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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Whale savior Jesse pointedly steals his employer's boat ... but it's for yet another heroic mission.
Violence & Scariness
Threatened whale harpoonings. One (human) barroom brawl.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drunkenness among the adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this third film in the series has a slower, more deliberate pace (and a shorter running time) and a bedtime-story feel to this nature-loving sequel. That's good, since the audience for this sequel to the popular original aimed this film at 5- and 6-year-olds. Most older kids will find the eco-lessons labored andsimplistic. This film touts animal rights and vegetarianism. Some kids may want to become vegetarians after watching this film. On that note, a little boy faces down his fisherman/whaler father about the morality of Dad's occupation. Parents should decide how they want to present animal-rights issues to their children before acquiring this video. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is the most lyrical and pretty-looking of the Willy adventures. As with the last two films in this series, there are painless rivulets of whale (and whaler) trivia streaming through the plot. Environmentalism also continues to be an issue. Free Willy 3: The Rescue is also the most brazen in pushing its animal-rights agenda on impressionable viewers. Parents should decide how they want to present animal-rights issues to their children before acquiring this video.
There is some balance, however. The marauding whaleboat crew are not demonized as kill-crazy monsters, but proud men carrying on a long heritage. Given the tone of these movies, that's as even-handed as you can get, even with the cliched finale in which Willy's good deeds raise the issue of whale sainthood. Not even fearsome spearguns and a heated saloon fight (between the whalers and Jesse's old pal Randolph) can boil a mist of niceness off the material. This softness will work better for the under 12s. Older viewers may yearn for a bit more edge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.