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  Publicity Stills of
"The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Children/Fantasy
Director: Jay Russell
Cast: Emily Watson, Alex Etel, Ben Chaplin, David Morrissey, Brian Cox
RunTime: 1 hr 51 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.thewaterhorse.com

Opening Day: 6 March 2008



The Academy Award®-winning producer and special-effects team behind "The Lord of the Rings" join with Revolution Studios, Walden Media ("The Chronicles of Narnia") and Beacon Pictures to bring to the screen the magical motion picture "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep." The story begins when Angus, a young Scottish boy, finds an enchanted egg. Taking it home, he soon finds himself face-to-face with an amazing creature: the mythical "water horse" of Scottish lore. Angus begins a journey of discovery, facing his greatest fears and risking his life to protect a secret that would give birth to a legend.

Movie Review:

Maybe I haven’t been the most objective reviewer around here, but I wasn’t exactly the most thrilled person when I had to sit through this 111-minute family movie. The wholesome British picture is about a kid and his adventures with a water creature that looks like a horse. The titular water horse has flippers, looks annoyingly cute, and most importantly, makes for a pet that every lonely 12-year-old wants to own. But my initial reluctance to like this movie (no thanks to the team that brought you the creatures in The Chronicles of Narnia) became an enjoyably pleasant surprise as the credits rolled.

Jay Russell (Ladder 49, Tuck Everlasting) perfectly casts the adorable Alex Etel (Millions) as Angus MacMarrow, a young boy who discovers an egg which hatches into the mythical water horse of Loch Ness. As the creature grows bigger and the political unrest around him grows stronger, the secret becomes almost impossible to keep. Joining the endearing Etel are reliable actors like Emily Watson (Red Dragon, Miss Potter) as his mother, Ben Chaplin (The Touch, Stage Beauty) as the house’s friendly handyman and Brian Cox (X2, Troy) as the old Angus.

You already know how this movie is going to unfold: An old Angus tells the story in flashback manner to nosey tourists in a country bar. He reminisces the good ol’ times with his pet before it got too big to hide in his bathtub. He releases the creature into the open sea and before he knows it, he is forced to separate with his companion forever. Based on Dick King-Smith’s (Babe) novel, this story set in Scotland during the World War II period is told with heart, which makes it a winner despite its formulaic plot.

The nice little touches of fatherhood and companionship are subtly put in place by screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs (Dinosaur, Chocolat), which makes this a treat for the young ones (the young boy beside me was cheering every moment the water horse outwitted from the baddies, and crouching in fear whenever it faced dire danger). The capable casting also helps lifts the film into a charming picture. Etel is sweet without being irritating, while Watson and Chaplin are extremely comfortable in their roles.

The wonderfully computer-generated creature is another reason why this predictable flick makes for enjoyable viewing. Unlike the dull creatures created in The Chronicles of Narnia, this water horse is a joy to watch, with its animated facial expressions (when it was still small-sized) and thunderous bellows (after it has grown enormous) nicely contrasting each other. Other captivating aspects of the movie include Oliver Stapleton’s (Ned Kelly, Casanova) breathtaking cinematography of the Scotland plains and James Newton Howard’s (Lady in the Water, Michael Clayton) ethnically pleasing bagpipe score.

The above are not the only ingredients to this warm fantasy movie. At its core, it is the good storytelling will win your heart over. And just for a while, it’d be good if you leave all those cynicism at the back of your mind to enjoy this finely-made family movie.

Movie Rating:

(A quality family picture that will appeal and charm adults and children alike)

Review by John Li


. The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

. The Golden Compass (2007)

. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

. Bridge To Terabithia (2007)

. Harry Potter And The Globet of Fire (2005)

. Zathura (2005)

. The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)

. Millions (2004)

. Little Manhattan DVD (2005)

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