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THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP ($39) is an absolutely delightful family friendly fantasy movie, one that will play as well, if not better, to the adults in the audience. Although I have not read the Dick King-Smith upon which THE WATER HORSE is based, the film does take a lot of liberties with things such as history and geography. However, it is doubtful that the filmís intended audience will notice or even care about such things. Told in flashback, the story of THE WATER HORSE is set during the Second World War in Scotland, close to Loch Ness to be more precise. Our central character is a young Scottish lad named Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel), whose father was lost in the war. Although fearful of the water, Angus is still drawn to it, and his explorations at the waterís edge uncover an unusually large but beautiful stone. Of course, Angus takes the stone back home to the estate, where his mother (Emily Watson), serves in the position of housekeeper.

Soon after bringing the stone back to the estate, Angus discovers that it was actually an egg containing a strange little animal, which he hopes to keep as a pet. With German U-boats being seen as a potential threat to the area, the estate is soon overrun by British troops stationed to keep a watchful eye on Loch Ness, which makes it difficult for Angus to keep his new pet a secret from his mother, the soldiers or even the new handyman (Ben Chaplin) that has come to work at the estate. However, once Angusí new pet begins to grow by leaps and bounds, he is forced to release it into Loch Ness where its proportions increase to a monstrous size. Eventually, the secret about Angusí pet gets out, and it falls to Angus to save his new friend from the artillery designed to sink U-boats. The cast of THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP also features Brian Cox, David Morrissey, Priyanka Xi, Craig Hall, Marshall Napier and Joel Tobeck.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is a true beauty. Sunlit sequences can be glorious. Fine details are generally excellent, especially in regards to, individual hairs, textures of skin and some impressive period costumes. Color reproduction is generally excellent, but this is dependent upon the lighting. Sunny, well-lit sequences have richer color than those shot in overcast conditions, which appear somewhat drab by comparison. Interiors tend to have a warmer color scheme than the exteriors. Blacks are perfect, as are the whites. Contrast is also first rate. Shadow detail is usually very good, but it is dependent upon how an individual shot was produced. A fine layer of grain always noticeable, but it enhances the presentation.

THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Overall, a very nice quality track, but much of the film is on the talky side, so the wow factor is limited to key sequences. Still, the sound has a living and breathing ambient quality during the quieter moments. All of the channels kick to life during the more intense moments of chase and artillery fire. Fidelity is truly excellent and the bass channel adds all the punch and rumble that one should expect from the material. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable, even with the accented English. French and Portuguese TrueHD, plus Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also provided, as are English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese and Korean subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the discís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Featurettes include Myths And Legends (ten minutes), The Story (eleven minutes), The Characters (fifteen minutes), Setting The Scene (thirteen minutes), Water Work: Creating The Water Horse (eleven minutes) and Creating Crusoe (fourteen minutes). The disc also features eight Deleted Scenes, a Virtual Crusoe Game and Previews for other family friendly Sony Pictures titles.

As I stated above, THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP is an absolutely delightful family friendly fantasy movie. Sonyís Blu-ray Disc release is a beauty. Highly recommended.



The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep [Blu-ray] (2007)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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