I know going to The Golden Compass is the thing to do this holiday season, but we’re not big science fiction fans and don’t go to the movies often (there’s a tiny theater in town that plays two fairly current flicks at a time) so the kids and I haven’t seen The Golden Compass yet, and aren’t even pining for the time when it arrives, if it arrives, at the tiny town theater; I’ll probably borrow it from the library when it comes out on DVD, though, more for curiosity’s sake than anything else. Neither Laura (age 10) nor I have read any of Pullman’s series, though I’ve read and heard a number of interviews with the man, especially lately, and have liked what I’ve heard.
But last night I discovered a movie I’m pretty sure I would like us to see — The Water Horse, out on Christmas Day apparently (who knew? none of us), and based on a book by the same name, originally published in 1992, by Dick “Babe” King-Smith. I haven’t yet told the kids, because I’d like us to read the book first, especially because the book seems to make the story look properly kid-sized, whereas the movie looks like a rather grandiose version. I discovered the movie because Tom and I saw Millions last night for the first time, and I was enchanted, by the movie and by young Alex Etel, whose second feature will be Water Horse. Sony’s website notes that the movie is from Walden Media, the same bunch behind Narnia, which we liked, and Charlotte’s Web, which we didn’t. But at this point we don’t have anything at all invested in the Dick King-Smith original.
I figure that part of the reason I haven’t heard about the movie version of The Water Horse is that it’s been overshadowed by all this Compass business, and we haven’t been to the movies to see trailers in ages. At any rate, I’m glad of another children’s movie that sounds more up our alley, though where the line is, for me at least, between fantasy and science fiction I’m not quite sure. But like Potter Stewart, I know it when I see it…