Mighty Joe Young (1998)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1998.  RKO Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures.  Screenplay by , , based on a story by  and a screenplay by . Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1998.  

In this remake of the forties classic,  plays an L.A. Zoo animal researcher who travels to Africa and witnesses a wonder: a fifteen-foot gorilla named Joe. Soon after a hazardous meeting with the great ape, he also meets Joe’s best friend, a beautiful blonde woman (Charlize Theron) who grew up with the gorilla after they both lost their mothers to poachers twelve years earlier. Needing a safe home for her beloved friend, Theron agrees to take Joe to Los Angeles with Paxton in order to house him in a giant facility there, but trouble is sure to follow when the dirty poacher () who killed their mothers shows up at the same time. This thrilling family film is a raucous good time for the whole family, featuring eyepopping visual effects and amiable characters who go on a very fun adventure. The production values are all top-notch, even though the performances lack a lot of credibility (Theron hasn’t been this awkward since). Through a combination of five or six different effects methods, the massive Joe comes across with believable strength and a lovable personality (think King Kong crossed with a Robert Munch book).

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