The Water Horse is another one of those family films that is hardly worth reviewing. It is such an obscure concept that only a limited number of families will even consider venturing to the theaters come Christmas day to check out a film based on the legend of the Loch Ness monster and the little boy that raised it. Fortunately Sony can count on the fact that the only kids film in theaters to compete will be the two week old Alvin and the Chipmunks, which, despite the fact that Water Horse ain’t half bad, still seems like a better option.
The film begins with an interesting Yoda-esque statement saying, “A True Story It Is…” and you are quickly swept into a Scottish pub where two tourists are gazing at the famed picture of the Loch Ness monster. As they discuss the picture and its legitimacy an old man perks up from the corner and says, “Oh, it isn’t true, but there is a story to it…” and our story begins.
You begin to see the tale of Angus MacMorrow played by Alex Etel, a young boy whose father has gone off to the war leaving him alone and to his own devices. The absence of his father has obviously hit him hard, but that void is soon filled when a mysterious egg he finds on the shore of the giant lake known as Loch Ness he once again has something to love. Interesting characters are added to the piece, but none of them are particularly interesting as they only seem to be added to the story in an effort to prolong the journey. Most notably, the presence of a group of British soldiers said to be stationed there in an effort to guard from against German subs expected to be infiltrating the loch.
Living at home with his housekeeper mother, Angus stays clear as best as possible, keeping his attention only on his new water-loving creature whose rate of growth makes him increasingly difficult to keep hidden. As with all stories instances of danger and the fear of being found out weigh into the production that ultimately results in something of a Free Willy tale.
Children are sure to be attracted to the story of a boy and his love for an alien creature and parents will tolerate the film even though it doesn’t necessarily ever venture into uncharted waters. Despite its unique central character being a horse like water creature the film never gets any more unique than that. The Water Horse is a decent enough film, but not one you will be kicking yourself over should you wait to see it on DVD.