“The Water Horse,” review by Susan Granger

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“The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep” is a sweet, escapist 7. It’s a whimsical fantasy-adventure for the whole family.

In a pub in a small village in coastal Scotland, an old man (Brian Cox) is explaining a photograph of the so-called “Loch Ness monster” to two curious travelers.

According to his tale, back in 1942, 12 year-old Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel), a wee lonely lad whose father is off fighting in W.W. II, finds a mysterious object on the beach that he lugs home in a pail. It’s a giant egg from which hatches the most magical creature. Not a reptile, not a mammal, it’s a legendary Celtic water horse that he names Crusoe. Angus hides the mythical creature in a shed but Crusoe soon outgrows his confined quarters and his appetite seems insatiable. There is no choice but to release the water horse into the sea, where Crusoe must learn to survive unexpected perils.

Meanwhile, Angus’ mother (Emily Watson), the housekeeper of a large estate, is coping with an enigmatic new handyman (Ben Chaplin) and the unexpected arrival of troops led by arrogant Captain Hamilton (David Morrissey), who commandeers the Manor House to billet his English officers. They’re on the lookout for German submarines that may be in the area.

Based on a novel by Dick King-Smith, cleverly adapted by Robert Nelson Jacobs, it’s filled with the enchantment its predecessors, “E.T.” and “Free Willy,” to which director Jay Russell (“My Dog Skip,” “Ladder 49”) adds some exciting maritime chases.

Weta Workshop, the computer-graphics company responsible for effects in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” created Crusoe, who resembles a giraffe-seal-horse-like dinosaur. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10,

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.