There are many family movies released each year, some much better than others. I do still enjoy those types of movies so I end up seeing several of them. I was interested in seeing The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep when I first saw the trailer before Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
In Scotland in 1942, young Angus MacMorrow didn’t have many friends and was counting down the days until his father returned home from the war. He would go to the shore with his mother even though he was scared of the water. One day on one of those trips when he was gathering shells, he discovered something that turned out to be a large egg. Angus put the egg in his father’s workshop where a unique looking creature hatched from it. Angus decided to name the creature Crusoe and try to keep his mother Anne from finding him. That got harder when Lewis Mowbray, a handyman that Anne had hired, took over the workshop. Around the same time, a group of British troops moved onto the land with Captain Hamilton and the other officers moving into the house.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was based on a book written by Dick King-Smith. I have never read the book, so I don’t know what would have been changed for the movie. I hadn’t even heard of the book before seeing the trailers for the movie. I think it was a book for children, but I could be wrong. King-Smith also wrote the book that the movie Babe was based on.
The backdrop of World War II did make several scenes of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep more serious. There really weren’t actual battle scenes since the small town where the movie was set wasn’t on the front lines, but the troops were frequently shown training and some of them talked about fighting. Angus really missed his father and was counting down the days for his return. A few times when he said something about his father, it did seem like Anne was keeping something from him that his sister Kirstie knew. The war aspects didn’t overtake the movie, but some viewers may not care for them and they might upset younger children. There were a few other things that happened late in the movie that might upset or even scare younger children.
The plot of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was straight forward even with a few minor subplots. The most noticeable subplot was connected to the war and the troops that arrived to stay on the land. It was hinted that Captain Hamilton was interested in Anne without there being anything specifically stated about that. It was also hinted that there was some sort of connection between Anne and Lewis as well. Those particular subplots didn’t go anywhere. The movie was really focused on Angus trying to take care of Crusoe and having to find new places to keep him as he quickly grew. I didn’t feel like there were any major surprises in the movie even though I wasn’t exactly sure how a few things would work out and there was a little bit of suspense in a couple of scenes.
I felt that The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was a fun movie overall even though it did get more serious later on. The movie made me laugh many times before that. Most of the things that made me laugh were connected to Crusoe when he was still small. Angus tried to hide him in a bathroom for a while and at one point Crusoe managed to get out and was chased through the house by a dog. That part did add some funny moments to the movie even though it was a bit silly. I only remember there being one gross joke, so the movie didn’t resort to that type of humor as much as many other so called family movies have.
Crusoe was supposed to be a mythical animal called a water horse. He had a unique look that made it clear he was supposed to be a sea creature. When he was still small, he was cute looking, especially when he was trying to walk with his flippers. He wasn’t as cute when he was bigger. Crusoe was created with special effects. The CGI was very well done when Crusoe was small. It still looked good overall once he was bigger, but there was also something that looked slightly off, making the effects look more fake.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep focused in on Angus more than any of the other characters. He was a somewhat lonely young boy who was badly missing his father. It didn’t seem like Angus had any friends and his mother wouldn’t let him have a pet either. I think that was part of the reason why taking care of Crusoe was so important to him. Angus wasn’t perfect and did mess up a few times. That just made him a more believable character. He had lost a bit of his childhood innocense by the end of the movie. Alex Etel did a very good job with the part. Kirstie wasn’t around as much, so she wasn’t as developed. She seemed to do everything perfect and it also seemed like she was the favorite child. Priyanka Xi really didn’t have much to do.
Anne was doing the best she could for her children since her husband had to go off and fight in the war. She did love them, but she didn’t seem to understand Angus as much and didn’t give him as much attention. Emily Watson was fine in the part. Lewis was the handyman who ended up helping Angus with Crusoe a few times. He tended to keep to himself and he didn’t care for the troops that moved in. Ben Chaplin was fine in the part. Captain Hamilton was really the only other character that received any type of development. He was devoted to the military and looked down on anyone who didn’t share his views. He wasn’t a really bad guy, but he wasn’t really likable either with his smug, arrogant attitude. Some other characters, mostly the different military troops, were around without being that important to what was going on.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was an entertaining family movie. It was fun overall and I think it is worth seeing at least once. There are a few things that might bother younger children, so parents may want to check it out first.