HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
Wing Commander
Look Back in Anger
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Mighty Joe Young Where Does A Two Thousand Pound Gorilla Sleep?Buy this film here.
Year: 1998
Director: Ron Underwood
Stars: Charlize Theron, Bill Paxton, Rade Serbedzija, Regina King, Peter Firth, Naveen Andrews, David Paymer, Robert Wisdom, Christian Clemenson, Geoffrey Blake, Lawrence Pressman, Linda Purl, Mika Boorem, Cory Buck, Liz Georges, Terry Moore, Ray Harryhausen
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: When Jill Young (Charlize Theron) was a little girl (Mika Boorem), she spent a lot of time with her mother around the mountains where the African gorillas lived, looking after their wellbeing, researching them and protecting them from poachers. Jill grew quite attached to one of the gorilla babies, who she named Joe and noticed before her mother did that he was growing at a far faster rate than his peers. All very well, but this peaceful existence was about to be ruined by poachers led by Strasser (Rade Serbedzija) who would not only kill Joe's mother but Jill's as well...

The original Mighty Joe Young was blessed with truly endearing stop motion animation from Ray Harryhausen, but for the nineties remake another effects expert was called in, only he was an expert in makeup effects: Rick Baker, no stranger to ape costumes for the movies. Working with some other skilled technicians, Baker's costume, with John Alexander (who had been an ape in Greystoke) inside it, this Joe was one of the most convincing giant apes in cinema, rivalling even the one in Peter Jackson's King Kong remake for authenticity in its design.

So if the gorilla was great, how did the rest of the film work out? Very earnestly, as it turned out, with the novelty value tempered by a drive to make this the fantasy equivalent to Gorillas in the Mist with Theron in the Dian Fossey role. Director Ron Underwood and his writers, Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, were determined to keep this tale as believable as possible as it was to keep a giant ape flick believable, which meant a lot of the fun went out of the story and a lot more of the feeling that you were being sternly lectured was introduced.

Bill Paxton played Gregg O'Hara, a scientist who has gotten wind of the possibility that there is a huge creature on a certain African mountain, and after hiring some men who definitely are not poachers (i.e., they definitely are) he tracks Joe down with surprising ease. When he ascertains the close relationship between his find and Jill, he implores her to let him take Joe back to America with him so he will be safe, and with Strasser hearing of the massive ape and realising that this is the one that bit off his trigger finger and thumb when he was killing his mother, he grows determined to hunt Joe down.

Serbedzija makes for a hissable villain, and when Jill is persuaded by Gregg he follows them to California and an animal park where Joe is given his own enclosure, which may be safer but does not offer him as much room to roam. From then on it's predictable all the way, with Joe going on a mini-rampage at a posh dinner for investors due to Strasser winding him up, and then having to be locked away where, as Jill tells us, he is not eating and will die in days! Yeah, yeah, it is pretty contrived, but at least it stays faithful to the spirit of the original, and the final half hour where Joe goes on a mega-rampage is very well handled. This has heart, though too often resembles an educational special for a made-up creature here representing his normal sized kin, meaning it's a difficult film to lose yourself in. But those effects are truly excellent. Music by James Horner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2751 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: