Monday, January 15, 2007

Movie Review: Mighty Joe Young 3 Stars

Why produce a remake of a knockoff of a movie that’s already been remade?

Why? Because all movies where monkeys go crazy are worth watching. This one ranks right up there, just below the original, which is only better because, in that one, Joe hates lions and throws them around. What this movie lacks in lions, it makes up for in violence, gore and action--tons of heartpounding action.

In this version, Joe (played by robots) is a genetic mutation, a giant gorilla, who along with his friend Jill (played by the very pretty Charlize Theron) becomes orphaned when both of their mothers are shot by the evil poacher, Stasser (played by Rade Sherbedgia). Joe bites off two of Stasser’s fingers in the process.

Jill protects Joe by hiding him in the jungle. The natives believe he is a man-eating mountain god until a scientist named Gregg (played by Bill Paxton) discovers him. Gregg only seeks blood samples from Joe, but his discovery unleashes bands of poachers. Gregg convinces Jill that Joe’s only chance for survival is to escape to L.A. where he can be cared for at a zoo.

Strasser and his evil partner, Garth (played by Peter Firth) travel to L.A. to seek revenge on Joe for the finger-biting incident. They send the ape on a violent rampage. He destroys a benefit for the zoo and eventually rains destruction on the entire city.

The most bizarre thing is that Joe, whose last name is Young, is supposed to be kind of like a brother to Jill, whose last name is Young, since they are the same age and have grown up together. But when Gregg enters the picture, Joe is jealous, which leads me to believe that perhaps Joe is in love with Jill.

All in all, Mighty Joe Young (1998) is better than King Kong (1976) which is not as good as Mighty Joe Young (1949) which is better than King Kong (1933).

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