Movie Review: Mighty Joe Young

Mighty Joe Young Trailer

Mighty Joe Young Summary

As a child, Jill Young (Mika Boorem) witnesses the death of her mother, primatologist Ruth Young (Linda Purl), and the mother of Joe, an infant mountain gorilla, at the hands of poachers led by Andrei Strasser (Rade Šerbedžija), who loses his right thumb and trigger finger to Joe, swearing revenge.

Twelve years later, Jill (Charlize Theron) has raised Joe, now grown to a height of 15 feet (4.6 m) tall and weighing 2,000 pounds (910 kg). As a result, other gorillas will not accept him and they are both now 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 trio goes to Los Angeles and win the hearts of the refuge staff at the conservancy, who put Jill in charge of Joe. Jill meets Strasser, who now runs a fraudulent animal preserve in Botswana, while secretly selling animal organs on the black market, and is eager for revenge after seeing Joe featured on a news report. At first, Jill does not recognize him, since his right hand is concealed in his coat pocket. Strasser attempts to convince Jill that Joe would be better off in his wildlife refuge back in Africa. During a gala, Strasser’s henchman Garth (Peter Firth) uses a poacher’s noisemaker to scare Joe into a frenzy. Joe trashes the gala, with the intention of attacking Strasser, but is captured, and imprisoned in a concrete bunker.

When Jill discovers that Joe may be euthanized, she accepts Strasser’s offer. She and the refuge staff smuggle Joe out in a truck. Before their departure, Gregg, who has fallen in love with Jill, kisses her goodbye. Shortly after Jill leaves, the maintenance workers come in with the poacher’s noisemaker that they found while cleaning up the gala, making Gregg realize Jill and Joe are in danger and he drives after them.

On the way to the airport, Jill notices the half-glove covering Strasser’s missing fingers and recognizes him. She fights Strasser and Garth, then jumps from the truck onto Hollywood Boulevard, leading to several automobile accidents. Joe sees her and tilts the truck over onto its side and flees, rampaging through the Hollywood city and being chased by helicopters, before arriving at the Santa Monica Pier carnival.

Gregg finds Jill, who tells him of Strasser’s intentions and her history with him. They track Joe to the carnival where he is playfully wreaking havoc. Strasser, determined to prevent Jill from exposing him, arrives and attempts to shoot her. But Garth, appalled at Strasser’s ruthlessness, turns against him and shoves the gun away from Jill, causing Strasser to misfire at a spotlight, which starts a fire that quickly spreads throughout the carnival. After knocking Garth unconscious, Strasser attempts to kill Jill in person, but Joe sneaks up behind them and throws the evil poacher onto a nearby power line. Unable to grip the wire due to his missing fingers, Strasser falls onto a transformer below and is electrocuted to death, leaving only his prosthetic half-glove dangling from the cable.

Later, Joe attempts to save a child, who he had earlier bonded with while en route to the conservancy, from atop the burning Ferris wheel, but the fire burns it down and Joe and the child fall to the ground, where Joe jumps off of the burning wheel, protecting the boy and knocking himself unconscious. Joe survives the fall and awakens, and Jill mentions that they need to raise money to open a reserve for him. The young boy, named Jason (Cory Buck), donates some change to Jill after hearing this, prompting nearby civilians to contribute.

Joe is returned to Uganda where Jill and Gregg open the “Joe Young Reserve”. Finally free, Joe runs off into the jungle.

Mighty Joe Young Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A great and loving story of a beloved Gorilla. While it can be scary, it is a great family film and very heart warming.

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