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>
On July 2, 1997, during filming in the San Fernando Valley, Director of Photography Donald Peterman and Camera Operator Ray De La Motte were injured after the Panther Pegasus camera crane they were riding on snapped, causing them to fall 25 feet to the ground. Peterman suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and minor head injuries, and De La Motte received minor chest and back injuries. Production was halted for two days, and Peterman was replaced by Oliver Wood. In 2000, Peterman sued Panther, as well as Shotmaker Company, the crane's supplier, and won a five million dollar settlement. See more »
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 »
[Gregg is holding out his hand to shake on their deal that Jill is in charge of Joe if they go with him to L.A]
That's not how we make deals around here. You have to get bitten by a Mahooky Spider, you'll get a fever and delusions. You'll start to say things. Then if you're intensions prove true... we trust you.
If I get bit and prove true, you'll come with me?
Yep. What do you think?
[staring at her]
I think that's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.
maybe you're not such ...
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Much better than it should be, a timeless story of a girl and her gorilla.
I can recall, though not very clearly, seeing the original 1949 version of "Mighty Joe Young" in the theater when I was a boy. The 1998 remake to me is better in every way. The special effects which place the giant gorilla among people, or chasing trucks, is very realistic, as is the sound track.
The story starts in the jungle where gorilla hunter "Strasser" shoots and kills the baby gorilla's mom, and Jill Young's (Carlize Theron) mom is also killed. Jill and the young gorilla become friends and they grow up in virtual anonymity. In a stroke of good casting for a very small part, Linda Purl, who plays the mother, looks a lot like Theron.
Many years later, when Paxton's character shows up, hunting wild species for blood samples, the capture of a big cat enrages "Joe" and he jumps out of the trees. That is a remarkable point in the film because, with a good sound system with subwoofer, the room literally shakes. And it continues as they case Joe in trucks.
Jill is persuaded that Joe will be safer when transported to Los Angeles with his own habitat, and she agrees. The evil Strasser shows up, enrages Joe, who breaks out and runs. In the sweet climax, he climbs a tall ferris wheel to rescue a small child, survives, and eventually is put in a proper place for his safety.
Most of the charm of this film is during the first half, in the jungle, with Joe and Jill growing up, then the discovery of the adult Joe. In a small part as the hunting organizer Paxton hires, Nuveen Andrews is just terrific, his delivery, his body language. And, of course, Charlize Theron, who reminds me so much of my daughter, Karen, is just perfect as Joe's caretaker and friend.
I rate this version of "Mighty Joe Young" a solid "8" of 10.
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