Making the Grades
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is a classic boy and his dog story, only this time the "dog" is a magical sea creature. Water-wary Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel) finds a crustacean covered egg in a rocky Scottish tide pool and drags it home to his workshop where it hatches.
Swearing his sister, Kirstie (Priyanka Xi), and Lewis Mowbray (Ben Chaplin), the family handyman, to secrecy, he introduces them to his new pet. But much to the boy's surprise, the little creature grows incredibly fast. Before long he is bigger than the garbage can, the bathtub and lastly the outside goldfish pond where Angus has kept him hidden. Worried that the rest of the house staff will discover the mythical animal, Lewis encourages Angus to haul the burgeoning beast--now named Crusoe--to the nearby loch.
However the lonely youngster is hesitant to set Crusoe free. Since his father (Craig Hall) left to serve in the Second World War, there's been a huge hole in the child's life. Recently, Captain Hamilton (David Morrissey) and his officers have arrived with a regiment of soldiers. Assigned to protect the loch from incoming German submarines, they've set up a base camp on the estate where Alex lives with his housekeeper mother, Anne (Emily Watson). Their presence is a constant reminder of the European conflict and only adds to the boy's anxiety.
Finally realizing that Crusoe is more than he can handle at home, Angus agrees to take the creature to the waterway. But that doesn't solve the boy's problems. Two local fishermen sight the monstrous swimmer and start spreading tales in the pub. The soldiers stationed on the hill overlooking the loch also become trigger-happy when they spot an unidentified object moving in the loch.
Mild profanities and frequent depictions of cigarette and alcohol use make up most of the movie's content concerns, along with some perilous moments for Angus and his water horse. Guns and cannons are aimed at innocent victims during war maneuvers as well.
Fortunately the lush Scottish landscape and gentle storyline of a boy's coming of age add to the movie's magic. Good performances by child actors and adults also round out this tale of Loch Ness's most famous resident. And although the script flounders momentarily, Crusoe and Angus still manage to bring enough enchantment to the screen to keep the attention of most younger audience members reined in.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.
Although he is afraid of water, Angus rows out on the loch without a life jacket. How does this scene depict the change in safety standards over the past decades?
What does Captain Hamilton do when he uncovers the truth about Lewis Mowbray’s past? How does Anne feel about the Captain and Lewis? How do her attitudes change during the film?
To read more on the famous Surgeon’s Photo of the Loch Ness monster go to http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/nessie.html.