Mighty Joe Young (1949/1998)

D: Ernest Schoedsack
RKO (Merian C. Cooper)
US 1949
94 mins
W: Ruth Rose
DP: J. Roy Hunt
Ed: Ted Cheesman
Mus: Roy Webb
Terry Moore (Jill Young), Ben Johnson (Gregg), Robert Armstrong (Max O'Hara), Frank McHugh (Windy), Douglas Fowley (Jones)
It's King Kong with a smaller ape wrecking havoc in the name of fantasy and adventure.
The stop motion special effects are very impressive considering the age of the film but it's nothing more than a blatant cash-in on the success of 1933's bigger, better monkey movie.

Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young

D: Ron Underwood
Buena Vista/Disney/RKO (Ted Hartley & Tom Jacobson)
US 1998
114 mins


W: Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner [based on the screenplay by Ruth Rose]
DP: Don Peterman & Oliver Wood
Ed: Paul Hirsch
Mus: James Horner
PD: Michael Corenblith

Charlize Theron (Jill Young), Bill Paxton (Gregg O'Hara), Rade Sherbedgia (Andre Strasser), Peter Firth (Garth), David Paymer (Harry Ruben), Regina King (Cicely Banks)

Though it's far from perfect, this is an example of a remake which is superior to the original film, which was nothing more than a cash-in on the success of King Kong. 
The special effects in the original were a technological milestone at the time, but like the original Kong, don't look special now following the dawn of optical effects, CGI and bigger budgets allowing for other advancements.
The story between the two films is vastly different, with the remake taking on a more ecologically-minded edge, culminating in an action-packed ending with some great visual effects.
Neither film can be classed as a masterpiece, but the remake is the easier version to watch, although the scene in which Charlize Theron sings to the giant ape in Swahili (??) really should've been left on the cutting room floor.

Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young