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The Water Horse
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The Water Horse More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

While not winning the race, this Water Horse doesn't come in last either.

5/10
Author: Cinema_Fan from An English Shire.
13 February 2008

Here we see the telling, via the great Brian Cox, of the legend that is the Loch Ness monster from its humble beginnings and the effects that it had on a particular young boy called Angus. Set in the time of World War II Scotland, we see young Angus eagerly awaiting the return of his seafaring father from active duty while idling away the hours at his home on the shores of this mammoth freshwater loch.

Originally seen as a children's story by English writer Dick King-Smith, who also penned "The Sheep-Pig" and what some may have seen as the 1995 movie "Babe", this working of his work has been turned over to movie director Jay Russell.

Whilst a nice little film overall, the first act is somewhat slow to take off, these are nice people who mean well, but as for depth and personal heritage, these are somewhat invisible traits. As we see the character development, if somewhat a little one-dimensional, dragging its heals for a little too long, and by this course of action we can only assume that the young target audience won't be distracted with the colour of the furnishings and the trips to the toilet long enough to miss the overall plot.

It is this young leading man, played by Alex Etel, and his newfound friend that The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep has from its very beginnings been a heartfelt story of want and denial that turns from plodder to your fairly average family fantasy movie. Once the second act is under way the pace picks up somewhat, and the story begins in earnest. With a three way love interest and a humorous parody of the world famous fake "Surgeon's Photograph" from 1934, and don't forget, this is a Second World War movie, we see a nice and pleasant film, if a little shallow in the majority.

In the third and final act, the pace is quicker and sharper, we also notice that the edits and cuts are quicker and more frequent and in this delivery we finally cancel out the pain of the first act and the struggle of its second. All can be forgiven.

The movie comes into its own when Crusoe, yes, for that is his name, has fully grown. Yet again, we have the now infamous Weta Workshop in New Zealand, giving the creature both charm and personality. As too, with New Zealand, it is where the majority of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was filmed, and it being the better for it, with its stunning views and landscapes.

In general, it's a film that one can take the grandkids to see as a matinée, and have fun with its jovial manner as we see the Water Horse growing-up and being mischievous, curious and cute. Only those of a mature mind will see the undercurrent of the love interest, and that works just fine, no harm being done and everyone can sleep safely. Something for everyone. And why not, that's what a children's fantasy movie is all about: Innocence. Love. Pain and growing-up, oh, and fun.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nice, but something was missing

8/10
Author: siderite from Romania
2 April 2008

Clearly an above average family film about a boy that finds magic and friendship in a strange water creature, but I was hard pressed to rate it as high as I did. Btw, why DID they cancel Surface? It started just like this movie, it was a series and it was cool, too!

Anyway, the problem is not with the CGI or even with the acting. The story in itself was good, as well. The problem sits with the characters! The main character is a spineless brat who will listen to anyone telling him to do anything. He doesn't once stand up for what he believes in. Oh, yes, he does stuff in secret, when no one confronts him, but if someone does, he runs scared. Who can identify with that?

The ending is a wee ridiculous as well. The thick military man and the unimaginative mother wake up to the truth when they see the creature and everyone lives happily ever after. Oh, except the dad, who is dead... and the creature, which has to die in order to lay an egg. And good luck hatching anywhere with that kid William having the next egg, looking all American tourist like.

Bottom line: if you like fantastic stories, this one is pretty good, but it lacks in the character development section. As a writer once said, a good story needs to have a character defined at the beginning and change drastically until the end. Nothing really does change in this film, though.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Man, i relived my childhood!!!

10/10
Author: srkmish from Manipal, India
15 March 2008

These movies are meant for children no doubt giving headway to their free flowing imagination but it is also for adults to relive the unfulfilled fantasies of their childhoods.Set in the scenic hills and lakes of lochness,the story tells the tale of a little boy stumbling upon the egg of a sea horse out of which is born a precious animal whom angus loves dearly.

The background score,the haunting picturesque scenes of the countryside,the impressive cgi of the water horse and most importantly weaving all of these into a lovely poignant tale of the love between a boy and his new best friend,a love which spanned his entire lifetime.Kudos to the story,kudos to Scotland and kudos to the legend of the deep,we hope someday we get to be your best friend

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful family film

10/10
Author: craig-984 from United Kingdom
19 February 2008

As someone who knows Loch Ness well and the myth surrounding the monster, I approached this film with some trepidation. It was superb. The acting was good - the accents were acceptable despite the lack of real Scots involved.

The scenery (although not always Scotland) made a perfect backdrop to a film that could have easily fallen into cliché - young boy adopts monster and adults don't understand. It has been labelled the new ET and is just as enjoyable. The young lad Angus is very well played by Alex Etal.

Go see the film, the action zips along and then it ends - it seemed over so quickly. Having seen the film - go visit the area to soak up the atmosphere.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A pleasing and cute adventure/fairy tale for anyone who loves imagination

8/10
Author: Robert W. (Robert_duder@hotmail.com) from Ontario, Canada
20 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It could be said that The Waterhorse is perhaps run of the mill, predictable, been done. But that doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable if done right and the film makers did this very right. The Waterhorse takes an age old tale of a mysterious creature and brings it alive in a very cute, funny, and family made story that leaves you smiling. It's nothing overtly intense and doesn't require a lot of thought...it's just fun and full of imagination set against the absolutely gorgeous setting of Scotland (although most of the film was shot in New Zealand.) Regardless the picturesque background is incredible. Kids will love the adventure and will also love the Waterhorse itself as it grows and gets into mischievous trouble right up to it's harrowing escape. Director Jay Russell certainly has had some experience up till now with the family film and I don't think there is anything wrong with that because he makes it real and interesting and still clean and fun enough for anyone and everyone and I think that's awesome!! There were also some particularly good performances.

First and foremost the young newcomer Alex Etel (I have yet to see his first performance in Millions but it's on my list to watch.) Etel is terrific and has some amazing on screen charisma that makes him very watchable. I think he has a bright future ahead of him and he really does shine and make you believe everything. Academy Award nominee Emily Watson plays Etel's hard working, and perhaps stern mother Anne. She does a terrific job in a fairly small role showing that she really, truly loves her children and works very hard for them but has seen pain and shows her pain but subtly. She is very good. Ben Chaplin is also very good as the mysterious stranger who arrives to be a handy man and becomes something of a father figure to Etel's character. He's dark, and quiet and rugged but really becomes very likable in the end. David Morrissey tops off the main cast as stern and sometimes pompous Captain Thomas Hamilton. I wouldn't call him the villain exactly but he has his moments where you don't like the things he does. I think he represents a certain type of adult mindset that quashes a young child's imagination and he makes him more of a villain than he is intended. However I think his character is redeemed by the end as well to a certain degree.

The film can be a little predictable and in fact I thought the last half hour was nearly lifted straight from Free Willy (the original one not those terrible sequels.) This includes the final jump to freedom. I also thought being the film was whole heartedly friendly and cute and child worthy that the scenes at the end with the Waterhorse taking on the army boats was a little violent and could be very scary so it sort of stuck out but did make it a lot more interesting to me. This is one of those films where I found myself talking aloud (Oh no!...Oh I hope he doesn't...) you know that sort of thing. The Loch Ness Monster is rarely brought to film that I know of and this is a very originally done and well thought out spin to that legend complete with the explanation of the infamous Loch Ness picture. I also thought in a very small role that Brian Cox as the elder of Etel's character (and the one telling the story) did a great job because you could see the youth in his eyes as he told it. Although it's not revealed until the very end that is who he is...you never wonder...you almost expect it immediately which is unfortunate. Still you won't go wrong with this family gem that anyone can enjoy. 8/10

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Copy of Old Japanese Animation, Doraemon?

5/10
Author: Tara2007 from United States
21 January 2008

When I first saw the trailer for Water Horse, I instantly think of an Old Doraemon movie which was made in 1980, and re-released in the theater again in 2006. Apparently I'm not the only one. The link below shows images of the clips from the old Cartoon and WaterHorse movie side by side.

http://forums.lovingwii.com/lounge/1780-water-horse-vs-doraemon.html

Doraemon is a popular Japanese animation that was extremely popular all around Asia. Doraemon Movie with the Dinosaur is one of the many movie that was made. This one was about the main boy discovering a dinosaur egg and raising it in his home. This is another link that has the video on youtube. (although I'm not sure if it will be taken down later or not, I will post the link for now).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHVTakdWVVg

After seeing these images, what do you think? Is it too similar?

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9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Excellent visually talking!!!

10/10
Author: pakobunny from Mexico
27 December 2007

Excellent, brilliant, and splendid visually talking. It's very amazing and definitely a movie that you have to see on big screen, and since my very humble point of view The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep is the second best movie of the year, just behind of Ratatouille. No doubt about see it, run and watched because is very enjoyable for all the family entire, and you will get out of the cinema with a very good remember. Also I expect this movie have got nominations for the Academy Awars 2008 in the categories of Best Achievement in Art Direction and Best Achievement in Visual Effects because are wonderful in all the extension of the word. Beautiful Movie!!!

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Yet another inferior "E.T." rip-off

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
3 August 2011

Directed by Jay Russell, "The Water Horse-Legend of the Deep" is yet another in a long line of "E.T.-The Extraterrestrial"-wannabes (heck, even the two movies' titles sound the same) – only in this case the adorable alien from outer space has been replaced by the only slightly less adorable and certainly far more unwieldy creature known in folklore as the Loch Ness Monster. It's almost as if little Elliot had wandered into "Jurassic Park" instead of the forest near his house.

The Elliot of this tale is one Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel), a lonely lad living with his mother (Emily Watson) and older sister in a lakeside village in 1942 Scotland. Angus' dad is currently off serving in the war and the young boy counts the days till his planned return. One day, while playing in a local tide pool, Angus uncovers a mysterious giant egg which he takes home with him, only to discover that out of it has hatched a strange and heretofore mythological creature known as a water-horse.

Angus goes through the requisite routine of making friends with the creature, trying to hide him from the others in the household, frantically trying to save him from the military-industrial-complex forces out to destroy him, becoming all teary-eyed and emotional at their inevitable separation - in short, just about everything Spielberg did so masterfully in "E.T.," and that has been so dishonored in the imitation.

Luckily, the movie does improve a bit in the second half, when the script turns away from the "E.T." parallels and towards the wartime aspects of the tale. But even here the military characters are largely two-dimensional in nature, with only Angus' mom and a newly arrived handyman by the name of Lewis Mowbray (Ben Chaplin) providing any real human drama. The script by Robert Nelson Jacobs, based on the book by Dick King-Smith, also employs the cheesiest story-framing device of them all – the now-grownup character spinning the yarn to a spellbound audience in the form of an extended flashback – to tell its tale.

The special effects are wildly uneven, with some of the CGI looking mighty convincing and some of it looking like badly processed rear-screen projection from thirty-some-odd years ago. Moreover, one scene, involving Angus' activities with the creature in the water, is so utterly implausible that even a movie as based as this one is on asking the audience to suspend its disbelief can't quite pull it off.

Even with an original theme song written and sung by Sinead O'Connor, this aquatic a-boy-and-his-dog story is all wet.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Charmig film but with a couple of serious flaws.

7/10
Author: telemationltd from United Kingdom
26 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Jay Russell stated, "If they asked me to make it talk I would have been off the project." And full marks to him for not disneyfying the characters of this charming film.

The film tackles difficult subjects such as loneliness and bereavement extremely well, and makes a very believable fantasy, but there are flaws, mostly fundamental goofs and an irritating opening. It may seem petty bringing these up, but the rest of the film being so good these are disappointing.

Goofs, The film is kicked off by two students looking at what is a world famous fake photo widely known to come from a decade before this film was set.

The plot of the film is that an egg is laid in a tidal pool in loch Ness, where later the Brits set up Submarine defences. Loch Ness is a non tidal fresh water loch 12 km from the sea, which has only been attached to the sea by rivers for the past several millennia.

For me the opening undermined the importance of the story of the film. Where Angus retells his tale to two complete strangers, simply because they were looking at a fake photo in a pub that 100 people a day look at and question. It would have been nice to see a deeper reason for Angus to share his legend.

You may say "So what, this is a fantasy" But the rest of this film is so good and so much effort has been made to make it 'believable' I am disappointed more effort was not made to entwine the story into the real world better.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Predictable

6/10
Author: Ely-girl from United Kingdom
10 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is OK but I found it exceedingly predictable and a little far fetched. The CGI is OK but is not great, it is definitely not King Kong CGI. Baby Crusole was cute but there was not much interaction between boy and water horse as every time we did see them together, the boy (Angus) was either called away or was interrupted. There was only one long scene of them together and in this scene Angus actually rides the water horse in the loch and somehow manages to hold his breath for long periods of time while under water! I know it was only fiction but you have to be realistic to some extent. However this scene was done well, especially when the water horse rises quickly to the surface and water splashes everywhere. This was one of my favourite scenes and my only criticism is that it kept repeating similar shots.

The story - An old man who is obviously an elderly Angus tells his story which is set in WWII to two tourists in a pub. The boy Angus finds a heavily encrusted but crystal blue egg on a beach (I thought it looked pretty similar to the egg in Eragon) and takes it home to a large house where his mother is the house keeper and keeps it hidden in an outhouse. It hatches by itself and Angus discovers the empty shell later. Angus finds it exceedingly hard to keep his growing friend a secret especially when soldiers move into the grounds of the house. From then on the story was pretty predictable, big water horse is in the loch, army try to destroy it, water horse needs rescuing. It was just plain and simple! To help her Angus's mother hires a mysterious handyman called Lewis. Angus and Lewis get off to a rocky start but soon become friends thanks to the water horse and Lewis becomes a temporary father figure to Angus.

This story was OK. Some scenes were pretty moving while others were over-dramatic and very loud because the boy unfortunately had a loud and screeching voice when excited which happened quite often. Kids are bound to enjoy this film though, there is action, no romance and a cute critter who grows enormous in short bursts and has to be released into the loch. Oddly enough, Crusole is only ever called a water horse and the name, Loch Ness Monster is not mentioned. Also, the story bares some resemblance to the ending of Free Willy.

This film is good and worth watching and I think kids will enjoy it as it is fast paced and exciting and has a nice twist to the end. My rating = 6/10.

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