Movie Review: Free Willy

Whether the evil Monstro stalked an innocent puppet boy and his loving father or Orca, the Killer Whale devoured the career of Bo Derek, whales as a species have had a rough image to shake in the cinema. After Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home helped prove whales are the saviors of civilization, now “Save the Whales” enthusiasts can take even more comfort in Simon Wincer’s charming boy-meets-and-befriends-whale-tale Free Willy (B). Newcomer Jason James Richter plays an abandoned boy who connects with a sea park trainer (Lori Petty), and soon he bonds with sea creatures in a way that helps him re-establish a peace with the world. He encounters and finds a deep friendship with killer whale Willy of the film’s title, and what separates the film from being a complete facsimile of E.T. is its focus on finding responsibility. It’s a touching and tender family film and recommended.