Mighty Joe Young

Mighty Joe Young


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A baby gorilla and little girl become friends. It's a jungle thing. The girl's mom is studying the animals. The baby gorilla is called Joe. So begins a thickly disguised reworking of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame for kids. It is exciting, sentimental, fast moving and utter twaddle.

The twaddle factor should be ignored, as far as possible. Peter Pan is twaddle. The little girl grows up into Charlize Theron, a short-cropped, curly haired, leggy blonde, and the baby gorilla grows up into a 2000lb giant mammoth freak.

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Poachers and endangered species collectors are after Joe. Bill Paxton, looking All American handsome, with his I-remember-The-Beatles haircut, offers the big ape a home in California. Joe behaves like a gorilla, even though he must be something else. The effects are so sophisticated they stop appearing as computer generated wizardry and become realistic to the edge of awesome.

The script follows traditional lines and doesn't offer much in the way of surprise. The acting is a walk in the park - no chemistry, oodles of cardboard commitment. When it comes to it, you care about Joe. You hate the baddies and love the make-believe. You don't mind when director, Ron Underwood, steals E.T.'s near death experience to give the finale an extra lump in the throat. Of course, it's artificial. So? Girls and gorillas should be together, right?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Adventures of a girl and her gorilla
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Director: Ron Underwood

Writer: Merian C. Cooper story, Ruth Rose

Starring: Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron, Rade Serbedzija, Regina King, Peter Firth, Naveen Andrews, David Paymer, Robert Wisdom

Year: 1998

Runtime: 75 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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