Parents' Guide to

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Predictable family fantasy not as good as book.

Movie PG 2007 113 minutes
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 12+

Not for kids under 12

I read other parent reviews before starting this with my kids. I don’t typically find they steer me too far wrong, but this time I have to disagree with most of the reviews. This movie is DARK and the imagery and music are often intense and scary. We read the book together and it was nothing like this. The first imagery of the boy imagining he’s drowning, while we watch him getting sucked under the water and appearing to drown, is a bit much for young kids. The night the water horse hatches, the thunder and lightning and creepy music and flashes of various gargoyle/statue faces (intended to be scary) was also a bit much. When the soldiers who moved into their house without warning (hello?) started talking about the Germans invading close to the house and then one of the men was shown standing over the bloody carcass of a dead buck, I asked my kids (age 8 and 10) if they wanted to watch something else instead and my youngest shouted an immediate and enthusiastic yes. Kids don’t tell you when they’re too scared, but if you give them an out and they need it, they’ll readily take it. My 10-year-old said nothing but didn’t complain at all about us turning the movie off. Don’t watch this with kids under 12 unless they’ve already been desensitized to scary stuff.
2 people found this helpful.
age 7+

Watson and Etel shine

I was rooting for this film and it definitely has some fantastical elements that are interesting, but it ultimately feels a bit overdone and underbaked in its character development. The Water Horse of course is adorable when it's a baby but the film takes a few severe turns and the tone of the film changes dramatically because of it. If you have little ones the shift may be a bit drastic. But I am always a fan of Emily Watson and will stand by her work as she never disappoints and this film is not different.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11):
Kids say (16):

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.

Movie Details

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