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"FREE WILLY 3: THE RESCUE"
(1997) (Jason James Richter, Patrick Kilpatrick) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Minor Moderate Mild Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Mild None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None Minor Mild Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Children's Adventure: A teen sets out to stop fishermen who are illegally hunting for killer whales.
PLOT:
Off the Pacific Northwest coast, two crews set out in search of killer whales, but for completely different reasons. Jesse (JASON JAMES RICHTER), the original boy who befriended and freed Willy, the killer whale, is now seventeen and gets a job on a NOAA research ship with his friend and mentor Randolph (AUGUST SCHELLENBERG). Using Jesse's modified harmonica sound, they are successful in attracting Willy and his new pod (family). This is bad, however, because a whaling crew headed by John Wesley (PATRICK KILPATRICK), captain of the Botany Bay, is hunting for whales in the area. Once Jesse learns of this, he's concerned for Willy's safety, but has an unknown ally on the whaling ship -- Wesley's ten-year-old son, Max (VINCENT BERRY). Although he once looked up to his father, Max is disillusioned after seeing what his dad really does. After a brief underwater encounter with Willy, Max then does what he can to keep his dad and the crew from harming Willy or the other whales. Meanwhile, the whalers have intercepted Jesse's harmonica signal and are using it themselves to draw the whales in closer for the kill. From that point on, Jessie, Randolph and NOAA worker Drew Halbert (ANNIE CORLEY) do what they can to stop the whalers and save the Willy and the other whales.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they liked the first two "Free Willy" films or are fans of animal movies, they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic elements involving whale hunting, and for brief mild language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JASON JAMES RICHTER plays the teenage friend of Willy who will do anything to save the whale, including trespassing on the whaling ship to do so.
  • PATRICK KILPATRICK plays the whaler who knows no other life, but still is breaking the law by illegally hunting whales.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    The third installment of the "Free Willy" series, this film is passable entertainment. Although the movie follows a standard formula that offers no surprises to adults (ie. It's predictable), it will, however, entertain young kids and offers relatively little objectionable material while delivering a pro animal message. Richter, who starred in the first two films, has turned into an okay actor (the big fear of watching child actors growing up) and delivers an adequate performance. The handwriting's on the wall for his character, though, as it's very obvious that the producers have groomed young Vincent Berry to assume the main role should there be a fourth "Willy" movie. I doubt Richter is too worried about this (other than not getting a paycheck), but making another film seems strange, as this one has strained the formula. While not actually freeing Willy from anything -- except of course, harm -- there's not but so much that can happen in this story anymore. The outdoor Pacific coast scenes are pleasant to watch, and a few suspenseful scenes will keep adults alert and their kids glued. The Orcas look realistic enough in most scenes, thanks to superb animatronics, but can only offer so much emotion. That, and for the most part their physical distance from their boy counterparts prevents the bonding that make other boy/animal films so engaging (whales just don't lick boys' faces -- and if they did it would probably be disastrous). With the second film grossing less than half of the original, this film doesn't have a bright future at the box office. Thus, this will probably be the last "Willy" movie, especially to be released in the theaters. Though nothing special, it will entertain kids and for that we give it a 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This film contains little objectionable material beyond the bad attitude of the whalers and their attempts at hunting Willy and the other whales. A few tense scenes involving Jesse sneaking onto the whaling boat and a few close encounters for Willy will keep younger kids on the edges of their seats, but none of the material's too bad. There's no sexual content, little smoking, and only a little more drinking. And the topic of hunting whales -- the film is very pro animal rights -- and what to do about such illegal activities are the only real topics to discuss with kids. Overall, this appears to be a relatively harmless film for most kids, but you should check to make sure that holds true for your family.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Max's dad drinks a beer.
  • People drink in a bar, and later the NOAA ship captain and his mate are slightly drunk.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Max has a slightly bloody cut on his shin after falling down.
  • Some blood is released as a baby killer whale is born underwater.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The whalers have both as they knowingly illegally hunt whales and won't stop when they're told to.
  • Jesse twice sneaks aboard the Botany Bay looking for whale hunting evidence. Thus, while he's trying to do some good, he's trespassing.
  • Jesse, Randolph and Drew take the NOAA boat to stop Wesley and the others, even though doing so is technically piracy (stealing the ship).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some kids may find scenes where the whales are shot/killed as tense. Likewise, they won't like scenes where Max is "forced" to make his first kill (he never does).
  • Jesse twice sneaks aboard the Botany Bay to look for evidence that they're hunting whales. As he's almost caught both times, the scenes come across as mildly tense.
  • Some kids may find the scene where Jesse and the others race to stop Wesley and his crew from harpooning Willy as somewhat suspenseful.
  • A net falls onto a man briefly trapping him underwater.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • BB gun: Briefly carried by Max on his bike.
  • Harpoons/Spears: Used by the whalers to shoot at or kill the whales.
  • Knife: Max jabs his father's hunting knife through the air, but his dad makes him stop. Later, Wesley tries to stab Willie with it underwater, but misses.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Screwed up" and "Jerk."
  • Max jabs his father's hunting knife through the air, but his dad makes him stop.
  • Drew has Jesse use her binoculars and after doing so he has black marks around his eyes. Later, he does the same back to her with her video camera eyepiece.
  • Jesse twice sneaks aboard the Botany Bay looking for whale hunting evidence.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's a mild amount of such suspenseful music in just a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 3 hells and 1 crap are used as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • A guy on the whaling boat has a pipe.
  • A guy in a boat smokes a pipe while others smoke cigarettes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Max discovers what his dad does and isn't happy about it. From that point on, Max tries to sabotage the whaling efforts and tells his dad that what he's doing is wrong.
  • Jesse briefly talks about not knowing what it's like to have a family (when commenting about Max's).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whale hunting -- Wesley comments that animals were put on Earth by God for man to hunt.
  • Breaking the law to stop bad things from happening (Jesse trespasses on the Botany Bay, they take the NOAA ship without permission, etc...).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A harpoon is shot in a whale, presumably killing it (it's seen from below just floating as if dead) and a spear is shot through Willy's tail.
  • To stop Wesley from leaving and discovering Jesse on his boat, Randolph punches him. One of Wesley's crew then punches Randolph in the face and gut, and Drew trips one of them.
  • Jesse rams the NOAA ship into the Botany Bay, damaging it.
  • Wesley tries to stab Willie while underwater, but misses.



  • Reviewed August 4, 1997

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