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The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep 

In Jay Russell’s family-oriented film, a water horse is part misty Celtic legend and part perfectly rendered, anthropomorphic CGI-born creature.

Likewise, this film, set in the Scottish highlands during World War II, toggles between a well-rooted, bittersweet story of a fatherless boy, Angus (Millions’ Alex Etel), lost in the shuffle of wartime, and a cartoonish madcap involving the rubbery aquatic creature who befriends him. The gurgling water horse is handled with all the subtlety of Spielberg’s most manipulative, wide-eyed, kid-centric creatures — it coos, acts like a naughty kitten, cavorts like a dolphin at SeaWorld — when gentle whimsy would be far superior. Must we even be certain of the creature (who, it is implied, is also the Loch Ness monster), and endure all its meticulously created close-ups? How about a nod to the imagination — both ours, and that of Angus, the lonely boy, who may have just created the water horse out of need?

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