Of all the films playing at this years Tribeca Film Festival, only one stood out. Only one called my name. All I needed was the title alone to know this was something worthy of getting me out of bed for the 11:15 am screening this past Saturday…
Mee-Shee the Water Giant!
After meeting Mee-Shee, or, “Mishi” as it’s spelled in the film, I am here to report that this is one of the most magical live action family films to hit screens since…well, since Mac & Me! The whole thing feels like something that isn’t made anymore…like a film that Spielberg would have lent his Executive Producer credit to twenty five years ago. Alright, maybe he wouldn’t have — but you get the picture. Mee-Shee is the next “most lovable creature since E.T.”
MeShee: The Water Giant tells the tale of a Mac, a suburban kid who’s DisneyWorld trip is sidelined by his Dad’s spontaneous mission up to Canada to retrieve a giant oil drill bit from the bottom of a lake. After we get through first act boy-mad-at-dad-for-too-much-work-not-enough-time-with-him shenanigans, things pick up when we learn all those local Indian rumors about the mysterious “Ogopogo” creature that roams the lake are true!
Once we meet Mee-Shee, the film becomes more magical, with nice performances by Bruce Greenwood as the distracted dad, perfectly-messed-up-red-haired Luanne Gordon as the local preservationist looking out for Mee-Shee’s best interests, and a bizarre performance from Rena Owen, best known as what’s under the digitalness of Episode II’s Taun We.
What makes the magic work most of all is that Mee-Shee is as digital-less as he needs to be. All close-up shots are of a real Jim Henson creature shop puppet, which allowed me totally believe that Mee-Shee was real . And alive. And my friend.
Unfortunately, this New Zealand produced film looks like it won’t be seeing any US distribution. Seems like Universal picked it up for DVD release on July 25. But if you can’t wait until mid-summer and you’re in New York this weekend and in the mood for a magical 80’s good time, go meet