Buena Vista Pictures | Release Date: December 25, 1998 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Mixed or average reviews based on 20 Critics
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Social concerns aside, Mighty Joe Young is a Disney film at heart, and director Ron Underwood keeps the emphasis on crisp action sequences, setting up a thrilling chase down Hollywood Boulevard and a finish at the park that is almost guaranteed to turn eyes misty. [25 Dec 1998, p.11G]
Karmic influences or not, the new "Mighty Joe Young" works. This is one remake that isn't trying to make us forget the original, but seems rather to embrace it and bring it into the present in solidly crafted, family-friendly fashion. [25 Dec 1998, p.C9]
The real love story in Mighty Joe Young, however, is the one between lumbering, big-hearted Joe and his feisty blond protector, and that's a romance to which audiences of all ages will happily respond. [2 Jan 1999]
Disney's remake of Mighty Joe Young has little to recommend except more realistic special effects than the 1949 original and a handful of kid-sized thrills. The movie feels designed only to pass some time in a theater, without much attention to anything except building the perfect cuddly beast. [25 Dec 1998, p.8]
Mighty Joe Young is based on the 1949 film of the same name, and it's nominally more aware of '90s concerns: destruction of the gorillas' habitats, illegal hunting, trade in animal body parts. On the other hand, it's no more enlightened about the intrinsic value of these clever, emotionally complex creatures. [25 Dec 1998, p.13E]
Mighty Joe Young is a movie only an 8-year-old could love. How cheesy is it? Well, it leaves the ooze of Velveeta in its wake. [25 Dec 1998, p.4]
Disney is creatively bankrupt and bereft of ingenuity -- especially in its live-action films. [25 Dec 1998, p.8F]