The Water Horse

Filmed entirely in Scotland and New Zealand, the first thing one notices as an American is, “Damn, I live in a total shit hole!” (I live in Florida, BTW). The scenery and settings are stunning. Now, I have a friend who lives in Britain who has been known to say, “it’s not all like ‘The Vicar of Dibley‘, you know.” {Vicar of Dibley is a British comedy about a small village acquiring a woman vicar.} And I consent. I know there are some thoroughly modern areas, but the fact still remains that there was a place that looked like that for them to film! All we have here is some guy in a hardhat yelling, “Mind you head,” before he unleashes an avalanche of asphalt.

But I digress. Back to the movie. Based on Dick King-Smith’s book of the same title, the story is told in flashback (to WWII, April 1942). We follow a young boy, Angus MacMorrow, who happens to be terrified of water. (I feel his pain!) But walking on the shore one day collecting shells, he happens upon, unbeknownst to him, an egg. We follow Angus and Crusoe, the water horse, as Angus “raises an amazing creature and forms a bond of friendship” . All the while trying to protect Crusoe from discovery, and if the bad guys get their way, death. (This is me desperately trying not to give too much away.)

Now, from what I can tell, this water horse is a mixture of the “kelpie” and Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster – legends. The kelpie, which is actually known as the water horse, was a shape shifter. “It generally had grayish black fur, and would appear to be a lost pony, but can be identified by its constantly dripping mane.” The kelpie would lure people onto its back and then dive into the loch in order to drown the rider. Nice story for the kiddies, eh? However, if you were able to bridle the kelpie, it would be forced to do your bidding – until the bridle came off, then don’t stray too close to the shore! Visually, Crusoe looks like Nessie and the majority of the story leads you to believe it to be so. Aside from the sickeningly adorable CG on the newborn Crusoe, even the toughest viewer should be prepared to say, “Awwww,” numerous times. The personality and expressions given to the water horse are on the verge of shamefully cute. But one nice thing that we, as moviegoers, do not often get to enjoy in this age of special effects is the plot. Even though we are dealing with a beautiful CG mythical creature, its effects do not overshadow the story. However, one cannot help but be saddened by the observation put before us, that as humans, we seem wont to destroy anything that is unique.

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