'Free Willy'

In this popular 1993 film, the killer whale becomes a symbol of nature exploited, the ultimate victim of man's greed and rapacity. Like Willy himself, trapped in a park, the theme is imprisoned in a movie fairy tale. But somehow the majesty comes through this slightly sentimental adventure story of Boy (Jason James Richter) meets Whale. Children's movies, after all, shouldn't be asked for the sophistication and verisimilitude we demand of adult films--and "Free Willy" is for children and families, first and foremost (HBO Tuesday at 8 p.m.; Friday at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

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