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The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (SE)
DVD disk
04.09.2008 By: Jason Adams
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (SE) order
Director:
Jay Russell

Actors:
Alex Etel
Emily Watson
Ben Chaplin

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The Loch Ness Monster is real and probably won't eat children.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I like to think of THE WATER HORSE as a story that Brian Cox tells just to get laid by horny female tourists. You see, Cox bookends the movie as a man who relays the magical Loch Ness tale to a girl and her disbelieving boyfriend. And by the end the young lady is so enamored that it's potentially go-time for Cox. Oh hell yeah.

But I apologize; Brian Cox erotic fiction has no place in a kid's movie review. Especially one that is actually pretty decent like THE WATER HORSE. Set against the Scottish backdrop of World War II, this is a welcomingly mature fantasy flick. There's no forced kiddie jokes or easy toilet humor, just a nice straightforward adventure and a "Daddy story" that would make Spielberg misty. The plot is a little clichéd as far as "child finds something magical and hides it from his parents" standards go, but it doesn't talk down to its intended young audience, who will eat up the magical creature and the feel-good message.

It’s usually a good sign having Emily Watson's name at the top of your cast list. She's a quality actress who doesn't attach herself to meaningless crap. Her cinematic son, played by Alex Etel aka the kid from MILLIONS, is also a fine actor and has no problem carrying the movie. The other star is of course the monster itself, courtesy of Weta Digital. It's not Gollum or King Kong quality, but the effects are pretty good overall.

The one weird thing though is the “Based on a True Story” tag at the front of the film. I’m sure they meant it to be cute, but I can only imagine all the disappointed and heartbroken children bound to discover there really isn’t a mythical creature they can befriend and ride like a giant sea horse.
THE EXTRAS
This two-discer has a fair amount of goodies on it. And thankfully no crappy kiddie games or activities.

Deleted Scenes (6:54): There's nothing extra with the titular water horse, just more of young Angus interacting with his family and Ben Chaplin putting the mack on Emily Watson.

Myths and Legends (10:32): A real Scotsman narrates the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, while crew and Nessie experts discuss the history of the myth in popular folklore.

The Story (11:48): A history of the project as told by director Russell and the cast.

The Characters (15:35): An outline of the characters as told by director Russell and the cast. It also touches a bit on the necessary effects work.

Setting the Scene (13:35): A bit on shooting on location in New Zealand and creating that authentic period look and feel.

Water Work (11:43): A cool look at the effects work, from stunt work to tricky shooting in the water. Weta even did some neat stuff with blue screen and jet skis.

Creating Crusoe (14:21): A bit on Weta's work on bringing such an iconic creature to life, which, as usual, is a lot more complicated than you think. They never cease to impress.

Previews. Are they really making an OPEN SEASON 2? You shouldn't be allowed to make a sequel unless at least one person in the entire world asked for it.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE WATER HORSE is a solid kid's film that, aside from its cutting edge digital effects, feels quite “old school” in its telling. Perhaps it would’ve done better at the box office if the title didn't recall images of soggy equestrians. I think THE EFFING LOCH NESS MONSTER VS. WWII! would've drawn in audiences better.

Extra Tidbit: THE WATER HORSE is based on a novel by author Dick King Smith, who has the world's greatest natural porn name.
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