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At the Movies THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP (PG) Rating: 6/10 Monster problems.

Byline: Joe Riley

THIS little opus recounts amagical friendship between a boy and a wondrous creature in 1940s Scotland.

Family audiences already familiar with the 1996 fantasy Loch Ness or the more recent film Mee-Shee: The Water Giant will suffer a nagging sense of deja vu.

Director Jay Russell draws on previous experience helming My Dog Skip, but struggles to create the same chemistry between the humans and his computer-generated critter.

Unable to come to terms with his father's death in the war, youngster Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel) feels disconnected from his older sister and mother Anne (Emily Watson), who works as housekeeper at a sprawlingmansion close to Loch Ness.

During a regular trip to the beach, Angus stumbles upon a giant egg, keeping it safe and warm in an out house, where it hatches to reveal a cute, amphibious creature.

As the hatchling gains in size and strength, Angus struggles to keep the dinosaur-like beastie hidden from his family and from the new handyman, Lewis (Ben Chaplin).

News of the creature spreads like wildfire and the local media scrambles to get a picture.

Etel is endearing as a son wrestling with his grief, while Watson and co provide unremarkable support.

CAPTION(S):

FUNNY LOOKING HORSE: Axel Etel, who plays Angus Mac Morrowastride Crusoe, the beast of the title
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2008
Words:219
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