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Magic In the Water

out of 4 Movie Review: Magic In the Water

Starring: Mark Harmon, Harley Jane Kozak
Director: Rick Stevenson
Rated: PG
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: August 1995
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Joshua Jackson, Sara Wayne, Willie Nark-Orn, Frank Sotonoma Salsedo, Morris Panych, Tamsin Kelsey

Review by Steve Rhodes
0 stars out of 4

MAGIC IN THE WATER is a boring Oreo cookie commercial billed as a feature-length movie for kids. We have the dad, Jack Black (Mark Harmon), forcing himself against his will to spent four weeks in the wilderness with his children, fourteen-year-old Joshua (Joshua Jackson) and 10 year old Ashley (Sarah Liscette Wayne). To make up for lost time at work he carries four cellular phones. At least two of them ring in all the early scenes and the running joke is where is his lost cellular phone. Nearly split my side I was laughing so hard at that long series of jokes.

The whole script by Icel Massey and Rick Stevenson is firmly based in boredom with a little stupidity and cliches thrown in every now and then for variety. Among one of the many typical lines is Joshua's who describes his camping goals as "I'm doing the man thing here. Study death in the face. Stuff like that." Don't you wish you had children so eloquent?

The premise of the movie is a recycling of the Loch Ness monster tale. Dr. Wanda Bell (Harley Jane Kozak) plays a psychologist who counsels a group of men who have seen the monster, Orky, and have thereby done a mind meld with him and become docile lunatics. The therapy sessions are a direct rip off from that equally awful movie, COLOR OF NIGHT, staring Bruce Willis. If you are going to copy, copy the worse I guess.

Orky, whose diet is almost exclusively the insides of Oreo cookies, is arguably the most pathetic recent example of special effects. The effect is anything but special. In the water he is a small toy that you could buy for fifty cents. Out of the water only his head moves, and his head looks like a piece of blubber which moves like molasses. Too bad this movie was not made as a parody.

Mark Harmon can do serial killers, and he should stick to what he knows. Harley Jane Kozak has had small parts in many other movies. She may want to rethink her acting career after she sees her performance here. And last, but not least, what did first time director, Rick Stevenson, think he was doing? Did he realize how bad it was? Why didn't the other producers (Tony Allard and Matthew O'Connor) stop him?

There is a medicine man that wanders through some of the scenes at random. Sometimes there is talk of a toxic waste dump. The writers seem to throw in a little bit of everything in the hopes that something will work. They even have the dad try to dig a hole to China in his yard - now that's original. Although MAGIC IN THE WATER is ridiculous, it still manages to scare the kids needlessly in some of the scenes. Finally, the ending is an unstructured mess. Surprise. Surprise.

MAGIC IN THE WATER meanders along at 1:38 due to sloppy editing (Allan Lee). It is rated PG for a few frightening scenes and a little profanity. I recommend one mile as a safe distance, i.e., I recommend that neither you nor any of your family get within one mile of this movie. If dying of boredom was possible, this movie would be lethal. I do not give it any stars. Avoid it at all costs.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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