Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Blending monster thrills with a thoughtful pacifist message, director Jay Russell and screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs’ adaptation of Dick King-Smith’s well-loved children’s book is a family-friendly film about Nessie and a huge improvement on 1996’s soppy Loch Ness. Water Horse tells of the friendship between Angus (Alex Etel from Millions) and the legendary creature, which he rears from an egg into a full-blown beastie.
While mainly shot in New Zealand to facilitate the involvement of the Weta Digital special-effects house, who provide the creatures for Peter Jackson’s films, the film is firmly set in WWII-era Scotland. Nelson-Jacobs’s script also takes time to introduce Angus’ anxious mother Anne (Emily Watson), sympathetic local handyman Lewis (Ben Chaplin) and officious soldier Thomas Hamilton (David Morrissey). There’s a skimpy modern day framing story featuring Brian Cox telling the story to a couple of wide-eyed American tourists, but it’s one of the few flippers that Water Horse puts wrong as Russell’s film builds to an extended special-effects sequence in which the boy overcomes his fear of the water to help the monster escape. An old-school alternative to the frantic nature of most children’s films, Water Horse finally provides our beloved monster with the film it deserves. (Eddie Harrison)
General release from Fri 8 Feb.