, The Water Horse begins in present day Scotland, as an old man (Brian Cox) tells two American tourists a story about Loch Ness during the war. In 1942, Angus (Alex Etel) lives with his mother, Anne (Emily Watson) and sister Kirstie (Priyanka Xi) in a house by the loch, where a troop of soldiers are billeted under the watchful eye of their strict Captain (David Morrissey).

Refusing to accept that his father won't be coming home, Angus withdraws from his mother and sister, especially when he finds a mysterious egg on the shores of a the loch and it hatches into a strange creature. As the creature grows, Angus resorts to desperate measures to keep it hidden from the soldiers and he forms a close bond with the new handyman (Ben Chaplin) when he agrees to keep Angus' secret.

The Good
Leaving aside a few geographical errors (such as the loch being somehow connected to the sea), The Water Horse is a welcome addition to the Loch Ness sub-genre of monster movies. The creature design is impressive and the effects are superb, imbuing the creature with a certain amount of personality without going too far into fantasy land.

Alex Etel makes an appealing lead and there's strong support from Priyanka Xi as his sister, while Watson, Morrissey and Chaplin bring depth and complexity to what could have been fairly cliched characters. Similarly, the script doesn't always do what you'd expect, steering clear of mawkish sentimentality in favour of something a little darker.

The Great
The filmmakers have obviously spent time studying A-Boy-And-His-Monster classics such as E.T. or The Iron Giant and it shows, particularly during the climactic sequences. There's also plenty of gentle humour in the film, thanks to an assured script by Robert Nelson Jacobs.

Worth seeing?
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is an enjoyable, well made fantasy adventure that's exciting, funny and moving in equal measure. Recommended.

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The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
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Content updated: 12/12/2019 02:52

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