The umpteenth cinematic incarnation of the impeccably groomed collie with an uncanny gift for understanding human instruction reaches back to Eric Knight's original novel, set in England at the beginning of World War II.
In other words, there's no Timmy and no falling down a well.
Eccentric duke Peter O'Toole (yes, he's still alive) buys the dog from unemployed miner John Lynch as a gift for his granddaughter (Hester Odgers), but as we all know, Lassie has quite the homing instinct, even after being sent away to Scotland.
En route home to the little boy (Jonathan Mason) who'll always be her real master, Lassie encounters the likes of animal activist Samantha Morton, gypsy Peter Dinklage (saddled with an unfortunate Irish accent) and, yes, the Loch Ness monster. Lassie even busts out a few Crouching Tiger-esque flying leaps.
Unfortunately, none of this is particularly interesting, except when O'Toole's onscreen--he seems to be just about the only one not taking everything deathly seriously. The all-star cast also includes a notable turn from Edward Fox as a Nessie expert. Fans of the original book should be pleased, but we were mostly bored.
--Luke Y. Thompson