Return to Snowy River
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sequel to the classic Australian western The Man from Snowy River includes several violent sequences and some language that may be too intense for younger elementary-aged kids. There's more violence than in most PG-rated movies: a horse tramples a man to death; a young man is beat up; a rich man pays a gang to harass the main character, and two men fight each other with a sword and then their fists. The salty language features several insults like "mongrel," "rich bastard," and the like. The romance highlighted in the original builds into a live-in relationship that bucks traditional standards and shows that marriage should be based on mutual love and respect, not convenience or class.
What's the story?
In this 1988 sequel to 1982's Australian Western The Man From Snowy River, three years have passed since Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) saves his Snowy River property and falls for Jessica (Sigrid Thornton), the daughter of a wealthy cattleman. In those three years, Jim has built up a stable living and is ready to start his life with Jessica, but her father Harrison (now played by Brian Dennehy) wants her to marry Alistair (Nicholas Eadie), the scion to an enormous fortune. When Jessica picks Jim, her father cuts her off and jilted Alistair decides to pay local goons to try and harass Jim off his land.
Is it any good?
It's no surprise that producer Geoff Burrowes decided to follow up his successful original with a sequel, especially considering how popular the Australian-themed Crocodile Dundee was in the mid-'80s. But this sequel feels a bit unnecessary. While it's good to see the self-made Jim return to his Snowy River home to settle down and ask lovely Jessica to be his wife, the loss of Kirk Douglas as Harrison (or Spur) is disappointing. Dennehy is a fine actor, but he doesn't compare to Douglas as the opinionated and occasionally cruel Harrison, and sadly there is no Spur at all.
Alistair, the villain of the sequel, is an obnoxious, self-entitled rich heir who can't stand that a woman would choose a "nobody" like Jim over him. Naturally it's a pleasure to watch Jim prove he's far worthier of Jessica's affections than the bratty Alistair, but some of the scenes are so overwrought and sentimental, the movie drags a bit in the middle. But as the tension builds into an inevitable face-off between Jim and Alistair, there's never a question of who the victor needs to be.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the film's message about the difference between self-made men and entitled sons of wealth. How do Jim and Alistair represent the new versus the old Australia? Why does Jim and Jessica's romance threaten the rich cattlemen?
Why are movies featuring horses still so popular today? What is it about horses and dogs, especially, that draw in viewers? Discuss your favorite horse movies.
Compare the sequel to the original. Does the sequel progress as you expected? Do you think Jim should have stayed with Jessica for the three years or was he right to build his small fortune?