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Mighty Joe Young is a myth and a legend, a huge gorilla who is companion and protector to Jill (Charlize Theron). They each represent their only family, since their respective mothers were killed by poachers 20 years earlier. When zoologist Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton) finds the awesome 15 foot gorilla in Central Africa, he takes Joe and Jill to California to the safety of an animal conservancy. But Joe is not safe for long, as his notoriety makes him a target for Strasser (Rade Sherbedgia), the ruthless poacher who first encountered him as a baby, and who is eager to sell him onto the black market.

"Allow your disbelief and scepticism to be suspended for a couple of hours, and meet Mighty Joe Young in a family adventure with plenty of heart. In many ways it's an old fashioned film with themes negating greed and reinforcing good. Although wholesome themes of love, honouring commitments and doing the right thing are played throughout, that's not to say that this film preaches in any way. Far from it Ė this is a delightful adventure that the whole family can enjoy. There are admittedly flaws in the predictable plot, and to get the most out of this film, you really need to accept the notion, jump on board and enjoy the ride. The girl/gorilla theme is moving, the girl/guy romance enticing, and the cinematography captures remote Africa as well as not so remote California beautifully. The visual effects are fabulous, James Horner's music outstanding and the cast terrific. Charlize Theron is super in the lead role; she has a luminous star quality that shines through, and the camera loves her. Top cast all round, with Bill Paxton and Rade Sherbedgia strong in their respective romantic and villain roles. The visual effects to create a 15 foot tall gorilla are extraordinary, with animatronic designers, technicians, computer graphic artists, puppeteers and performers all contributing to make our big hairy hero convincing and expressive. Poignant, moving, thrilling and thoroughly entertaining, Mighty Joe Young is an escapist treat for the whole family."
Louise Keller

"It's been 50 years since RKO unleashed its low-rent version of King Kong, in the guise of Mighty Joe Young. Enough time has lapsed for a remake to be justified, and though it's the kind of film that hardened critics may not digest so easily, this Joe is an unexpected delight, a perfect family film in the great Disney tradition. What is wonderful about this film is that it uses optical and mechanical effects with such ease and creativity, that one eventually loses sight of the cleverness of the piece, and gets caught up in the story. Screenwriters Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner have delivered a wise and sharp adventure tale, featuring a collection of nicely delineated characters that easily leap off the page onto the screen. Director Ron Underwood is both a gifted technician and a great storyteller and utilises both with meticulous ingenuity here. The performances are all topnotch, beginning with the wonderful Charlize Theron. Not only a ravishing actress, but also one with enormous depth of talent and is superb as Joe's confidante, friend and protector, while Bill Paxton adds solid support. But the real star here is Joe himself. Forget the conglomeration of wiring he has been so methodically created that it's tough not to believe in this gentle, near-human creature. The special effects are truly extraordinary, and the movie has been beautifully lensed by Don Peterman and Oliver Wood. With so many family films appealing just to children, Meet Joe Young, is a beautifully mounted and thrilling adventure fable that is warm, funny and highly engaging. If you leave your cynicism at home, you'd be hard pressed not to love Joe - and this movie."
Paul Fischer

"Iíd be happy to recommend this film for an outing with your grandma, but if youíre the one reading this and youíre not the grandma, youíre too old. You would find the corn and the plastic too much of a clutter, and the beads of perspiration on your brow would not be the result of excitement but of stress. Can you hold out till the end? Can I suspend disbelief any longer before my mind collapses? Will I survive another costume change for Charlize? But seriously, the film is well intentioned, superbly crafted and engagingly cast. It just isnít adult entertainment. So as I say, itís a film for toddlers whose sense of irony is in inverse proportion to their sense of wonder. Like mine used to be."
Andrew L. Urban

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Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2





CAST: Charlize Theron, Bill Paxton, Rade Sherbedgia, Peter Firth, David Paymer, Regina King

DIRECTOR: Ron Underwood

PRODUCER: Ted Hartley, Tom Jacobson

SCRIPT: Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner based on a screenplay by Ruth Rose and a story by Merian C. Cooper

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Peterman, Oliver Wood

EDITOR: Paul Hirsch

MUSIC: James Horner

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Corenblith

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes



VIDEO RELEASE: September 1, 1999


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