Mighty Joe Young

Watch Mighty Joe Young

"Survival is an instinct."
  • PG
  • 1998
  • 5.7  (30,566)
  • 51

Mighty Joe Young is a 1998 American adventure fantasy film directed by Ron Underwood and produced by Ted Hartley and James Jacks. This action-packed film is about a giant gorilla named Joe, who forms a special bond with a young woman named Jill Young. The movie starts in Africa where a group of poachers, including Andrei Strasser (Rade Serbedzija), is hunting a gorilla family. Jill's mother is killed, but Jill manages to escape and is rescued by a young park ranger, Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton). He promises to take care of her and her new friend, Joe, a baby gorilla. Gregg raises both Jill and Joe as if they were his own, teaching them how to live in captivity.

Jill and Joe grow up together and develop a strong bond, despite Joe's increasing size and strength. Years later, a Hollywood promoter named Garth Hale (Charlize Theron) sees Joe perform in the park and convinces Jill to take him to Hollywood to perform as a sideshow attraction. However, Joe is not happy living in captivity and resents his treatment by Garth and her associates.

Things take an unexpected turn when Strasser, the poacher who killed Jill's mother, shows up at the carnival and tries to kidnap Joe. Jill and Gregg manage to rescue Joe, but they must also save him from the poachers, who will stop at nothing to kill him.

The bulk of the movie follows Jill, Gregg, and Joe's journey as they try to find a place where Joe can live safely and freely. Along the way, they encounter dangerous obstacles, including a raging forest fire, and must work together to overcome them.

The special effects used to create Joe are impressive, and the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. The movie also benefits from strong performances by the lead actors. Paxton is charming as the park ranger who raises Joe and Jill and is willing to risk everything to protect them. Theron delivers a convincing performance as the slick Hollywood promoter who sees Joe as her ticket to fame and fortune. Serbedzija is appropriately sinister as the villainous poacher out to kill Joe.

While Mighty Joe Young is primarily a fun, action-packed adventure, the film does touch on some deeper themes. The movie explores the idea of animal rights and the ethical treatment of animals. It also raises questions about the role of captivity in animal conservation efforts. These issues are not overly preachy, but they do add a layer of depth to what might otherwise be a simple action film.

Overall, Mighty Joe Young is an entertaining adventure that is suitable for the whole family. The movie has a strong cast, impressive visuals, and a worthwhile message. While it may not be a classic, it is definitely a movie worth watching, especially for fans of action and adventure.

Mighty Joe Young is a 1998 adventure movie. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7 and a MetaScore of 51.

Mighty Joe Young
Where to Watch Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Disney+, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Mighty Joe Young for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (30,566)
  • Metascore