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The Water Horse: The Legend of the Deep - DVD Review

{googleAds}Based on Dick King-Smith's 1990 children's novel â"The Water Horse," Water Horse: Legend of the Deep splashes creature special effects and lush Scottish countryside upon us. The fantasy film provides an original back-story for a mythological animal called the Water Horse, otherwise known to the world as the Loch Ness Monster—revealing there is more to this long-standing beastly legend than meets the eye.

Water Horse tells the tale of a lonely Scottish boy and the emotional bond he forms with an outlandish friend. Living in Scotland, Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel, Millions) is restless and missing his dad. He's in denial about his father's presumed death following his ship's sinking during WWII.

One day, Angus finds a football-sized egg in a seashore tide pool. After bringing the egg to his large manor home—where he lives with his sister Kirstie and housekeeper mother (Emily Watson, Miss Potter)—Angus becomes frantic when it hatches. He discovers a mischievous critter with a dragon-like head and flippers. When the manor handyman encounters the unusual pet, Angus's secret is exposed. The handyman, along with his sister, agrees to help the boy conceal the strange looking creature, named Crusoe (Why not, â"Nessie?"). A mythical being so rare that Angus learns of the Celtic legend that tells, â"There can be only one water horse in the world at a time."

Keeping the pesky animal a secret proves challenging when it won't stop growing. After the Royal Artillery descends to defend the local Loch Ness sea-inlet against a German U-boat attack, mankind's insatiable appetite for dominating nature rears its ugly head. The military—with abundant wartime munitions—wants to dispense with the menacing beast, now the size of a dinosaur. Angus and company must help Crusoe escape from the freshwater Loch Ness to the safety of the sea.

Released 25 years after the matriarch of all cinematic child-creature allegories—E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial—Water Horse flounders like the marine stillborn descendant of that film's misunderstood boy-alien combo. The fundamental difference between the two films being director Jay Russell (Ladder 49) never captures the oversized aquatic stallion in a manner that you makes us feel a reciprocate emotional bond from the creature toward the boy, like E.T. with Elliott (or even like that of the more aggressive King Kong with Ann Darrow). We sympathize with the abandoned E.T. We're emotionally invested in his well being as much as the boy, Elliot. The same cannot be said for Crusoe the Water Horse.

Who knows what Crusoe—the Loch Ness Monster—is feeling anymore than Bigfoot or The Abominable Snowman? It's this emotional barrier that leads us to differentiate between rooting for the creature by extension because we care about the boy, Angus—and rooting for the creature because we've grown to care about he and the boy in equal measure.

Water Horse recalls another children's book, â"A Fish Out of Water," by Helen Palmer (the wife of unique child-fantasy literary icon, Dr. Seuss) about a boy dealing with the secret dilemma of finding his ever-expanding goldfish a place to live—kitchen bowl, bathtub, swimming pool, etc. Disappointingly, The Water Horse offers us little more return on our emotional investment than that one-dimensional child's storybook.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.40:1

Subtitles: English; French

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary
o No commentary track available
* Featurettes
o Includes six behind-the-scenes featurettes
* Deleted Scenes - 3 scenes that didn't make the final cut, including Doris-and-Sheila: Behind the Scenes (02:15)

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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