The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2008)

Director:  Jay Russell
Cast:  Emily Watson, David Morrissey, Alex Etel
Plot:  A lonely boy discovers a mysterious egg that hatches a sea creature of Scottish legend.

Genre:  Adventure / Family / Fantasy
Awards:  -
Runtime:  112min
Rating:  PG for some action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.

A family motion picture is often misinterpreted as a 'kiddies' film.  Damn those cheap flicks like Alvin and the Chipmunks, CJ7 etc. which are responsible for the deterioration of the genre. A family feature is meant to entertain both kids and their parents whom are forced to tag along. Few family features do that. Thus it’s quite a positive surprise to chance upon The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.

It's a British film made simply with a lovable cast of characters and enhanced through some of the most relevant CGI that are put on screen for this year. Using the evergreen theme of lonely boy-meets-friendly creature - the successful formula that brought us E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, writer Robert Jacobs brings one of the world's mythical creatures, The Loch Ness, to the big screen. While it's called 'the water horse' in the film, references to the Loch Ness are obvious.

The creature effects meet expectations, offering more realism than the dragons in Eragon or the mammoths in 10000 B.C., but it cannot be compared to the likes of King Kong or The Lord of the Rings. The effects in The Water Horse do not overshadow the performances of the cast; they merely serve as a visual perspective for the plot. While the story is highly predictable, the focal point of The Water Horse lies in its indirect commentary on the consequences of war and destruction, and how friendship and love will eventually triumph in the face of adversity.

While The Water Horse is a decent flick, its emotional content could have been maximized. This is good territory to develop a tearjerking ending; alas the filmmakers choose to conclude via the 'Jumanji' way, which is complete but very ineffective. Overall, The Water Horse is solid family entertainment, and renews the faith in parents that family features can excite them as well.
GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars) 

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