We Bought a Zoo Review

“You Know What? I'm Gonna Buy A Zoo One Day. Why Not?”

January 10th, 2012

We Bought a Zoo is a 2011 family comedy drama.

Directed by: Cameron Crow.

Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Marry Elizabeth Jones, Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Colin Ford, Elle Fanning, Angus Macfadyen and Peter Riegert.

Based on the memoirs of Benjamin Mee, a man buys a Zoo to make a fresh start with his young daughter and teenage son after the passing of his wife.

We have a one point seen or heard of a widower wanting to move to a new place with the family to make a new start while the wounds heal. But how often does a widower buy a zoo for a fresh start? It could sound all ridiculous at first, but in the end, I might consider it myself just to be around natures beautiful creatures. We Bought a Zoo is the feel good movie of 2011. We follow Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) as he learns the challenges of healing from a heavy loss, with the challenges of maintaining and owning a Zoo. While it does very well in showing the drama and comedy, it shows us a different light when coping with death; a mirror image of The Descendants but without the stupid teenage drama queen and the F-Bombs.

Here's how I saw it. Unable to save one important person in his life, Benjamin Mee sees the survival of the zoo as a second chance at being able to do something he couldn't before. He spends large amounts of money without really agonizing about it to get the park in better shape. The kicker comes down to one of the zoo's beloved animals, Spar. He too is ill and unable to willingly take his meds. It is recommended to put him down to ease his pain, but Benjamin Mee won't tolerate it. Shows that you can't save everyone, but it also shows the rage deep inside that you really can't save everyone. You want to move away from the pain but you find another similar and another loss can't come to pass.

There is also a lesson how technology has compressed the new generation. When the last time you seen a kid willingly go outside without being told to? We see an experience at learning life through amazing animals that only computers and video games imitate. Makes you want to go on a camping trip to get away from it all.

In part by its comedy, we have a wonderful little girl that goes by the name of Rosie Mee (Marry Elizabeth Jones) that inserts little quirks and smiles and all the fuzzy wuzzy goodness that a little girl is capable of projecting. Amazing how such a small person can carry the weight of bringing smiles and laughter to a big audience. We also have the lovely Scar Jo playing Kelly Foster who's relationship with Benjamin, as far as the movie goes, has many possibilities, but as friends before their romance, it was a great pair. The look and feel of the movie was heart warming. Cameron Crow takes beautiful shots of all the zoo's creatures, and displays the environment lushly with fresh greens and clear blue skies.

In the end, we get a look at how a family deals with death, how the bond between father and son finally catches on, and a story about a man and his wife forms this adventure with many possibilities. Overall, if you feel down, bored, and in need of a good laugh with a smile on your face afterwards, go out while you still can, and catch We Bought a Zoo. You will not regret it.

Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.


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  • thedude-abides • 4 years ago

    @dan1 True. Nothing wrong with that.


    • dan1 • 4 years ago

      @thedude-abides Guilty as charged, but so what? :P

      Whether she's in it or not, it sounds like a solid movie regardless. Her presence is icing that I'll happily take.


      • thedude-abides • 4 years ago

        Whatever, @dan1. We all know Scarjo's the real reason you're interested in this :P

        @bawnian-dexeus That little girl reminds me of the Apatow baby in Knocked Up/Funny People. Anyway, I agree with Dan about your connection between younger generations and technology. That was a nice point. You're reviews are getting stronger with each passing one. This was a well-structured and well-worded review. Nice job, man. Looking forward to seeing this one.


        • dan1 • 4 years ago

          Great stuff @bawnian-dexeus. Your review has convinced me that I need to watch this. It could end up as one of my Zen movies from the sounds of it. Excellent point about the disconnect with these younger generations and nature, that was easily the most insightful part of the review.


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