Bindi Irwin Frees Willy, Steals Hearts

Jeanne Sager
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Photo from Warner Bros.
Bindi Irwin is adorable. She didn't even have to act in the newest Free Willy film to steal hearts.

But the daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, does that too -- holding her own against Beau Bridges in a reinvented tale with a whole new Willy.

Don't let the straight to DVD status of Free Willy: Escape From Pirate's Cove fool you. A vehicle for Irwin to show off more of her animal loving nature, the film features a whole new Willy and a whole new concept.


Photo from Warner Bros.
And it too is adorable. Much like its star, it's unpretentious and doesn't attempt to do much more than please kids. And in that it pleases the parents too.

The requisite orca in trouble storyline is there, along with that of bumbling adult whose good heart will be revealed with the help of a much smarter kid (Irwin). But Pirate's Cove's appeal is in the filmakers' decision to stick with Irwin's strong suit -- interacting with animals.

Irwin made me watch, with a pure joy that swept across her face at the sight of the orca who accidentally made his way into her grandfather's lagoon during a bad storm.

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