Mighty Joe Young (1998) Poster

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Fantasic effects that are very realistic
GEM-2012 September 1999
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.
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An underrated and heartwarming film
rchrdshelt26 August 2006
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.

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Son gives it 2 thumbs way up
wulfman6 January 1999
Near end of film (won't specify and give anything away) My wife 8-yr old daughter and myself were crying. My 5 yr old son pipes up, "....this movie is gweat... 2 Thumbs way, way up". Did it bother anyone that the flames at the amusement park disappeared at the end? It did to me !!!
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Superb special effects
TC-411 April 1999
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.
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Great adaptation of the classic 1947 film
Chiron19877 July 1999
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 about a young woman and her faithful 20-foot tall, 2,000-pound gorilla named Joe.

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.
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Grouse Gorilla
Steve-1765 April 1999
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 Joe Young.

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.
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Endearing movie, way better than expected
quin197412 February 2001
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.

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Joe and the effects steal the show!!!
TheLittleSongbird11 November 2009
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
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coolkev21 July 2001
I really like that movie, the way that they brought Mighty Joe Young into another place. Particularly liked the end when the gorilla would save people in the Farris Wheel. The actors did an amazing job. The special effects were out of the ordinary!!!
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very good model of a real gorilla
trains1 January 1999
good story plot had you sitting on the edge of your seat at times, better than most stories of fantasy.
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May be clichéd and unlikely but that's not to say it's not entertaining and the effects are good
bob the moo3 November 2002
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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Much better than it should be, a timeless story of a girl and her gorilla.
TxMike9 August 2001
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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A Great Family Movie, A Must See!!
swisham728 June 2006
This is a wonderful family movie. Joe is so realistic looking you would think he really exists. Its funny, its adventurous, has some action, and also a tear-jerker. What more could you ask for in a movie? All this and still great to watch with your kids. Charlize Theron plays the role of Jill superbly. The jungle scenes are terrific. Joe is so much fun to watch. The bad guys get whats owed to them. Oh, did I mention some romance in there too? The song Jill sings to Joe (that Jill's mom sang to her when she was little) is a great song. Its such a relaxing song, which I prefer her rendition over the one played at the end of the movie during the credits!! I wish I knew what she was singing, its not in English, which is probably why its sounds so beautiful. If you haven't yet seen this movie, I highly suggest you get yourself a copy.
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najwa-sky-limit27 May 2012
I remember watching this film when I was a kid not just once but multiple times and being enthused and affected every time, I was so hooked by Joe and his dreamy eyes and Charlize made me love the jungle but what still fascinates me is how I still remember every detail and how I felt while watching it, and when someone asks me about Charlize this is the first film that jumps to my mind, I guess this is the kind of movie that sticks in your head with its simplicity and purity, such a joyful movie. I guarantee it'll make you laugh, cry, be angry and be very excited when the villain gets what he deserves. the most important message i got from it was to love nature and protect it with my own life because nature reserves our humanity
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jakegylly16 August 2019
This is the first movie I saw when I was a kid and I learnt to respect animals and realized how kind and friendly they are with humans and JOE is. my childhood precious memory
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A Very Moving and Powerful Film By Disney
moviemattb5 February 2015
I have never saw the original, but I might need to give that a look since I watched this one when I was young back then. "Mighty Joe Young" tells the story about a woman name Jill Young who is looking after Joe and protecting him by poachers, since they were once young as they both lost their mothers. Now as the two are all grown up, Gregg O'Hara arrives to Africa and convinces Jill to bring Joe to Los Angeles, California so he could be away from the poachers so that no one will hunt him down. I don't think this movie deserves such a low rating, and I don't think it deserves to be ignored either. I know everyone remembers the original, but I think they need to give this movie a chance and have the respect that it really deserves. Heck, even Disney needs to give this a proper DVD and Blu Ray release with actual special features like a documentary with interviews for the cast and crew (Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron, Ron Underwood, Rick Baker, James Horner, etc.) as they take a look back on how the movie went as there were problems, working on the special effects, when it first came out to mixed reviews, and maybe why the movie will always be a great movie as it has fans that remembers it. Like me. Also, a commentary track for the cast and crew along with deleted scenes, trailers and TV spots, etc. To me, I think it is a wonderful movie for kids and adults to enjoy it. Of course, this is Disney's own "King Kong" but that doesn't make it a bad thing. I do love the original 1933 and the 2005 remake of "King Kong," while the 1976 remake with Jeff Bridges not so much. I thought the special effects in this movie are impressive for its combination of practical and CGI. I may have notice one bad effect, but that is just a minor nitpick. The design of Joe is very well crafted by Rick Baker. Ron Underwood does a fantastic job on directing the movie as what he did with his other great movie "Tremors." The story itself is beautifully well told, and I was deeply moved by it. The cast in this movie all did great, but I give most props to Charlize Theron and Bill Paxton as they both a great chemistry together. I do love James Horner's music, and I do admit that there are some parts of it where it make me think of another music that Horner did which is "Titanic." The set pieces in LA are very well done as well as the Ferris wheel part. The movie does have its sad moments like both Joe and Jill loosing their mothers, and most of all the ending; the ending really did make me cry as Joe risks his life to save a boy as the Ferris wheel was coming down. Of course, Joe doesn't die because everyone love Joe and deserves to live as he is the hero in this movie. So that is what I thought of this movie, and why it deserves a chance and give it the respect it deserves. I do hope that the movie doesn't make its official debut on Blu Ray, and releasing it on DVD again in the UK or anywhere else because it deserves to be release in the United States and around the globe. What I mean is that if it was release only in the UK, then it would be unfair because everyone may want a copy of this movie in the US. I understand that some people may have a region free DVD/Blu Ray player so they can order it from the UK or anywhere else, but I rather much prefer to be release in the US and around the globe. I don't know if a petition can be done to change Disney's mind so they can release it again on DVD and have an official release on Blu Ray, but if it can, then it is possible. I hope they don't use DNR like what Fox did to "Predator," which is one of the worst transfers that I have ever seen in my entire life. The movie should be remastered in 4K or something like that as long as they remain true on how the movie was filmed. Also, we should show Disney on why it needs to be release again on DVD and have an official Blu Ray release as we show them that we are fans of this movie. This isn't about the money or anything like that. It is how much we appreciate this movie, and why we will always be a fan of it. All other movies must have that. Not just the money so that studios can be so greedy about. With that said, "Mighty Joe Young" is a very moving and powerful film by Disney, and I give this a 10 out of 10.
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Fine family adventure about a Jr. Kong.
vip_ebriega26 May 2008
My Take: Fine special effects and decent performances make for a passable remake.

A toned-down remake of the 1949 monster movie (not that the original was violent or so) by Disney, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG is enjoyably pleasant nonetheless. There's a lot of enjoyable moments here to entice kids and adults alike. It's fun, without being too loud, too lumbering and too overproduced unlike other summer affair of the time. It could use more, but enough just seems to be enough. There's a good dosage of fine adventure movie elements. There's action, adventure, humor and even romance.

The romance is created between two of the lead characters. Bill Paxton as an explorer named Gregg O'Hara and a Charlize Theron as Jill Young, a daughter of a late famous Jane Goodall-inspired scientist. There's chemistry between those two, even if it's not entirely developed. It's also a simple boy-likes-the-girl chemistry, but it works well and I bought it. Ask for the adventure, there are numerous action scenes which takes place both in the jungle in even in the city, which shows a scenes directly derived but not entirely similarly to the scene from KING KONG. The special effects by Rick Baker, who actually started doing apes in a somewhat cheesy outcome during the 70's remake of KING KONG, are fine here in the film. There's a convincing use of blue screen and the typical man-in-a-suit technique that actually is less evident here.

Director Ron Underwood (TREMORS) brings a lot of excitement in this familiar territory. The film cannot escape the multitudes of clichés that marred this old genre to the ground. Some things about MIGHTY JOE YOUNG are familiar, as a toned-down kids flick. I've learned the lesson before, there's no one that harshly gets hurt in this film, except the bad guys who must get their just desserts in the end. But the film is lively and enjoyable enough for me to recommend. This is decent family entertainment.

Rating: *** out of 5.
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Family Entertainment
Ron-18122 November 2000
This is a typical Disney Studio's movie, and Walt himself would have been pleased with the results. Beautiful photography and some neat graphics make this an enjoyable family film although very predictable. It requires no thought to enjoy this flick and you come away feeling better. Is there really anything else to an entertaining movie. I rated this a 7.
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Seriously Underrated
rsmc-7069119 October 2019
I'm very surprised how low the ratings are for this movie. It has great visual effects for it's time and covers a variety of genres. Action/adventure, romance and kid friendly. It's fantastic. When my niece was younger I would ask her which one of my movies she would like to watch and she would always say "the big monkey movie". If anyone is reading this definitely give this film a go! You will not regret it!
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Very Realistic
Jemelene27 December 1998
This was not only a believable film but one I could take my 7 year old to on her birthday! She enjoyed it and so did I!
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First-Class Make-up/Effects
mediasi27 November 1998
Rick Baker outdid himself in this remake of the 40s classic. "Joe" is realistic - so much that many times I was sure he was real.

Charlize and Bill Paxton present some of their best roles in a more family-oriented film.

This *is* a family film. Definitely worth a ticket and tub of popcorn at Christmas.
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After remembering this as a child, this is an underrated film that got me teary-eyed
As a young adult, I would look back at some of my favorite childhood movies that I've overlooked. Especially those with positive reviews and mixed reviews and this movie is one of them. Now, before I begin this review, I would like to say that I never saw the original Mighty Joe Young this remake was based on because I guess there weren't any 1940s movies for me to watch, but looking back at this as a child when it was first released at the late 90s, I simply loved it as much as anyone else. Sure, it's not a masterpiece due to it's formulaic storyline and cartoony characters, but I think it's an underrated childhood favorite of mine and I still love it ever since.

The story, although formulaic, is actually faithful to the original storyline of the original Mighty Joe Young, but made some changes to the present time while being helped by the extraordinary special effects. The characters, on the whole, are a mixed bag. Charlize Theron did great as Jill Young and Bill Paxton did a good job as Professor Gregg O' Hara (I also liked the relationship between them), but the rest of the actors ranged from decent to so-so. There were some hilarious moments (despite it's dark and intense beginning) and some tear-jerking moments especially the ending scene where Joe, the gorilla, dies and comes back alive after saving a kid from a burning ferris wheel. It also has a lovely music score from James Horner and it's his best solid music score as a composer.

The film did become a box office bomb when it first came out in 1998, but that doesn't mean it could not be recommended to others because this is an underrated tear-jerking movie that I loved as a kid and I still love it as a young adult now. My advice: If you're looking for a movie that could leave you teary eyed, check this one out.
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This is a cool film
Killer-3015 April 1999
We went to watch this film in Othellos Cinema in Limassol. Me and my cousin weren't that really excited about the idea of going to watch Mighty Joe Young, as there weren't any other good films to go watch.

The film started quietly and then about 5 minutes into the film there was action. This put us into a more positive mood about the film.

The story is based on an over sized Gorilla which poachers are trying to hunt down. Some came close, but not quite. There was a poacher which got his index finger bitten off by Joe when Joe was just a baby. And now that man wants revenge.

The film is immotional, action and romantic in some parts. It's worth going to watch Mighty Joe Young and I asure you that you will feel a little lump in the back of your throat.

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Great try, falls short, especially after the new Kong
hondo5512 January 2006
A few years back I would have rated this film higher, easily a 9, perhaps a 10, but after viewing the new King Kong, it drops a notch or two. Okay, I admit it. When I was a kid back in the late '50s or early '60s, sometime around the Christmas season, I shed a few tears at the end of my first viewing of the original Mighty Joe Young, and as a middle aged adult back in '98 I shed a few tears again. It was a good heart wrenching story in the '40s as well as in the '90s. The new Joe Young looks and feels and sounds real, and Charlize Theron is a great replacement for Terry Moore though Terry was endearingly naive. But where I think some filmmakers go wrong when making a remake is in updating the story in an attempt to appeal to a modern audience. If the new King Kong teaches anything, it shows that telling the same great story in the same time period, with greater detail and better effects will bring an audience in and pay homage to an old classic. Charlize is great to look at, but she's too hip and savvy for a gal living back in the jungle. In the original, Terry Moore and cowboy Ben Johnson were as out of their element in the big city as Joe Young was and it was no accident that all three joined together to escape civilization and attempt to return to the jungle. As remakes go, this one is better than most and worth watching again, it just falls short of what it might have been for being a bit too modern.
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Very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages
Catherine_Grace_Zeh3 December 2005
MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, in my opinion, is a very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages. I really loved Joe. If I could have, I would have helped Joe get to safety myself. It only makes me wonder where I would hide him, though. The score was good, the costumes were perfectly designed, everyone was cast perfectly, and the direction was flawless. In conclusion, I highly recommend this very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages to any Charlize Theron fan who hasn't seen it. You're in for a real treat and a good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with someone close to you, and watch it. I guarantee you you'll thoroughly enjoy it.
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