Starring a very capable Sarah Wayne as a young daughter starving for her divorced dad’s attention, MAGIC IN THE WATER tells the story of wide-eyed Ashley on vacation with her brother, and radio talk show therapist father at the fictional and picturesque Northern Canadian lakeside resort of Glenorky. The children have gone there to bond with their father, who — with pager, cel phone and laptop at his side — has gone there to work on a book and not relationships. When the three arrive, the town is bustling with summer visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of its tourist attraction, Orky, a legendary sea serpent. In their search for answers to the town’s mysteries, they finally spend some quality time together doing the normal things dads and children do on vacation: like riding swings, horsing around … and chasing monsters.
Save for a little crass language and some flirting with spiritism, MAGIC IN THE WATER is a very likable creation. While not quite up to the Spielberg standard in special effects, this E.T.-like fantasy about a little girl who befriends a legendary sea monster nonetheless takes the Spielberg approach to children and the grown-ups who just do not understand them. Sadly, its pro-family message is marred by New Age spiritism, including incantations used to bring the sea creature back to life.
(NA, B, E, L) New Age worldview -- belief in legend, ritualistic summoning of spirits & creature brought back to life in response, & spirit's ability to inhabit human beings; pro-family message that fathers need to spend quality time with children, especially daughters; environmentalism; and, 3 obscenities & 1 vulgarity.