Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger
Starring: Emily Watson, Alex Etel, Ben Chaplin, David Morrissey, Brian Cox
Director: Jay Russell
An absorbing but emotive tale, THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP opens in the present time as Old Angus (renowned actor Brian Cox, X-MEN) recounts a unique lifetime experience that happened to him during his childhood. The film then travels back in time to when World War II was in full swing in the Scottish Highlands.
The war comes literally to young Angus McMorrow’s (Alex Etel) doorstep as a troop of British soldiers, under the command of Capt Hamilton (David Morrissey), billet themselves in the grounds of the manor house on the banks of Loch Ness where his mother, Anne (Emily Watson) is resident housekeeper in the owner’s absence.
As a lonely youngster who’s been left to take care of his mother and older sister Kirstie (Priyanka Xi) in the absence of his father (Craig Hall) fighting for his country abroad, Angus discovers an egg shaped rock lying in a rock pool at low tide and takes it home with him. Surprised when it hatches and even more astounded when the hatchling is that of an unrecognisable creature, Angus becomes caught up in a mystical Scottish legend that comes to life with his new pet Crusoe’.
Alex Etel gives a commendable performance supported by Emily Watson, David Morrissey and Ben Chaplin, who plays Lewis Mowbray the newly appointed resident handyman to the manor. There are several emotional issues that all form part of the unfolding drama for the impressionable Alex. The most disturbing for younger viewers will be the loss felt by him for his absent father and how this develops. The crucial fate of Alex’s father is revealed in a rather bizarre, blunt statement made by his mother to Lewis in conversation.
Nevertheless this version of the Loch Ness monster myth based on Dick King Smith’s critically acclaimed novel The Water Horse’ is definitely worth watching. The CGI is excellent especially in the ultimate, climatic scenes when Alex and Crusoe are surging through the waters of Loch Ness as their secret is finally revealed. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray there are a multitude of extras to captivate its younger viewers’ imaginations even more, including a Blu-ray exclusive: Virtual Crusoe (Java game)!