14 January 2008

The Water Horse

Yesterday afternoon I took the kids to the movies. We saw "The Water Horse", which they've been begging to see for a couple of months.

What a fun family film loosely based on the novel by Dick King-Smith, the author of Babe and many other great novels!

The story takes place in Scotland (Loch Ness area) during WWII. The main character is Angus McMorrow, a lad who's mum (played by the impeccable Emily Watson) is the head housekeeper of an estate. The lord & lady of the estate are nowhere to be found (I think because Lord Such-n-such is in the British army) so Mrs. McMorrow lives there with Angus, his older sister Kirstie, the cook and the gardener. Mr. McMorrow, who had previously been the estate's handyman, had enlisted in the navy and was killed when his ship was sunk - something young Angus has trouble accepting. Angus is also deathly afraid of water. While collecting seashells from a tide pool, Angus finds a mysterious egg-shaped shell which he takes home and hides in his father's workshop. One dark and stormy night the egg hatches and Angus finds the creature to be a ravenous, incredibly cute creature that looks like a cross between a plieosaur and a sea horse. Angus names him, "Crusoe." Crusoe grows at an alarming rate and eventually has to be taken to the loch to live.

The story is predictable but it's so charming, heart-touching and lovely. There is action, humor, a few explosions, and a bit of nostalgia. It's the ultimate "boy and his dog" movie only the dog is played by the Loch Ness monster. The ultimate theme of the film is "learning to let go." Angus literally has to let Caruso go and emotionally he has to let go of the idea that his father's returning home one day.

The cast was amazing, especially the young lad who plays Angus. The special effects are great, as you would expect from the folks who made "The Chronicles of Narnia".

Both my kids adored this film and asked to buy it on DVD. This film effected Evan like no other, at one point he was crying, even though he knew everything would work out right. He just got caught up in the moment and felt so strongly about Angus and Caruso's relationship, which I think is a testament to the film.

It's very difficult to find family films that don't pander to the lowest common denominator. "The Water Horse" is intelligent, doesn't explain everything (leaving the audience to make their own conclusions which I think is great), and is a jewel.

If your kids enjoy fantasy, they'll like this film. I would not recommend it for young children as there are some intense moments, but my 4 & 6 year olds loved it and I did too.

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Thanks for the review. My kids have been asking to go but I wasn't sure they would like it.