WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Free Willy

Reviewed In Issue 06 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg.

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 4.5
Sound Rating: 3.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Warner Home Video
(Catalog Number): 18000
(MPAA Rating): PG
(Retail Price): $39.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 112
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1993
(LD Release Date): 11/93
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Simon Wincer
(Screenplay/Written By): Keith A. Walker & Corey Blechman
(Story): NA
(Music): Basil Poledouris
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Charles Rosen
(Visual Effects): Video Image
(Costume Designer): April Ferry
(Editor): O. Nicholas Brown
(Supervising Sound Editors): Tim Chau, MPSE
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): Penelope L. Foster, Jim Van Wyck & Richard Soloman
(Producers): Jennie Lew Tugend & Lauren Shuler-Donner

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Panavision
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.39:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.45:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Twelve-year old Jesse (Richter) is a troubled youth faced with the hard adjustment to new foster parents. When Jesse and his delinquent pals break-in and deface a whale tank at Pacific Northwest aquatic park, an unexpected encounter occurs. Willy, a spectacular Orca confined in a tiny tank, befriends the boy. Jesse begins to understand when Willy cries out to his family in the nearby bay and when he learns of the evil plans in store for his new friend, Jesse carries out his own plan to return Willy to his natural habitat and family.

LaserDisc Picture:
Picture quality on this 2.45:1 framed scope transfer is superb with excellent contrast and shadow detail, deep blacks and dark saturated colors, and natural fleshtones.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The Dolby Surround® soundtrack is enveloping with a good sense of spatiality. However the tonal character is harsh. Occasional sound effects directed to the surrounds heighten the drama.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): No
(Aggressive System Surround): No
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): No
(Aggressive Split Surround): No
(Center Back Surround Imaging): No
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: