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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

Gross USA:

$50,632,037

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

Terry Moore, Ray Harryhausen: The star of the original Mighty Joe Young (1949), and the legendary stop-motion animator (who did most of the animation on the 1949 film) appear as an elderly couple at the gala. Looking at Jill Young, Moore states, "She reminds me of somebody, but I can't think who." Harryhausen replies, "You, when we first met." 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

Greg O'Hara: [Joe is holding him in the air by his leg] You think you could you get him to put me down?
Jill Young: Joe, drop him.
[Joe drops him roughly and Greg passes out]
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 »

Connections

References The Jungle Book (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Calliope Music
Written and Performed by Richard Gibbs
See more »

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User Reviews

May be clichéd and unlikely but that's not to say it's not entertaining and the effects are good
3 November 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

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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