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Mighty Joe Young

4.5 out of 5 stars 321 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the classic tradition of heroic Disney adventures comes the extraordinary MIGHTY JOE YOUNG -- a thrilling story full of excitement, friendship, courage, and heart. The legendary Joe, a playful, smart fifteen-foot-tall gorilla, and his lifelong best friend Jill Young (Charlize Theron) have grown up together in the remote mountains of Central Africa. When Joe's peaceful existence is shattered by poachers, Jill and zoologist Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton) rescue their innocent friend and move him to the safety of an animal conservancy in California. But Joe's safety is short-lived. No longer a myth, his notoriety makes him a target for an enemy from his past -- a ruthless hunter who will do anything to capture the Mighty Joe. From the moment you meet him to his incredible display of courage, Mighty Joe Young will fill your eyes with wonder and your heart with magic.|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.

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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

Special Features

Theatrical Trailer|Production Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron, Rade Serbedzija, Regina King, Peter Firth
  • Directors: Ron Underwood
  • Writers: Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305320950
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,375 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mighty Joe Young" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on June 16, 2005
Format: DVD
Surprised this picture didn't do better at the box office. After making the dreadful Hearts and Souls (with Alfre Woodard, trying to out-do GHOST) and Speechless (the romantic comedy which killed the careers of both its stars, Geena Davis and Michael Keaton) director Ron Underwood bounced back with this inventive, lively remake of an earlier 1949 movie.

It should have made Charlize Theron, who plays Jill Young, a big, big star, but instead, Charlize had to bumble on for a few more years before winning an Oscar.

James Horner's music outdoes his heart-wrenching symphonic themes for TITANIC, BRAVEHEART, and THE ROCKETEER, with a touch of African percussion and wood and wind instruments that bring the plains of Africa into mind whenever you hear them. Charlize has a lovely song, "Wind Song," sort of a lullaby for Mighty Joe, that should have been a hit on the scale of "MY HEART WILL GO ON." But somehow people just weren't interested in this picture. Maybe the forthcoming remake of KING KONG by Peter Jackson will have better luck with audiences. It will have more publicity, for sure, for I don't think the studio was really behind Ron Underwood to the same degree that New Line supports Jackson.

What a cast! Beyond Charlize and Bill Paxton, the movie also features Naveem Andrews (who plays Sayid on ABC's LOST) in a rather comic role, and also everyone's favorite REGINA KING from RAY.

If you liked AU HASARD BALTHAZAR by Robert Bresson, you will also enjoy MIGHTY JOE YOUNG the remake.
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Format: DVD
Ok, this movie makes me cry every time i see it. stupid i know, but what the hey. I love both Bill Paxton and Charlieze Theron, so that was why I saw it initially, but I just love it. Joe looks realistic with the exception of his tongue, which looks goofy, but it still works for me. great kids movie i think too.
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Format: DVD
A feel good story for the whole family, don't expect "Mighty Joe Young" to knock you off your feet. Instead, watch it for the good "Beauty and the Beast" storyline that is well outlined for any age group to watch.
There is some violence in this movie, and smaller children may be frightened by "Joe" at first, but if they can control themselves through the first few minutes, they'll fall in love with him. There is very little, if any, foul language.
The story is simple: Girl and giant ape are moved to the city, girl and giant ape want out, man in love with girl helps, everyone ends up happy.
If you're interested, "Joe" looks fairly realistic, especially for the time this flick was made.
Overall, a good family show that all can watch. I highly recommend it for its entertainment value.
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It's so hard to see how much 18 years of improvements in film making can make this film be a jarringly inept mess. A kids' movie even back then, I can't see any modern kid older than eight "buying into this production." No need to list the errors. I had to fast forward many times and didn't even really watch the ending, because it was so sappy. Today's typical Disney work is as fraught, no doubt, with today's "acceptable qualities," that a decade's growth will similarly reduce to a "klunky effort from the past." Also kinda miffed that the film was such a leering slavering peeping-at-Charlize-Theron-in-fully-blossomed-allure vehicle. It was way too much in the ogling department. Paxton was not up to selling the material; phoned it in. Gave it three stars because it has some viewing value to young kids whose parents watch with them to explain the violence.

The black and white version of Mighty Joe Young wowed me back-when; might have to watch it again to see if I'm remembering correctly my inner-ten-year-old's experiences.

In 1998, this was a 4.5 star film. But all the audiences globally have evolved -- this is history, on the hoof, clomping inside each nervous system -- ain't no looking homeward angels to be found. Maybe in another 20 years, this work might become "cute" because of its "adorable" film errors. If I'm around, it might just be funzies to review this dynamic. I'll be 92 years old though. Don't count my having this as a concern. Heh.
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By A Customer on June 9, 2000
Format: DVD
For a movie that, to me, sounded so wrong it somehow managed to get it so right. I was expecting a King Kong "rip off" which had been given a Free Willy style plot, that would be purely for kids. The main problem I usually have with movies about Gorillas, and associated this with Mighty Joe young, is that they seem to be the one animal that effects people still haven't quite been able to perfect yet and always feel fake. In fact the only reason I watched this movie in the first place was because I was bored and my friend had left a copy at my house...oh the joys of fate!
This is an enchanting tale that will capture kids and adults alike, with its story of a giant gorilla that is taken to America to keep it "safe" away from poachers. But of course, things don't go as planned and a heart warming struggle to help Joe find safety and happiness ensues. It basically is an alternative telling of the King Kong story, but it does with grace and a charm that only Disney can provide. The beautiful Charlize Theron is perfect in her jungle woman role and works superbly alongside Bill Paxton. Although the effects still aren't perfect, they are the best gorilla effects I have seen in a movie; at least they don't make you cringe.
The sound and picture quality on the dvd are very good, but the extra features (or lack of them) lets down the film. An insight into the effects would have been good, but no, you have to make do with a poxy trailer and featurette. But don't let this put you off. And if you are the same as I was and are doubting whether you will like it, I urge you to give in. You too might be surprised.
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