The Water Horse

FAMILY; 1hr 52min

STARRING: Emily Watson, Alex Etel, Ben Chaplin

Water horsing around: Etel

The opening credits of Scottish yarn The Water Horse insist that “A true tale it is”, for on the shores of Loch Ness, who knows where truth ends and begins? As World War II rages, ripples are felt in the storybook stately home where wee Angus (Etel) lives with his housekeeper mother (Watson) and sister (Priyanka Xi). Angus’s father has been killed in the fighting, British soldiers are billeted in the house, and Angus consoles himself with a giant sea egg that hatches into a part seal, part lizard, part sci-fi creature. The amphibious reptile expands at a rate of knots and is a dead ringer for the legendary water horse. He is also something of a cutie and a first friend for Angus, who, in the way of such tales, is a lonely little soul.


The tots in the audience were transfixed by the waterlogged, E.T.-style bond between boy and beastie. Some stories never lose their lustre and Ladder 49 director Jay Russell’s affectionate re-tweaking of a decades-old legend is as fresh and stirring as ever.