Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home continues the story of the titular killer whale. Despite the fact that Willy has already been freed, Free Willy was a big enough success to spawn a franchise. Similar to the Jaws franchise, except there was also an animated series between the first and second movie. Free Willy 2 picks up with an older teenage Jesse who’s been officially adopted by the Greenwoods. Jason James Richter returns alongside most of the original cast. August Schellenberg, Michael Madsen, and Jayne Atkinson have expanded roles, but Lori Petty was busy swimming around a very different tank (girl).
Mykelti Williamson is mostly a glorified cameo who introduces a younger brother into the movie. Francis Capra plays Jesse’s annoying half-brother Elvis who essentially serves the same purpose Jesse once did. Though his connection to their late mother does bring some heart into the unnecessary sequel. Free Willy 2 does have the same effort put into it. Along with another less memorable Michael Jackson song called “Childhood.” Since Keiko was in the process of being freed, Willy is entirely animatronic along with his orca family Luna and Littlespot.
Jesse reconnects with Willy on a camping trip. Mary Kate Schellhardt plays Jesse’s girl Nadine that he impresses with his knowledge. Conflict only arrives when a carless company causes an oil spill. Without Petty, Elizabeth Peña plays a different well-meaning whale doctor. Jon Tenney is the new greedy businessman and M. Emmet Walsh is a whaler who seek to profit off the orcas. Willy and his pod evade captivitivity, but it’s not as satisfying as his first big jump. So they add an oil fire just to build tension. Free Willy 2 is mostly an excuse to catch up with our whale friend.