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  • TBC
  • Adventure, Family
  • 2005
  • 94 mins

Mee-Shee: The Water Giant

Mee-Shee: The Water Giant


An oil company employee and his 10 year-old son find a sub-aquatic monster in remote Canada in this family drama


Single dad Sean Campbell (Greenwood) is just setting off for a long-promised Florida holiday with his 10-year-old son Mac (Magder) when he's urgently dispatched by his employer Alaskoil to a remote Canadian lake. There he must recover a valuable titanium drill bit that has sunk to the depths after a freak helicopter crash. Though only a reluctant traveling companion on this working holiday, Mac quickly finds himself drawn to a local Indian legend about a gigantic water creature - and it is not long before he has come face to face with a young 'mee-shee'.

Meanwhile, Sean is distracted from his son's adventures by the difficult salvaging operation, by pretty environmental officer Laura Simmons (Gordon), and, most dangerous of all, by a pair of operatives (Mesure, Tobeck) from a rival oil company who will stop at nothing to sabotage his mission and take the bit - or anything else of potential value - for themselves. Still, nothing is more powerful than family when it comes to beating off a dangerous foe.

Near the beginning of John Henderson's family-friendly feature, Mac is told that a 'mee-shee' is "a kind of Loch Ness monster" - and sure enough, Mee-Shee: The Water Giant plays like a reimagining of Henderson's earlier Loch Ness (1996). Both films let loveable underwater monsters (part animatronic, part CGI) swim alongside themes of cryptozoology, single parenthood, environmentalism-lite and cold-climate romance - and both films are pervaded by a bland professionalism that is never converted into winning charm.

It is all shot very prettily, with New Zealand's epic landscapes doubling for British Columbia (and several Maori actors playing Native Indians). Despite the competence of all the performances, Barry Authors' screenplay is overcrowded with unnecessary characters and repetitive incidents.

Does the presence of Phyllida Law as English matron Mrs Coogan ("Oh my god, it's Mary Poppins!") really add anything essential to the film? What about Sean's urbanised associate Jim Neilds (Pingue)? Or Tom Jackson's local native, ironically named Custer? Or Custer's young daughter Pawnee (Wawatai)? Or his aunt 'Crazy' Norma (Rena Owen)? These and other underdeveloped characters seem there merely as quirky padding, to stretch an hour's worth of plotting into a full-feature length. If the film had lost them, it would only have gained in economy.

Then there is the mee-shee itself, with a face halfway between a Shar-pei puppy and Walter Matthau. Sure, it is convincing to look at, but it does not have quite enough screen time to keep younger children engaged, older children might be expecting more Jurassic ParkE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and a little more like The Host.

Lastly, Mee-Shee: The Water Giant has very few surprises to offer its viewers - apart from the unexpected ease with which industrial saboteurs are able to get their hands on powerful military hardware.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Luanne Gordon, Daniel Magder, Tom Jackson, Rena Owen, Bruce Greenwood, Shane Rimmer, Charles Mesure, Phyllida Law, Jacinta Wawatai, Joe Pingue, Joel Tobeck
  • Director: John Henderson
  • Screen Writer: Barry Authors
  • Producer: Rainer Mockert
  • Photographer: John Ignatius
  • Composer: Pol Brennan

In a nutshell

In this padded out family movie, even the scenes above the lake's surface feel a bit wet.

by Anton Bitel

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