When a lonely young boy named Angus discovers a large,mysterious egg along the shores of Loch Ness, no one is prepared for what lies within. He soon discovers that the strange, mischievous hatchling inside is none other than The Water Horse, the loch’s most mysterious and fabled creature! But with the Water Horse growing ten times its size every day, Angus finds it increasingly difficult to keep his new friend a secret. Two-time Academy Award(r) nominee Emily Watson (1998, Hilary and Jackie; 1996 Breaking the Waves), Alex Etel, Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line), David Morrissey (The Reaping) and Brian Cox (Running with Scissors) star in this heart warming tale from director Jay Russell (Tuck Everlasting) and written by Robert Nelson Jacobs (Flushed Away). Based on a novel by Dick King-Smith, author of The Sheep Pig (from which Babe was adapted), the touching and often spectacular The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep ingeniously presumes to explain the truth behind “Nessie,” i.e., the Loch Ness Monster. The story, told in present day to a couple of American tourists by a kindly gentleman (Brian Cox) in a pub, begins with a lonely boy, Angus (Alex Etel), pining for his father, who is serving in the Royal Navy during World War II. Angus, along with his sister (Priyanka Xi) and mother (Emily Watson), live on an estate that has been billeted by soldiers in the Scottish Highlands, near Loch Ness. The troop’s commander (David Morissey) has an eye for mom, suspicions about a mysterious handyman, Lewis (Ben Chaplin), who is also a war hero, and an absurd contention that the Highlands are the real frontline in the war against Germany. Into this intriguing drama comes a completely different element, a fantastical creature of Celtic mythology that befriends Angus and is, in fact, the sea-beast who will eventually be known as the Loch Ness Monster. Trying to hide the dinosaur-like fellow, nicknamed Crusoe, Angus enlists Lewis to transfer it to the lake, where boy and serpent have extraordinary adventures together until human stupidity threatens Crusoe’s existence. A true family film, there is a lot for adults to like about the grownup story in The Water Horse. Meanwhile, the wistful relationship between Angus and Crusoe–each of whom helps the other move past obstacles toward their individual destinies–will leave children feeling both happy and melancholy in the best possible sense. Directed by Jay Russell (My Dog Skip), The Water Horse is the best of a mini-genre of films about or inspired by old Nessie. –Tom Keogh
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