Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Movie Poster Image
Predictable family fantasy not as good as book.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 113 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Young Angus is depicted as a sensitive, nature-loving boy with something of a wistful streak (he either truly doesn't know or pretends he doesn't know that his father is dead). His character is contrasted to the British military men, who pretend to represent discipline and gallantry but come off mainly as bullies. In the book, the whole family knew the secret of the water horse and cooperated to keep it; here, only Angus, his sister, and a rebellious Scottish ex-soldier conspire to hide the monster. There are references to centuries-old bad feelings between the Scots and the British.

Violence & Scariness

Soldiers bombard the monster with artillery and shoot at it with rifles. The beast threatens the humans right back, with its snapping jaws and enormous strength. The monster kills/eats a bullying bulldog (off screen). A fistfight between two men.

Sexy Stuff

A built-in promo for the book by Dick King-Smith -- but that's the kind of promotion that might actually benefit kids.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking and smoking at a banquet and a local pub.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of the popular book by Babe author Dick King-Smith has a very different plotline than the original story, escalating the violence within the WWII-era setting. The monster becomes truly dangerous when fully grown (in an old-school King Kong way), lashing out at people with snapping jaws -- which leads the British soldiers to open fire on it. But it's still a kid-friendly film overall.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDr.Pepper November 20, 2010

An okay movie

There was plenty of action and danger that may be frightening to young children. The language is mild and limited to a couple of "hell"'s and... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 year old Written byJRinGeorgia April 9, 2008

lots of explosions

This is an OK kids movie. The problem is that the trailer leads you to believe it is all about the boy and the creature he finds. It is, but it does not forewar... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAbe1998 January 7, 2012

Good movie

Great family movie! Mainly the only objectionable thing is there is a little bit of language. They say "h" word and they take God's name in vain,... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 4, 2009

Magical film

This film is magical! A boy bonds with a "water horse". The special effects are great, though younger kids may be frightened.

What's the story?

THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP takes off when Angus (Alex Etel), the lonely, nature-loving son of a Scottish WWII soldier missing in combat finds an egg by the water, and it hatches into a small, mischievous, dragon-like creature. When the family's mansion is commandeered by British soldiers to establish a defense against possible German submarines in the loch, Angus hides his baby beastie with help from his older sister Kirstie (Priyanka Xi) and Scottish handyman Lewis (Ben Chaplin), who identifies the creature as a "water horse" of Highland folklore -- a fabulous, fast-growing, androgynous lake- and sea-monster of which only one exists at a time. Now named Crusoe, the creature grows huge in just a few weeks and the heroes scramble to keep their new pet hidden. But glimpses of the monster create a stir in the area, and Angus and Krista need to think fast when Crusoe becomes the target of heavily armed British soldiers.

Is it any good?

Grade-schoolers are the best audience for this well-mounted, big-budget children's fantasy. For older viewers who are already familiar with the many clichés it trots out, it may be one trip to the loch too many. Just as the soldiers in the film do during roll call, it's possible to sound off -- one! two! -- the movie's many overly familiar elements. Lonely child hero whose father is dead? Here! Amazing, misunderstood monster friend who must be kept a secret? Here! Clueless single mom with nasty suitor? Here! Ending stolen from Free Willy? Here! It's not that The Water Horse is a bad movie -- it's just entirely predictable.

When Angus -- who's got a crippling fear of water -- goes for a stirring ride on through the loch's aquatic wonderland on his monster pal's back, the movie really takes off, but you're still left thirsty for something a wee bit more original. Even Crusoe, as beautifully computer-generated as he is, sorta looks like the creature from the boy-and-his-dragon epic Eragon.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Loch Ness Monster. Do you think it could be real? Why or why not? How might a story like this have gotten started? Can you think of other movies in which a child forms a secret attachment with an unusual pet or unearthly friend? How is this movie similar to and different from them? Families who've read the book the movie is based on can compare the two -- which do you like better, and why?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate