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MIGHTY JOE YOUNG
(1998)
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By David Bruce
.........................
David Bruce
Take the whole family.
You will enjoy this one.
THIS IS A SPOILER REVIEW
YOU MAY WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE FIRST.
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Paradise has an angel!
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     There are some interesting ties between this film and the Garden of Eden story in the Bible. The central African mountains are shown in all their primal beauty (the Garden) and the giant gorilla is spoken of by the natives of the area as the "Sacred Guardian" of paradise. Later in the film, when Joe is brought to a California animal preserve, the gala event speaker begins his introduction of Joe by saying, "The world began as a garden..." The tempters (serpent) in this story are the poachers who use their financial influence to tempt others to obtain their evil goals.
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     I remember seeing the original film when I was a kid. I think it was my favorite film for sometime. I liked it better than King Kong. Joe seemed more believable and approachable. Kong didn't. MJY is a sort of a remake of King Kong, following the same general story plot. I have always been a fan of Willis O' Brien and Ray Harryhausen -the team that did the original animation in MJY and I was glad to see Harryhausen in a cameo in this film along with Terry Moore, the Jill Young in the original
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SPOILER: As in the original, Mighty Joe Young nearly gives up his life to save a child. He would sacrifice his life for the very ones (humans) that have caused him so much trouble. I fully expected Joe to die at the end of this remake. However, the writers give Joe a resurrection and ends with him back in Africa as the Sacred Guardian of Paradise. "A legend never dies."
SALUTE TO WILLIS O'BRIEN.
The original animation master of special effects.

The connection between MJY, King Kong and Creation can be seen in the film titles which O'Brien worked on. His work has been highly influential.

1. Morpheus Mike (1915)
2. Dinosaur and the Missing Link, The (1915)
3. R.F.D. 10,000 B.C. (1916)
4. Prehistoric Poultry (1916)
5. Ghost of Slumber Mountain, The (1918)
6. Lost World, The (1925)
Guess what book and film series was inspired by this O'Brien film.

7. Creation (1931)
This was King Kong before Kong. Remarkable parallels.
8. King Kong (1933)
This is the mega blockbuster hit of the 30's. It is the film that Harryhausen saw as a kid. It changed him forever.
9. Son of Kong, The (1933)
10. Last Days of Pompeii, The (1935)
11. Dancing Pirate (1936)
12. Mighty Joe Young (1949)
Harryhausen worked as an apprentice to O'Brien on this "remake" of Kong.
13. Black Scorpion, The (1957)
14. Behemoth, the Sea Monster (1959)
SALUTE TO RAY HARRYHAUSEN

1. Mighty Joe Young (1949)
2. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
3. It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
4. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
5. The Animal World (1956)
6. 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
7. The 27th Day (1957)
8. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
9. The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960)
10. Mysterious Island (1961)
12. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
13. First Men in the Moon (1964)
14. One Million Years B.C. (1966)
15. The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
16. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)
17. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)
18. Clash of the Titans (1981)
A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON
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     Today, in Japan, Americans are often characterized as cute little monkeys. Time changes things.

     In the Disney film Mighty Joe Young is used as a symbol of endangered animals world wide and placed in the context of the biblical Eden. He is the "Sacred Guardian" -the angel that protects the Garden. Let's protect what little paradise we have left!
INTERESTING SIDE NOTE
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OFFICIAL SITE
Mighty Joe Young. © 1998 Disney. All rights reserved.
BULLETIN BOARD

NOT A RE-MAKE
The new movie is NOT a re-make of the original. Quite contrary - it is an entirely new story line attached to the title for easy sales. It is also not a sequal. It does not begin where the old movie left off -however - it could easily have given the availability of the original Jill- Terry Moore. (for example she as an older woman could have given Joe to her daughter to take care of (this imho could have made a great sequal). I think it is unethical to use the title of one Movie for another especially if the new movie departs from the original story. A re-make should have the story line of the original- complete with burning orphanage scene... What damage does stealing a title do? Clearly our children will now come to think of the story of Mr. Joseph Young of Africa (the original name of the original 1949 movie) as that of the new movie. The old story will be confused with the new. There are many great lessons in the old 1949 movie. Joe is quite human and loveable. He has character that was the intent of Harryhausen and his assistants. He also has moral character and his experiences provide examples for our youth. The example of signing contracts the example of leaving things in their natural setting where they belong and the famous drinking scene depicting the evils of drink Why this could not have been simply re-made or its tradition continued by way of sequal I do not know But disney has developed an amazingly idiotic trend lately- that of turning real stories into false fiction. Our children are the loosers as they will have to re learn their mythology and history and classics discarding the inaccuracies placed into them by disney. This should not be allowed to happen. We must call upon film makers to respect earlier classics, myths legends and history. To learn more about the 1949 film please visit our extensive web pages on the movie:
http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/8901/joe.html
You can also help save the classic by asking your local television station to run it. You can call them up and request it. Most stations really do honor viewers requests. The turner network will air the film just before the oscars I believe in March. Tune in and let your children see a real classic. Read our pages and tell the story to them It is worth protecting from Disney's quest for riches! CJB
MY RESPONSE:
It's hard to argue with a fan. Kids in school learn that even ancient myths changed through the centuries. And, which Cinderella story is the correct one? The original Joe is great. Both have their place. A retelling for a new generation.

LEFT ME TEARY EYED
Jan 10 1999, This movie was great! It was much better than I had anticipated. It left left me teary eyed. Joe is awesome! The only thing that left me puzzled was that I kept hearing it was a true story (which seemed kind of far fetched to me) Go see it, you'll LOVE Joe!

GOD BLESS THE PRODUCER
Jan 09 1999, Very very nice movie.God bless the producer and the presenters.--Nicholas

ACTING ISN'T SACRIFICED
Jan 08 1999, The depiction of Joe Young, the giant gorilla, is darn near perfect. Kudos to everyone involved. Giving real character to a special effects creation takes a careful eye for detail plus a good feel for how real animals behave. The human acting isn't sacrificed to the technological achievement, either, a common problem with sci-fi and adventure films

HARD TO BEAT ORIGINAL
Loved the movie. But it's hard to beat the burning orphanage sequence of the original. -Roger

GOOD ENDINGS
Dec 31, 1998. I loved the movie. I took my 5 and 7 year old kids with me. Both kids were frozen, spellbound throughout the film and my 5 yr old and I both blubbered in the end. My oldest stayed dry eyed and couldn't stop talking about the film when it was over. Thank heaven for good endings! Angie

INTERESTING ENDING

Dec 27, 1998. The movie had an interesting ending sequence. My only comment would be to give Joe more brains in the first half of the show.
-Bob