Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free Willy


The other day I found myself thinking about the 1993 film Free Willy. Because that's the kind of time I have on my hands; time to think about movies I haven't seen since my age reached the double digits. Allow me to enchant you with the film's tagline, "A 12 year old street kid. A 3 ton orca whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you'll never forget."

The thought that occurred to me during this trip down Memory Lane was [spoiler alert] that although Willy was freed at the end, there is no way he could've survived in the wild. He'd been domesticated far too long; recall how his fin was all weird and curvy due to his confinement? And I'm pretty sure that his zoo tricks would get him a lot of street cred in the wild.

Granted, in 1995 Free Willy 2 came out, confirming our hopes that Willy had survived. But I don't really remember that one...maybe I didn't see it. I just investigated the plot summary on (one of my favorite sites) and I definitely did not see Free Willy 2. Apparently there is also a Free Willy 3, I did not know that. I can highly recommend the original Free Willy, but cannot vouch for the rest of the trilogy. But if I run out of items on my Netflix Queue, I'll be sure to add the rest of Willy's adventures.

IMDB has also just taught me that at the end of Free Willy, there was an 800number for Saves the Whales and over $20 million was donated by viewers. Also, the role of Willy was played by Keiko...Keiko receives higher billing than any other cast member of this film. When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress; but not an actress billed after a whale.

As usual, it has taken me several "set-up" paragraphs before reaching my initial point. I realized that many of the movies we watched as children did little more than confuse us. We all thought Willy would go on to thrive in the wild, perhaps settle down with a little whale family and maybe naming his whale son Jesse, after the boy who helped free him. But that wouldn't happen in the real world. Not to mention the fact that the entire movie is a sort of protest against our imprisoning wild animals for our own amusement and yet, the star (with top billing) of the film is nothing more than an animal trained to perform for our entertainment. That is way more ironic than anything Alanis Morisette ever sang about (I love that song, by the way).

I do realize that movies aren't necessarily meant to be realistic. The beauty of television and movies is that they provide an escape from reality. Most of the concepts instilled in me by movies of my childhood have long since been disproved; others (such as this one) have taken a little longer (say 15 years).

This is far from my last post on movies. Not only do I love movies, but I just stumbled upon a list of guilty pleasure movies which I may have to review and insert my own delightful opinions.

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