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Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home

Starring: Jason James Richter, Jayne Atkinson
Director: Dwight H. Little
Rated: PG
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: July 1995
Genres: Family, Kids

*Also starring: Michael Madsen, August Schellenberg, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Francis Capra, Jon Tenney, Elizabeth Pena, M. Emmet Walsh, Mykelti Williamson, John Considine

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Willy (Keiko) and his sidekick, Jesse (Jason James Richter) are back. This time their show is entitled FREE WILLY 2: THE ADVENTURE HOME. What has changed you ask? Well, the whales are as gorgeous and as inspiring as ever so no change there. Jesse, now 14, has discovered girls, especially Nadine (Mary Kate Schellhart), but given a choice between kissing a human girl and a whale, he would go for the whale every time. Also, in this sequel, they figured they needed a younger actor to improve the demographics of the audience so voila, an instance new 8 year old, street tough, lying, half-brother, Elvis (Francis Capra), that Jesse never knew he had.

Lets play guess the plot. Do you think Willy might get in danger? Do you think he might get trapped again? Did you get those right? If not, I'll give you the easiest ones of all. Who is the new villain and who the new hero? Capitalism in the form of an oil tanker, can't get more cliched that than, represents evil and environmentalism represents salvation.

Are you old enough to remember movies where worship meant God and not the environment? Oh well, every kid in school now comes home chanting his environmental mantras that the teacher has taught him. God, of course, is illegal subject matter in public schools, but environmental dogmas are not only legal but almost obligatory. This movie, therefore, only follows a safe trend, it is not responsible for setting it.

FREE WILLY 2: THE ADVENTURE HOME does have a lot going for it, but after you get tired of watching whales swim and frolic, you realize that you have just seen all of the good parts. I recommend the Discovery Channel instead of this movie. The original FREE WILLY already said it all and much better. This picture added nothing although I will confess I only gave the original FREE WILLY a mild thumbs up.

The writers (Karen Janszen, Corey Blechman, and John Mattson) should have all been fired by the producers (Lauren Shuler-Donner and Jennie Lew Tugend) and the movie not launched until they had a script that had something fresh to say. I am sure they were moving at breakneck speed so that they could get out a sequel and cash in on the popularity of the original movie. The quality of the script was secondary to meeting the prime market window with their follow on product.

FREE WILLY 2: THE ADVENTURE HOME runs 1:38. Adults may fall asleep before the first excruciatingly long hour has lapsed. Go for major coffee before entering the theater; you do not want to fall asleep in your son's lap. The movie is rated PG for animal endangerment. It has a single human to human kiss and that is actually the best and most natural scene in the show. Jeffrey, age 6, has been waiting and waiting for this sequel, and he gave it a thumbs up. If you son or daughter insists on going, I recommend trying to con your spouse into going in your place. Avoid this snoozer if you can. I do award it a single star but solely for the orca footage.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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