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|Mee-Shee: The Water Giant|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir John Henderson|
scr Barry Authors
with Bruce Greenwood, Daniel Magder, Luanne Gordon, Joe Pingue, Tom Jackson, Charles Mesure, Joel Tobeck, Phyllida Law, Jacinta Wawatai, Rena Owen, Shane Rimmer, Robert Bruce
release UK 10.Aug.07
05/UK Content 1h35
Take off, eh: Greenwood and Magder
Essentially the Loch Ness story set in the wilds of Canada (but filmed in New Zealand), this is an enjoyable story about a boy on an adventure with his dad. It's nothing terribly original, but it's decently well-made.
After a helicopter crash in a deep Canadian lake, Sean Cambell (Greenwood) is called to retrieve the lost cargo: an oil company's valuable drill bit. But this interrupts his planned holiday with son Mac (Magder), who isn't thrilled about going to Canada instead of Orlando. But once they arrive, he becomes intrigued by a native American myth about a giant creature living in the lake. And it's even more exciting when he meets it face-to-face. But there are villains (Mesure and Tobeck) after the drill bit, and if they see Mee-Shee, it could be very big trouble.
Henderson, who also directed 1996's Loch Ness, keeps things light and brisk, telling the story from Mac's perspective. Pre-teens may enjoy the adventure, mainly because no one believes Mac, so he's required to grow up fast. The Henson-designed animatronic creature is impressive, giving those scenes a sense of presence and space we rarely see any more. Although it's nowhere near as flashy as the animation effects kids now expect.
The cast is fine, with the solid Greenwood coasting again as a single dad with a smart child (see also Racing Stripes or Firehouse Dog). Madger is good in the central role, while Pingue and Jackson add comedy value as Sean's goofy assistant and a local guide. The two love interests (Wawatai as Mac's young pal and Gordon as Sean's environmentalist helper) are underwritten, and the less said about Owen as "Crazy Norma" the better. But Law is hilarious as a woman who seems to be Mary Poppins in isolated retirement.
The main problem is that the story itself is so careless. The moral messages are corny, and the attempts to build suspense are fairly cartoonish. There's also the problem of the somewhat disturbing ending when, after a couple of grisly and cliched deaths, everyone is smiling and preparing to live happily ever after. It's a satisfying conclusion, but just another thing the filmmakers didn't really think through.
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© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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