Loch Ness Monster Film Earns High Praise from Critics
Mystery Casebook WILLIAM TINNING

December 26 2007-A film set around the legend of the Loch Ness monster has received encouraging reviews from American movie critics after launching yesterday in the US. The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post were unanimous in their praise for Jay Russell's eagerly awaited screen adaptation of Dick King-Smith's much-loved children's novel The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.

The critics particularly praised the "stunning scenery" and "spectacular gorges and glens" in the film, set in Scotland during the Second World War, which tells the story of a lonely boy who finds a mysterious egg. It hatches as a "water horse" - a mythical sea monster which grows up to become the Loch Ness monster.

The reviews will be good news for VisitScotland bosses who earlier this month teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment to promote the film in New York, and are hoping to lure "set jetting" US movie fans to Scotland on the back of the film's success.

However, although three weeks of filming for the movie did take place in the Highlands it was primarily shot in New Zealand.

The Chicago Tribune said The Water Horse was "not revolutionary, controversial or challenging" but added that it was "a sweet, familiar story, beautifully filmed and lovingly told".

The movie was described as "an enchanting tale of friendship and evolving relationship", by the Los Angeles Times. It added: "The Water Horse provides substantive entertainment. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in execution."

The Washington Post said "... this fable of Loch Ness and its most famous denizen may not be the perfect family Christmas movie - some potentially terrifying material in the third act put off little ones - but it's close".

Confirmation last year that part of the film would be shot in Scotland marked the culmination of a 10-year battle by Douglas Rae, the Scottish director and producer, to put King-Smith's book on screen.

Starring Emily Watson and David Morrissey, it is due to be released in UK cinemas in February.

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