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Mighty Joe Young (1998)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Family  |  25 December 1998 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 20,908 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 34 critic

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.

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(story), (earlier screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Mighty Joe Young (1998)

Mighty Joe Young (1998) on IMDb 5.5/10

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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. Elliot 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:

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Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Store Joe Young  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£450,947 (UK) (26 March 1999)

Gross:

£4,307,343 (UK) (18 June 1999)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like most films during the 1990's that features creature effects, Joe was created through the mixture of practical and digital effects. For the majority of the film, Joe was portrayed by creature suit performer ('John Alexander') who wore a radio-controlled animatronic gorilla suit created by special makeup effects artist (Rick Baker) and his crew at Cinovation Studios. In order to achieve those scenes, Alexander would often act on miniature sets that were surrounded by blue screen in which visual effects house DreamQuest Images would composite him into footage that was shot before. While in the beginning of the film when Joe was an infant he was performed by (Verne Troyer). For certain scenes, the filmmakers used three full-sized animatronics (one in quadraped, one sitting down, and one in a dead position) also created by Baker's crew. For the scenes where the digital Joe was used, visual effects houses DreamQuest Images and Industrial, Light, & Magic would work on different scenes using the same model provided by Baker. Many of these performances were achieved by key-frame animation, but when the digital Joe was running and jumping was motion capture data that they captured from an infant chimpanzee. See more »

Goofs

In Gregg's first appearance he refers briefly to a map, then orients himself with a magnetic compass, while resting the same arm on the steel hood of his Humvee. See more »

Quotes

[At Strasser's estate in Africa, watching a news report on Joe, recently moved to a conservatory in California]
Andrei Strasser: My God... Pindi was right.
[Garth enters the room]
Andrei Strasser: He's beautiful. The most beautiful animal I ever seen.
Garth: And the most valuable, that's for sure.
[sits down, watches as Jill appears on screen]
Garth: Isn't that the...?
Andrei Strasser: Wait! Be quiet!
[Both men's expressions are of recognition as Jill is identified as the daughter of the primatologist they had killed twelve years earlier]
Garth: Bloody hell! That's him...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Attack of the 50 Foot Monster Mania (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by Jay Richardson
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User Reviews

 
Endearing movie, way better than expected
12 February 2001 | by (Den Haag, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

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.

9/10


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