Mighty Joe Young
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After formulating the gorilla's dimensions, the materials to be used, and the mechanics for operating Joe, designers spent about a year creating the animal. Three Big Joes were created in three different postures -- Quadruped Joe (on all fours), Sitting Joe, and Sleeping Joe.|The jungles and mountains of Oahu's Kualoa Valley doubled for the Pangani Mountains in Tanzania, Africa, where the early scenes of the film are set.
Charlize Theron is the latest stunning blonde to be hanging around some big ape in a Hollywood movie, this one a remake of the 1949 semi-classic with echoes of the superior King Kong. Theron plays the daugher of an American researcher killed by poachers in Africa. The baby gorilla left in her care grows up to become a hugely tall and broad specimen named Joe, living in the mountains as a mostly unseen legend among people who live there. Along comes an eco-minded emissary (Bill Paxton) 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. Director Ron Underwood (City Slickers) uses a combination of special-effects techniques to give Joe life and personality, and he succeeds quite effectively. The requisite giant-ape-goes-amok scenes are all in place--a couple of them pretty intense--as is a conclusion that finds the simian hero performing a stunning feat of escalation. Underwood attempts to give a little modern spin to some classic Hollywood conventions regarding wild hearts lost in civilization, and the results are pretty agreeable family fare. --Tom Keogh
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With the original "Mighty Joe Young" you don't get the state-of-the-art special effects of the remake, but what you do get is a much better story which tugs at all your emotions. The climax of the film is very exciting, and so touching that it brings tears to the eyes. I won't give it away as to not spoil it. The original MJY was filmed in Black & White and Full Screen.
Great news, this film is finally being released in November 2005 along with the original "King Kong" and "Son of Kong" as a special collection. It most likely will be available as a single DVD as well. It should be a winner!
Mighty Joe Young, the remake does an admirable job. Is it great, well, no, but, it is nice enough to grab a soda, microwave some popcorn, grab the remote, lean back in the recliner and watch. Not a bad way to waste a couple of hours in the late evening.