Mighty Joe Young is a remake of the 1949 adventure, this is basically a fun junior version of the more grown-up King Kong, starring a 15ft gorilla.
Theron stars as Jill, a woman raised in Africa whose mother (Charlize-lookalike Linda Purl) was murdered by poachers when she tried to protect the gorillas she loved. A baby gorilla whom the young Jill named Joe was also orphaned in the attack, and years later the fearsome ball of hair is still putty in the hands of his human pal. However, their idyllic existence can’t last after Joe is discovered by both greedy poachers and zoologist Gregg (Paxton), who convinces Jill to move the beast to a Californian preserve where he’ll be safe (except we know he won’t be, don’t we, boys and girls?).
It’s terrific family fare (apart from a few nasty bits not suitable for really young viewers, like the aforementioned attack), with nice performances from the good-looking cast and, of course, a moving and hilarious one from Joe himself (courtesy of the impressive trickery of ILM and Rick Baker’s creature effects). Impossibly cute.
Is Mighty Joe Young suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Kids may be upset by the thought of both Joe and Jill’s mothers being killed but their deaths are not shown on screen.