A legendary fifteen-foot tall mountain gorilla named Joe is taken to an animal sanctuary in California by a zoologist and a young woman whom he grew up with. A poacher from the past returns to seek vengeance on him.
The baby gorilla left in her care grows up to become a hugely tall and broad specimen by the name of Joe, living in the mountains as a mostly unseen legend among people who live there. Along comes an eco-minded emissary from a California sanctuary, who talks the jungle girl into providing safe haven for Joe at the L.A. facility. The transition is not without discomfort, but everything is aggravated via a conspiracy of poachers to get Joe into their own greedy hands! Written by
Anthony Pereyra <email@example.com>
King Kong must be one of the greatest animals ever to grace to silver screen, he sure is the biggest primate to do this. But there is a good runner up: Joe. Once before filmed in 1956 also as `Mighty Joe Young', this story of a gorilla with a defect in his genes which causes him to grow out of proportions into a 2000 lbs primate, is a great one.
The story begins with little Jill Young and her mother as they are in the jungle observing a group of gorilla's. Little Jill instantly bonds with Little Joe, a baby gorilla. At night the group of gorilla's is attacked by poachers and Jill and her mother go out there to the jungle to protect them. To no avail, because in the end both Jill's and Joe's mother are killed. Twelve years later Jill (Theron) is still with Joe and Joe has grown into this enormous gorilla weighing over 2000 lbs. Paxton comes to the jungle to investigate a myth of a giant primate protecting the area of the mountain where Joe lives. Joe and Paxton meet, poachers come to hunt him down and Paxton and Jill decide to take Joe to a preserve in California so he can have a more quiet life. But danger is not gone, even in California old enemies come to hunt him down, and Joe ultimately has to undertake a very brave action...
This is the outline of a very well crafted piece of cinema, family entertainment at its best. The script is very well written, the characters are likable and convincing. You have the hero and the heroine, the villain and luckily the moronic sidekicks have been left at home this time. Joe is a lovely character, although a lot of him has been done with CGI, he is still very convincing. A lot of work has gone into creating the right facial expressions to give him a human touch. The story unfolds at rollercoaster speed, never lets off steam and constantly plunges the audiences into new surprises and endearing situations.
Ron Underwood did a great job at recreating this story on screen. The performances are way above average, even Theron is good for once. Paxton is his Paxton self. The art direction is fine as well. The sets are well designed, if somewhat "Disney" at times. The special effects were awesome and state-of-the-art. Although some of the scenes could be recognized as being CGI, this was not very bothersome, there have been worse attempts at this genre.
A lovely picture for the family, if maybe not for the smallest of the family, some of the scenes can be quite frightening for some. One must be a very big cynical grown-up not be moved by the final scenes at the fairground.
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