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The Water Horse: A Magical and Heart-Warming Tale

December 25th, 2007 by Paul Martin

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is a very original tale, and a terrific family film. It joins Ratatouille and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium when it comes to the best original films of the year, though this one was based on a book of the same name.

I greatly enjoyed the film. It was magnificent. The music was spot on, as was the casting. The audience was fully of highly engaged children that were enthralled by it.

The Water Horse was directed by Jay Russell, and follows in the footsteps of an earlier work of his: My Dog Skip. Both films deal with the effects that war has on the entire family, especially the children in the family.

It lead me to wonder about something, though. It appears that, with both My Dog Skip, and now The Water Horse: director Jay Russell has touched on the effects that wars have on life in the home. In both, there is an animal or a creature that helps a boy to learn about himself and overcome his emotional shortcomings and to move on. I find these to be very inspirational messages but could help but to have some questions with regards to this.

First, is it somehow based on personal experience? And second, is it meant as a way to help out families (or children) that are currently experiencing the same thing today?

I contacted the director about this, and here’s what he said:

A) I’m so happy you enjoyed the film and you picked up on so many of the details I had hoped to emphasize.

B) Yes, you are spot on, in terms of the notion that I am relating to direct experience with the effects of war on a child. I was a kid during the Vietnam war and my next door neighbor, a young man who taught me how to shoot a basketball, was killed in that conflict.

Obviously a moment I will never forget.

The rest of the film, I will leave up to your interpretation.

The film is splendid. As a big fan of The Princess Bride, I was very entertained that it was a storyteller style, with cuts to a storyteller throughout.

The movie also managed to pull on my heart strings. I was completely engaged in what was going to happen next from the very first moments of the film. The characters were fleshed out very well, and seemed like a real family. The world felt real and lived-in. The flashbacks granted us insight into Angus’ memories.

I did want to get to know more about Angus’ father. I have a feeling that, like My Dog Skip, each viewing of the film will make it better and better.

Definitely one of the best films I’ve seen this year, and a fun film that many will enjoy. The laughter from the kids in the theater as Crusoe slid down the stairs is something that I’ll remember every time I watch this film. It just said “this works.”

This is a wonderful film that gives you the time to breathe, has substance and depth, and takes you on a thrill ride that will have you laughing and perhaps bring some tears, but in the end, the journey is the reward. So give yourself a treat and get the family in the car to go see The Water Horse.