Twelve years ago an evil hunter kills the mothers of Joe, a baby gorilla, and Jill, a little girl. Since then the two orphans have grown up together in the jungle, with Jill (Charlize Theron) protecting Joe from the outside world. Conservationist, Greg O'Hara (Bill Paxton) persuades Jill to allow him to bring the gorilla to America for safe keeping.
The original Mighty Joe Young was made as a kind of child-friendly version of King Kong. The new film, directed by Ron Underwood, contains a rather muddled conservation message. In darkest Africa (filmed in Hawaii, actually), the mothers of Joe, a baby gorilla, and Jill, a little girl, are killed by evil hunter Strasser, Rade Sherbedgia. 12 years later girl and gorilla have grown up together and Joe has become very big indeed. Jill, Charlize Theron, protects him from the encroaching outside world but agrees to allow conservationist Gregg O`Hara, Bill Paxton, to transport him to California. How they actually take him to California is not revealed... While enjoying a few cheap jokes at the expense of bumbling conservationists, the film is mainly concerned with exciting an audience of youngsters without scaring them. Joe, another wonderful Rick Baker creation, has the most limpid brown eyes, and he`s really very cuddly, even when he starts smashing up downtown Hollywood. Charlize Theron and Rade Sherbedgia both deserve better material than this.Margaret`s Comments: This is pretty much wholesome family fare, with terrific special effects and I really find the two leads... well the three leads actually... quite charming despite the fact that Joe is mostly part of the terrific special effects - Charlize Theron who made such a terrific impression in The Devil`s Advocate, and nice guy Bill Paxton. It`s a pity about Rade Sherbedgia having to change the spelling of his name so that the Americans could pronounce it, and it`s a pity he`s such a stereotyped baddie. But director Ron Underwood has given this rather simplistic story a sense of fun and heart and real excitement. It`s quite good fun without being a world-beater