The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)

Genres - Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy  |   Release Date - Dec 25, 2007 (USA)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Make no mistake about it: the world was ready for another Loch Ness monster movie. Of all the stories from our collective mythology that were dusted off in the early 21st century, this was not one of the ones that seemed like too much of a stretch. Whether it should have been a kids movie is what's debatable. For the best return on the mystery surrounding Scotland's version of Bigfoot, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep should have gotten the M. Night Shyamalan treatment -- at least, the version of Shyamalan that's more eerie and unsettling than overblown and overwrought. But since this film is an adaptation of Dick King-Smith's children's novel, the creature is followed from its infancy, where it's like a rambunctious CGI seal -- splashing around in bathtubs, getting chased around the house by bulldogs, and emitting precious bleeps and gurgles. That too could have worked -- after all, the kids love the bleeps and gurgles. Unfortunately, escaping discovery is not the creature's biggest problem. The Water Horse finds its antagonist in a British military unit, improbably stationed on this loch as a cowardly means of avoiding real conflict during World War II. Naturally, the unit's first instinct is to test its most ferocious artillery on the loch itself, leaving poor Nessie to dodge incoming warheads. Fresh off the success of The Chronicles of Narnia, Walden Media was never going to make a Loch Ness monster movie that didn't involve an adorable young British lad (Millions' Alex Etel). But more effort could have been devoted to the narrative inhabited by that monster, regardless of what the source material dictated. Kids aren't likely to mind, but it's the ability to transfix the adults that ultimately determines whether a children's movie is transcendent, or merely adequate.