Mighty Joe Young

Bomb Rating: 

"Hey boss! That's one really big ape,and those are really small fences. What are the chances he gets out and wreaks semi-comic havoc across the city?"

I no longer watch movies like "Mighty Joe Young" so much as I scan eachframe for signs that Mighty Joe or any other animals are but clever computer effects. However, there are several scenes in which Jill (Charlize Theron) is hugging Joe, so in addition to using computers, Disney obviously paid some highly skilled experts named "Cletus" five bucks an hour to manipulate a huge animatronic ape.

This film is just a slight variation on "King Kong." The ape is smaller. Jill has grown up with Joe from infancy, because both of their mothers were killed by poachers. Coincidentally, a zoologist, Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton), shows up at the exact moment that Jill's breasts have reached maximum heaving stage, and invites Jill and Joe to California so Joe can live in a preserve. This move is necessitated by the sudden explosion of poaching in the area, inadvertently sparked by Mighty Dumb Gregg himself, who hired a whole passel of them to help him find Joe in the first place.

Even though they have a 15-foot, 2000-pound ape to contain, the geniuses at the California animal conservancy put Joe in a habitat that has fences that are about five feet high and constructed entirely of Foamy brand shaving cream. Given that the animal conservancy is a corporate environment like any other, naturally no one risks drug-testing and termination by actually stepping forward and saying, "Hey boss! That's one really big ape, and those are really small fences. What are the chances he gets out and wreaks semi-comic havoc across the city?"

Joe does indeed break out when he sees the same poacher (Rade Sherbedgia) who killed his mother. The poacher wants to cut Joe up into pieces and sell him, because bloody ape chunks apparently bring in more money than a whole ape. They actually discuss selling his organs. I suppose the idea of cutting up Mighty Joe Young is intended to horrify, but I ended up wondering who, besides Michael Jackson, might be in the market for the lukewarm liver of a two-thousand pound ape.

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