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Mighty Joe Young
Directed by Ron Underwood
Produced by Ted Hartley
Tom Jacobson
Written by Merian C. Cooper
Ruth Rose
Mark Rosenthal
Lawrence Konner
Starring Dave Coulier
Bill Paxton
Charlize Theron
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Donald Peterman
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) 25 December 1998
Running time 114 min.
Country  United States
Language English
Budget $90,000,000 (estimated)
Gross revenue $50,632,037 (USA)

Mighty Joe Young is a 1998 Disney film starring Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron and directed by Ron Underwood. It is based on the 1949 film of the same name. In this version, the ape is much larger than in the original.

Contents

Plot

Charlize Theron plays Jill Young who as a child has witnessed the death of her mother and the mother of Joe, a baby ape, at the hands of poachers led by Andrei Strasser (Rade Šerbedžija). The poacher loses his thumb and trigger finger to the baby gorilla. Twelve years later, Jill has raised Joe (because of his size, the other gorillas won't accept him) and both are living in relative peace until a wildlife refuge director, Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton), convinces Jill that they would be safer from poachers if they relocated to the United States.

The pair go to Hollywood, California (as in the original film) and win the hearts of the refuge staff. There, Jill is approached by Strasser, who has seen a news report about Joe and wants revenge because of the damage done to his hand 12 years ago. Jill fails to recognize Strasser as the poacher who killed both her mother and Joe's. Strasser tries to persuade Jill that Joe would be better off in his wildlife refuge back in Africa. Later, during a gala, Strasser's henchman uses a poacher's noisemaker to scare Joe into a frenzy. Joe trashes the gala, recognizes Strasser and tries to attack him. Joe is tranquilized and placed in a concrete bunker. Before their departure, Greg has fallen in love with Jill and he kisses her goodbye. When Jill learns that Joe may be euthanized she decides to take Strasser's offer. She and the refuge staff smuggle Joe out in a truck but on the way to the airport, Jill notices Strasser's missing fingers. He makes a remark that makes her realize he is the poacher who killed her mother. She crashes the truck and Joe escapes. Meanwhile Greg has also realized the identity of the poacher and goes after Jill and Joe. He finds Jill and they locate Joe at a carnival. Strasser arrives and in attempting to shoot Jill starts a fire which causes the Ferris wheel to break down. Joe catches Strasser and tosses him onto some electrical wires where he is killed by electrocution. In a poignant scene at the Santa Monica Pier, while saving a child Joe falls from the collapsing Ferris wheel. The scene is reminiscent of King Kong falling from the Empire State Building. Joe survives the fall and is shipped back to Africa to run free on his own refuge funded by donations from his fans owned by Jill and Gregg who cuddle with each other in a warm embrace watching Joe happily run free.

Cast

Reception

Mighty Joe Young had a better critical reception than the other big monster remake of the year, Godzilla; however it was ultimately judged a disaster by some critics as being typically 'Disney' in plot and outcome. In May 2008, it had a freshness rating of 54 percent from Rotten Tomatoes.[1] The movie grossed $50,632,037 with a production budget of $90,000,000, thus a box office bomb. Over the years, the film has gained a cult following.

Production

A model of the trailer used in a scene from the film. The model is now used in an attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The ape was created through a combination of computer animation and an actor in a suit. John Alexander, famous for his work with animals, played the ape Joe, and Verne Troyer played the baby ape. This is one of very few recent films produced under the name of RKO Pictures.

References

External links

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