Projections - Movie Reviews

Mighty Joe Young

Charlize Theron and Bill Paxton top the cast but Joe Young is the star.  The special effects and animation by Industrial Light and Magic are spectacular, Joe is powerful and fierce when challenged and gently as a kitten when holding Jill Young (Theron).

Joe and Jill were attacked by a vicious poacher who killed Jill's mother (Linda Purl).  During the attack Baby Joe bit off the thumb of Strasser (Rade Sherbedgia) the attacker. Years later that amputation will be the tip off to danger for Jill when Joe is in a California preserve.

Joe is spectacular, he destroys a Mercedes by sitting on it, he climbs a Ferris wheel to save a young boy, he picks up O'Hara and drops him to the ground, he poses with Jill, cuddles with her and has more expression than some actors.  Bill Paxton is the same character he was in Twister and Charlize Theron appears uncomfortable initially and is far less effective than the sexy supermodel she played in Celebrity.  She is, however, a wonderful contrast to the giant two thousand pound furry gorilla; they work well together.

A fight with lions from the 1949 version doesn't occur in this version partly because this film speaks to the protection of all animals, a subject which was of little consequence fifty years ago.  However, Ray Harryhousen the creator of the original Joe Young in the 1949 film and the original Jill (Terry Moore) appears as a guest at the coming out party.

The spectacle of Joe roaming down Hollywood Boulevard between cars and running free in Africa contain a beauty and power which is extraordinary to watch, it's almost inspiring.  But creature films can't inspire, except perhaps The Creature From the Black Lagoon and Mighty Joe Young.

Mighty Joe Young


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