Free Willy 3: The Rescue [1997]

This is the best of the three movies about a boy and his killer whale. Beautifully photographed, it's worth watching just for the heavenly British Columbian scenery and underwater photography. It helps that the story is well thought out and more expertly executed than the first two films in this series. Jason James Richter, the little boy from the previous Free Willy flicks, is given a credible role as a research assistant trying to understand why whale populations are decreasing. His story parallels that of the son of an illegal whaler who knows his father is involved in criminal activity and is particularly disturbed by the moral ramifications. Unlike the pro-environment characters in other movies, the fishermen in this story are given a valid point of view, as they are facing very real economic hardships due to the overfishing of the oceans. This plot tangent is given equal footing with the friendship between the two key boys in the story. It all gets a little too corny, but overall this is recommended as a family picture. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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