Film Scouts Reviews

"Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Not nearly as good as the original, but a serviceable sequel all the same, especially for younger kids. This time, Jesse (Jason James Richter) and his family (foster parents, Michael Madsen and Jayne Atkinson and surly half brother, Francis Capra) must rescue Willy and his killer whale family from a dangerous oil spill off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. The movie isn't painful, just ploddingly predictable. Plus, the relationship between boy and whale, so credibly developed in the first film, has now been elevated to Lassie/Timmy level. When Jesse gets in trouble, you half-expect Madsen to say, "Look, honey. Wllly's trying to tell us something!" The orcas, of course, remain as awesome as ever (whether we're watching the real animal or a cannily constructed facsimile.) And the human cast deserves credit for their deadpan conviction. Timmy would be proud; so would Lassie.

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