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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale For People of All Ages
Free Willy is a story about people who are lost, eventually finding themselves. There are three characters that seem to do this in the film, Willy the whale, Jesse and Jesse’s adoptive father, Glen. The film opens with a spectacular display of whale cinematography accompanied by a theme tune that does not do the footage justice. The opening of the film also lets the...
Published on 16 Mar 2004 by jagmatrix

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THEY HAVE ALOT IN COMMON....
Willy has been captured in the wild and is now confined to a tiny tank in a faded adventure park, while Jesse is a homeless boy who is arrested when caught spraying graffiti in the same park and sent to stay with a new set of foster parents. Eventually, Jesse and Willy become friends and a bond of mutual faith and affection develops between the two misfits as Jesse...
Published on 21 Feb 2000


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale For People of All Ages, 16 Mar 2004
This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Free Willy is a story about people who are lost, eventually finding themselves. There are three characters that seem to do this in the film, Willy the whale, Jesse and Jesse’s adoptive father, Glen. The film opens with a spectacular display of whale cinematography accompanied by a theme tune that does not do the footage justice. The opening of the film also lets the audience see a younger whale being trapped by whale hunters. This scene angered me because of the atrocity I was witnessing, knowing that this type of thing does happen and it may do the same with some other viewers. We, as an audience, are then introduced to Jesse, a boy who has lost his parents and lives on the streets. It is not long before the police catch up with him and he is placed in the care of an initially willing couple. The relationship does not start stunningly, with Jesse being extremely reluctant to engage anyone in any type of communication.
Having put graffiti all round Willy’s tank, Jesse is sent to clean it up. Through his constant attention to Willy and love of the harmonica, he finally develops a relationship with the whale. He is then employed to teach Willy a show to perform to the public. The relationship with his adoptive parents hits the rocks again when, at the top of his voice, Glen admits to his wife that he was happier without Jesse. Jesse reacts as you would expect and throws a baseball out of the window, but it is not long before the problem is resolved.
Eventually, Jesse pulls of a successful performance to the money-hungry businessmen, which lands him a public performance. However, a dramatic turn of events leaves Willy feeling scared and reluctant to perform. This scene is very powerful and has viewers of all ages biting their nails with anticipation. Having decided that the whale will make no money, these businessmen try to cash in on the one million dollar insurance by killing Willy. It just happens that Jesse is down visiting Willy on the same evening that they put this plan into action. Before any serious harm happens to the whale Jesse is already thinking up a plan of his own.
This film has a very powerful ending and the credits are accompanied by more excellent cinematography of whales. The character of Jesse has grown from being a poor role model for any child, into a less selfish person who now appreciates the things that he has. The relationship between he and Glen improves and Glen realises that Jesse may turn into the child that he would like in his life. And finally, Willy goes from a life in captivity, back to his family where he belongs.
This film is perfect for both children and parents and from beginning to end it will spark emotions in people of all ages. The supporting cast including August Schellenberg as Randolph, Michael Madsen as Glen and Lori Petty as Rae, all do a brilliant job in their roles. Specifically in conveying how their opinions of Jesse change and how they all build lasting relationships with him.
The tenth anniversary DVD Special Features are quite disappointing. There is “A conversation with Bob Talbot wildlife cinematographer” which is a little informative, but the real brilliance of this is the spectacular whale footage. There is another segment entitled “Whale Ballet” which features a montage of clips of whales from the film. What makes these features particularly disappointing is that most of the footage is comprised of whale clips from the film. I am positive that I have seen other ‘making of’ style footage including an explanation of animatronics used in the film. It is a shame that the DVD is not equipped with a ‘making of documentary’, but then again Warner Brothers Special Edition DVD’s often seem to lack features in comparison to those released by other studios. Other features include a game for very young children, a Michael Jackson music video and a few trailers, some of which promote the sequels as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film For All Ages!, 15 Jun 2004
This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
When i watched this film recently for the first time i saw straight away why this film has become such a huge success over the years, and was the biggest film of 1993. I think that one reason that it was so successful, especially with family audiences, is because of Willy. You can immediately warm to him and understand his feelings of solitude and isolation.
When Jesse an boy abandoned by his parents at birth becomes in trouble with the police, he is send to live with a pair of willing foster parents. While there he is made to clean up the graffiti that he sprayed all over a huge whale tank at the local fairground and befriends the creature inside it, Willy. He eventually lands himself a job in training the whale for public shows as Will will not take any notice of anyone else. He convinces the bosses of the fairground and as the public flood in to watch the show, Will becomes frightened and refuses to perform.
When the bosses realise that the whale they brought is absolutely worthless, they decide to cash in on the insurance money for Willy, which happenes to one million dollars. Luckily Jesse is there visiting Willy when they come to release the water from the tank and calls on the help of Randolph and his side kick who are in charge of training Willy. They plan to take Willy to the coast, and release him back into the ocean to be with his family, however when the bosses realise, they are determined to stop them and claim back their whale.
I see this film to be about change, people being lost and finding out who they really are. This happens maily to Jesse as he goes from being a rather selfish boy to somone who you might like to take home with you. It also happens to Glen, Jesse's foster father, as he realises that he does in fact like Jesse afterall and in the end helps him release Willy back into the sea.
Overall, 'Free Willy' is a really great film and after you have watched it, it really isn't hard to see why it was such a big hit with family audiences back in 1993, and has stood the test of time. The mark of a truly great film. Highly recommended to watch as a family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Films, 12 Jan 2014
This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Been watching the three willys the films over the last few weeks.
I give them

willy 1 7 out of 10
willy 2 5 out of 10
and
willy 3 5 out of 10
LOL

These are great films for all the family to enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars all sat down watched wow !! no complaints thumbs up, 8 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
tbh I couldnt remember this film from when I was younger, wry it was boring cheesy etc.. as my youngest and eldest can be bit tricky with films.. my middle son put it on just as I was about to leave room to return. straight away eldest and youngest were grumbling this looks boring, rubbish etc.

well straight away the scenery the picture quality colours etc were amazing everyone went deadly quiet including me that became stuck on the spot we were all hypnotized by it, was bit sad bit tense but overall fab film.. we all enjoyed all watched no one got up to leave aka eldest after groaning yuck cheesy or boring or sighing then leaving to his room quarter or half way or 3/4 way through as normally does with some films nope stayed til end.. so from us all we say yes def get it and watch it..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful!, 5 Nov 2013
This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Free Willy is a very powerful movie! To be honest after watching this movie, in made me think twice about going to Sea World in Florida, now I'm not saying they were cruel to Shamoo or anything like that, because they weren't but it made me realize the impact it had on Killer Whales and that in theory they are taken away from there family for the sake of entertainment. I did cry watching this film, I had a real sense of empathy for Willy, I know obviously no Whales were harmed during filming and that they actually helped to free the whale in real life.

At the same time it's truly inspiring, the effect one lad can have on an animal, they had an understanding for one another, I'm a firm believer that an animal can feel what humans are feeling just as much as we get sad when we see Animal cruelty going on. I'd really go in watching this film with an open mind, it's obviously done to touch people, and to make more people aware of saving Killer Whales etc. It's a really lovely movie, I think Killer Whales are beautiful creatures and have every right to be here as much as we do.

It's an all time classic film, give it a go and get the tissues ready!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another birthday present!, 11 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Will probably amuse my 3 yr. old grand-daughter for a few years! Good for some shared leisure time together - hopefully!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Present, 29 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Years ago my Grandaughter had the Free Willy video and we used to sit and watch it all the time.
Wanted a present for a little girl I babysat for and knew she would love this.
Went on Amazon and they came up trumps.
Excellent and fast delivery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
I bought this for my 2 year old for Easter (I knew he'd get lots of chocolate!) He loves it, he has seen it about 30 times easily since we gave it to him. I would definatly recomend this for any families :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars good old style family entertainment, 15 April 2011
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This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Story of a troubled boy befriending a killer whale. Its a little dated but the sentiment was not lost on my 5 year old. Even my 13 year old enjoyed it. Good price for good old style family entertainment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars free willy, 8 Dec 2009
By 
Ms. Yj Mcghie (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Free Willy [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
a good film for the kids to watch and a bit sad also but good
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Free Willy [DVD] [1993]
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