Water Horse, The

Featured In Issue 131, May 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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For some action/peril, mild language, and brief smoking.
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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A, B & C
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Jay Russell
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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Young Angus MacMorrow (Etel) finds what appears to be a large egg in the tidepools of Loch Ness, Scotland. The boy takes the mysterious object back to his dad's workshop, where it soon hatches. Nothing could have prepared Angus for what emerges from his find...a mischievous and mythical creature known as The Water Horse, which he names Crusoe. Angus and his sister Kirstie (Xi) find hiding the beast more difficult than expected when they discover Crusoe grows ten times larger every day. Based on the book by Dick King-Smith. (Stacey Pendry)

The only special feature that isn't on the DVD is a Virtual Crusoe Game. All other supplements are the same and include include the following featurettes: Myths And Legends (11 minutes), The Story (12 minutes), The Characters (16 minutes), Setting The Scene (14 minutes), Water Work: Creating The Water Horse (12 minutes), and Creating Crusoe (14 minutes); eight deleted scenes; and previews.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1 DVD exhibits a pleasing image, with deep black levels and nicely rendered shadow detail, as well as vibrant colors. While color vibrancy is bold, fleshtones generally look natural. While details are captured well, with fine details noticeable in the source, heavy compression artifacts can limit the image. Pixelation is recognizable, and edges can look harsh and digitized. There are many scenes, however, where the image looks fairly pristine. Edge enhancement is minor, but can be recognized over the higher contrast transitions. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc looks superb, with deep blacks, beautiful shadow delineation, and vibrant, natural colors. Resolution is quite good, and the compression artifacts that destroyed the DVD are cleaned up. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack can be fully engaging, with a good use of each available channel to create a fully detailed soundfield. Fidelity is quite good, with articulate-sounding dialogue and good dynamic range. Music is mixed well across the front stage, with good phantom imaging and a breadth that extends beyond the physical locations of the loudspeakers. Dialogue occasionally sounds thin, with poor spatial integration, but it isn't often. While the mix can be energetic, there is a large portion of the soundtrack when the surrounds are underutilized. Still, this is an enjoyable soundtrack. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel encoding provides impressive fidelity and good dynamic range, but dialogue can still sound thin with poor spatial integration at times. Other times it can also sound slightly hollow. The improved resolution of the lossless codec improves overall imaging, helping create a much more realistic-sounding experience. (Danny Richelieu)