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We Bought A Zoo review

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When it comes to Zoo movies, audiences are used to being presented with a number of animal hijinks with a bunch of zany staff, and 99% of the time it’s a comedy. Come to think of it, Zoo’s are never really the primary focus in any movie, normally they’re secondary and only feature for a brief period…of hijinks. Well, We Bought A Zoo from Cameron Crowe (incidentally based on a true story), will give you something very different. And more importantly, it will give you something very different, that’s got alot of heart.

A husband loses his wife and is left with his 2 kids. In the ongoing struggle to come to terms with the death of his soulmate, and trying to rear his family Benjamin Mee figures the best thing he could do is have a fresh start. So, he buys a nice house with some rolling hills, that also has a pretty big ass Zoo attached to it. The terms of the sale ensure Benjamin cannot relocate the animals and he decides to give it a go. Not only does he have a wide variety of animals, from a bear to peacocks, to deal with, he also has a bunch of hard working zoo staff. With an inspection looming that could well close the place down, Mee and co get to work on getting the Zoo back on top.We Bought A Zoo

Matt Damon looks quite mature here, probably one of his more mature roles to date. Maybe it’s the hair, but he certainly looks convincing. Besides the “look” he also brings a sincere and honest performance to the screen. And while he doesn’t break much of a sweat for much of the movie, they’re are times when he is simply brilliant and incredibly heartfelt. You cannot fail but to like the guy. The supporting cast including Elle Fanning are all entirely likeable and do a decent job. Special mention goes to Scarlett Johannson who not only conveys passion, but again like Damon, brings alot of heart to the big screen.

We Bought A Zoo is primarily about a man coming to terms with the loss of his wife and the ensuing struggle to raise their children. The word acceptance comes to mind, and this is presented in more ways than one, which is a very nice touch. While animal hijinks are thin on the ground, the animals themselves including the Lion and Bear are also incredibly likeable and ooze a great personality. That said, for a Zoo, the animals seem a little bit sparse and it seems like the production had Zebras one day, the bear the next and so on. While it’s not a major flaw in any sense, the animals seem a little scattered and it doesn’t entirely convince you that this is a wildlife park bursting at the seams with Tigers, Zebras, Monkeys, Peacocks and so on.

Cameron Crowe knows how to tug on the heart strings. For anybody with a family it invigorates that thought of losing somebody so close and dear to you, and makes you feel lucky you have what you have. And while you want exactly be sniffling your way from start to finish, when Crowe does get you, he gets you good. And this is a movie that does get you. It’s quite an easy watch, not too complex and everything you should get, you get. Whether or not it’s fair to call this a “nice movie” is up to you. But it is a nice movie. At times it’s beautiful and it’s subplots of family and young love run quite well. We Bought A Zoo is a welcome relief from superheroes and gigantic robots. It wears it’s heart on its sleeve and it incredibly watchable. Check it out!

4-stars_thumb[1]

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The Movie Bit: We Bought A Zoo review
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