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Still shot from the movie: Mighty Joe Young.

Mighty Joe Young

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Overall: B-
Violence: C
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B+
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Theater Release:
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG
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Disney, the king of "Orphan Openings," has put this trusted technique to double use in Mighty Joe Young, when the mother of a baby gorilla and the mother of a young girl, are both murdered by poachers in the opening scene.

After this tragic event, an enduring bond is formed between the primate and human. Now an adult, Jill (Charlize Theron) lives her life in the jungle wearing tiny revealing outfits like you'd buy at the local mall (I'd like to know her brand of insect repellent) and playing hide and seek with Joe.

Joe's not difficult to find. Standing over twelve feet tall, Joe is one huge gorilla and provides the source of rumors in the nearby village of a giant jungle beast. But when poachers hear of Joe's presence, Jill is forced to accept an offer from animal conservationist Greg (Bill Paxton) to relocate Joe to a reserve in suburban LA.

I wouldn't be giving away any surprises to tell you that Joe will be trashing the streets of LA before the end of this film. That's because it's a remake of the original 1949 movie and he and every other monster has been invading cinemas ever since. Parents will find the material as fresh as a gorilla's armpit, but their nine-year-old may think it's all new.

Joe does his best to not hurt the people inside the cars he's tossing about, however it's obvious that the destruction (of which the consequences are never discussed) would involve some injuries. Joe's kindness, though, is put aside when he finds the poacher that murdered his mother, and tosses him onto an electrical grid. These scenes of brutal electrocution, destruction, and the opening murder, along with a smattering of terms of Deity used as expletives, may be bothersome to young viewers.

If your children watch the film, have them count the number of vehicles Joe destroys. This helps them to realize the exaggeration of events they often see in movies -- especially when a gorilla goes bananas on the streets of LA.

Mighty Joe Young is rated PG:

Studio: 1998 Walt Disney

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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