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Mighty Joe Young (1998)

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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:

Ron Underwood

Writers:

Merian C. Cooper (story), Ruth Rose (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlize Theron ... Jill Young
Bill Paxton ... Gregg O'Hara
Rade Serbedzija ... Strasser
Peter Firth ... Garth
David Paymer ... Harry Ruben
Regina King ... Cecily Banks
Robert Wisdom ... Kweli
Naveen Andrews ... Pindi
Lawrence Pressman ... Dr. Baker
Linda Purl ... Dr. Ruth Young
Mika Boorem ... Young Jill Young
Geoffrey Blake ... Vern
Christian Clemenson ... Jack
Cory Buck Cory Buck ... Jason
Liz Georges 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swahili

Release Date:

25 December 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Store Joe Young See more »

Filming Locations:

Hawaii, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,602,042, 27 December 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$50,632,037
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The melody being played on the boardwalk is "Beautiful Dreamer," the favorite of Joe in Mighty Joe Young (1949). See more »

Goofs

When Joe pushes Stressar's truck upside down and people witness the accident a woman gets out of her car and puts her left hand on the roof and looks to see if everyone is okay but in the shot after Joe pushes his way out of the trailer the woman disappears and a young guy gets into the car and leaves. See more »

Quotes

Jill Young: So, this is L.A., huh? Everything looks the same. How do you know where you are?
Greg O'Hara: It's easy. The ocean's that way, the mountains are that way, Mexico's that way, and Canada's thataway. You don't have to worry about the rest; you'll never see it through the smog.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German video and DVD versions are edited for violence (capturing of the gorilla, transport of the gorilla in the city, escape of the gorilla, explosion of the ferris wheel) to get a more family friendly "Not under 6" rating. The uncut version (rated "Not under 12") was shown several times on pay-TV channel Premiere World (now Sky Germany). See more »


Soundtracks

Imam Assani Cisse
Written and Performed by Chuck Jonkey
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User Reviews

Much better than it should be, a timeless story of a girl and her gorilla.
9 August 2001 | by TxMikeSee all my reviews

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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