It’s a rare occurrence for a kid’s film to really touch you emotionally – especially with the assault of CG animated features which just keep coming and kids seem to lap up like ice cream. I’m thinking of The Bee Movie, Valiant, Madagascar – even Pixar’s offerings are getting stale and saccharine. The kid’s ‘effects’ movie bundled-with-lovable-fictional-creature is a genre that’s been hard to crack since ET hit the screens. But the producers of The Water Horse just reinvented the wheel without ladelling on all the schmultz you’d expect from Hollywood. This is a great movie whether you’re an adult or a kid. The performances are great from everyone including the digital creature who is portrayed in sensitive proportion to the demands of the story.
Although set in Scotland there is a New Zealand connection (Weta Digital did the effects and much of the movie was shot in New Zealand) and there are some story similarities with the inspired Whale Rider. It’s a joy to see a film where effects are so well integrated – this is how it should be and even kids can spot the difference. Good to see that it’s being promoted in a Godzilla kind of way in Japan but the movie itself is very much more understated.