5.6/10
24,394
92 user 35 critic

Mighty Joe Young (1998)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Garth
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Harry Ruben
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Kweli
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Pindi
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Dr. Baker
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Dr. Ruth Young
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Young Jill Young
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Vern
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Jack
Cory Buck ...
Jason
Liz Georges ...
Jason's Mother
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Storyline

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 <hypersonic91@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Survival is an instinct.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some menacing action violence and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

25 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Store Joe Young  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,602,042 (USA) (27 December 1998)

Gross:

$50,632,037 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Since Gorillas in the Mist (1988), (Rick Baker) stated that he would not do any more projects that involved creating animatronic apes. Baker had to break that statement when he did Baby's Day Out (1994), in which a scene features a gorilla. After that film, he once again stated that he would not do any more ape projects, but when he got called to work on this film, he changed his mind. It was because of Baker's love for King Kong, and the original film, that changed his mind. This would be his last film that Baker created an animatronic gorilla suit. See more »

Goofs

Part of the film is set in California. In Los Angeles and at the carnival near the beach, there are police cars with their colored lights on. All the police cars are missing a steady red light in the front. By the California vehicle code, all emergency and law enforcement vehicles are required to have a steady red light facing forward. See more »

Quotes

Elegant Woman at Party: She reminds me of somebody, but I can't think who it is.
Gentleman at Party: You, when we first met.
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Connections

Featured in Troldspejlet: Episode #21.11 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Calliope Music
Written and Performed by Richard Gibbs
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User Reviews

May be clichéd and unlikely but that's not to say it's not entertaining and the effects are good
3 November 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A group of poachers kill a large gorilla and a female zoologist. The gorilla's baby escapes with the woman's orphaned baby and the two grow up together. Tears later the gorilla (Joe) and the girl (Jill) have grown up – Joe himself is abnormally large but is the target of poachers. Zoologist Gregg O'Hara stumbles upon the two on a wildlife visit to the jungle and convinces Jill to bring Joe to a sanctuary in California. However, despite the safety, the threat to Joe has not vanished.

I ignored this on video and at the cinema but on TV I gave it a go for the same of the kids. The first thing that strikes you is how much of a rip-off of every monster movie you've ever seen – from King Kong onwards. All the clichés are there and the characters are little more than cardboard cut outs at times. However it is still good fun and all delivered with energy that will keep the kids happy. The film may not go anywhere that you don't expect but it has funny moments and also moments that are quite tense and exciting.

Of the cast Joe stands out. His facial expression, depth of understanding and emotional range may be a little unlikely but he looks good. The effects may occasionally show the joins where Joe interacts with physical objects but for the vast majority he is impressive – for the most part I forgot it was effects and totally bought into him being real, that's a sign of good effects. Paxton maybe takes it all a bit seriously but does well, Theron is a bit too street smart for a girl who grew up with a gorilla but she passes. Support like King and Paymer are underused and simply become more examples of `good Americans'. If you're being cynical you could say that the two leads are WASP heroes and that King (black) and Paymer (Jewish) were there to cover bases! This view is a little supported however by the hackneyed casting of white South African and Eastern European types as the bad guys – their roles are caricatures at best and the actors look embarrassed at times.

Overall it's enjoyable. It's not great – the plot is flawed, the acting is so-so, it borrows from every big ape movie that has gone before and it'll never be remembered years from now as a great film. But it's good for kids without boring adults. The effects are good and, though you'll forget it quickly, it's fun while it's on.


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