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Mighty Joe Young is a big, big gorilla who gets time in L.A. escaping
poachers who are after him in his home hill in Africa. This is a remake of a
remake of King Kong (1933), which was made in 1949 as the original Mighty
This latest version is a remarkable computer and animatronic invention, justly nominated for this year's Academy Awards. He really is whiz bang and totally believable as a creature on the screen.
His best friends are Jill played by the very attractive Charlize Theron and Gregg played by Bill Paxton in a pretty light weight film for him considering some of his previous films (One False Move, A Simple Plan).
But take note too of Naveen Andrews who plays the screwball jungle tour guide. He was remarkable in The English Patient and Kama Sutra. Oh well. The bills have to be paid.
Mighty Joe Young is a Disney film aimed squarely at the fairly young, complete with the fairly gruesome bits that today's TV bred ankle biters demand. So what's in it for the oldies.
Well there's Charlize Theron who's pretty gorgeous. And then there's a truly spectacular scene when big Joe climbs up a burning (yes burning!) Ferris Wheel at a L.A. amusement park at night and rescues a little boy.
But my favourite bit was Joe violently wrecking a car bit by bit because the car alarm is sounding. His self satisfied grin as he sat on the quietened nuisance was one that made me wish that I could also rock Ms Theron to sleep.
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',
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.
I've seen this film several times and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed
it each time. The performances from from Charlize Theron and Bill
Paxton are excellent and the Special Effects are tremendous. The film
has a relatively straightforward plot, but also has some powerful
emotional scenes as well. The film is well written and directed with it
ensuring it appeals to children who will not be frightened by Joe.
Moreover, this is not a horror film but rather a story of a
misunderstood creature that wants to be at peace. Mighty Joe You is one
of the better films out there suitable for both children and adults to
enjoy and I highly recommended it.
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.
I was anxious to see this movie as I had seen the original in 1949 and I was not disappointed. This is one of those rare instances that a remake was okay. This originally was an RKO Radio Picture and the new updated RKO Pictures logo at the beginning was a great tribute. Also it was very fitting to have Terry Moore, the original star, and Ray Harryhausen, the man who made the special effects in the first one, to have a cameo. A lot of critics did not like this movie but my 3 grandchildren did. Why not have movie critics the same age as the targeted audience, such as having kid critics and women critics and senior citizen critics to give a real reaction of what they like and don't like.
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
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.
I wasn't sure whether I would like Mighty Joe Young. I did see it once
with my family beforehand and didn't think much of it. When I did
decide to give it a chance again, I am glad I did. I wasn't expecting a
perfect family movie, and while this movie is very dark, it also
manages to be quite sweet too. I will admit that the beginning is very
dark and intense even for a family movie. I will also admit that the
plot is very formulaic and that the villains are rather cartoony.
What made this movie though for me was Joe. He was designed superbly and acted very convincingly. Even for an ape, I found him quite adorable, after seeing films like Congo where they scared me so much. Other pluses are the superb special effects and the splendid scenery. Not to mention the lovely music score. The acting was a mixed bag; Charlize Theron was gorgeous as Jill, and Bill Paxton was very good as Gregg. The supporting actors ranged from good to so-so. The relationship between Joe and Jill was very very convincing and sweet, well to me it was. And I know the ending was more King Kong with a happy ending, but I will confess I cried. Maybe it was because I loved Joe so much, I have a habit of empathising with characters that I grow to love.
Overall, it is a decent family movie. It mayn't appeal to you first time, but if given the chance as it did with me, it may grow on you. 7/10 Bethany Cox
This update of "Mighty Joe Young" features incredible visual effects. They
are so seemlessly blended into the picture that Joe seems more than real.
Bill Paxton is great as usual. In fact, most of the cast is pretty good. Charlize Theron is both tough and sexy. She worked better with Paxton than the contrived relationship he had with Helen Hunt in "Twister".
I watched this movie with my kids and they loved it too. Definately a thumbs-up as a family movie. I recommend it.
Mighty Joe Young is terrific family fare, and one of the better movies of
1998. It is based on the immortal classic from 1947 of the same name
a young woman and her faithful 20-foot tall, 2,000-pound gorilla named
Great special effects featuring Joe are the real highlight of the film, especially the animatronics and CGI which truly bring Joe to life.
There are also good performances, especially from Charlize Theron as the young woman, Jill, and Bill Paxton, fresh from Titanic, as the scientist who loves her.
But, the real star is the title character, the Mighty Joe, who brings a wonderfully gentle screen presence, and is the true hero of the film.
Highly recommended for children of all ages.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mighty Joe Young tells the tale of a young woman who's an owner of a
giant gorilla named Joe and his environment is in danger. So Charlize
Theron's charcther and Bill Paxton's charcther decides to go to Los
Angelus so Joe can have a normal life as a bunch of poachers are out to
get him as they killed Theron's charcthers mother when she was just a
Overall the story to this is very good,the music is very good and the cast is also very good. I saw it a few times before on TV and it was on Film 4 today. I may never know why this got a low rating cause I seen nothing wrong with it. Overall I really enjoyed this movie and I also was shocked that the gorilla wasn't a real gorilla AT ALL,he was a animatronic created by Rick Baker.Awesome effects.
My verdict watch it.
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