Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Review

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Two years later, Willy needs freeing...again.


So you’ve freed Willy: where do you go from there? Well, you get him into trouble again, free him once more and hope that the millions of youngsters captivated by the original monster hit will be up for a spot more. In classic sequel fashion, you go easy on the great ideas, reckon on the Willy brand doing the business, and produce something that’s simply not as good.
Jesse (Richter) has grown up into a somewhat gawky teenager, healthily (though incongruously, after the innocent first movie) obsessed with young girls and having difficulty coping with his newly arrived half-brother Elvis. Attempting to get together a bit of family harmony, mum (Atkinson) and dad (once more a suitably embarrassed Madsen) take the gang off on a camping holiday on the coast.
Unsurprisingly, Willy’s hanging around with his(ital) family, and renews his acquaintance with Jesse in the idyllic surroundings until a big bad oil tanker spills its load, trapping Willy and his brother and sister and setting up the second freeing of the luckless killer whale.
You get more Orcas for your buck this time, and once again there’s much joy to be had from watching 900-pound marine mammals gambolling around in Seattle’s Pugit Sound. But without the dramatic possibilities of the marine-park bound original or the frankly blub-inducing tale of the deserted and screwed-up Jesse (now well sorted), this never really involves you in the same way. Free Willy has become a oft-repeated video experience for kids all over the world, but on this evidence the little ones won’t be going for this in anything like the same numbers

Goes for the heartstrings and, to an extent, hit them hard,