We Bought a Zoo [DVD]
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Matt Damon stars in this feelgood family feature based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee. Newly widowed Benjamin (Damon) is finding life difficult trying to raise his two young children. Urged on by his father, Duncan (Thomas Haden Church), to start over, Benjamin decides to purchase a rundown zoo in the countryside in the hope that it will bring his family together again. Having to care for 47 species, and with his friends thinking he's mad, Benjamin sets out to restore the zoo to its former glory with the help of a small but loyal staff led by Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson).
Though adapted from a memoir by a British journalist, We Bought a Zoo feels entirely like a Cameron Crowe film, with clear parallels to previous crowd-pleasers like Jerry Maguire. Crowe introduces Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon in a role that recalls his Contagion character) six months after the death of his wife. Since everything reminds him of her, the California columnist decides to make a change, starting with a new location. His realtor (Curb Your Enthusiasm's J.B. Smoove), brother (Sideways' Thomas Haden Church), and sullen teenage son (Colin Ford) try to talk him out of it, but Mee falls in love with a country manor that comes with a strange stipulation: the tenant must manage the zoo that accompanies the property. With his daughter's blessing, Mee takes the plunge. Fortunately, he inherits an experienced staff, including MacCready (Angus MacFadyen), Robin (Patrick Fugit), Lily (Elle Fanning), and Kelly (Scarlett Johansson, lovely as ever in her least glamorous role to date). Mee's road to reinvention offers few surprises, but Damon makes him a sympathetic figure who finds the same kind of support system among the park personnel that Fugit's Almost Famous writer found in the rock world, except Mee's relationships have more staying power. If his detractors--a skeptical employee and an unctuous inspector--feel like screenwriter constructs, Zoo represents a return to form for Crowe after a series of missteps, including Elizabethtown. Better yet, the real-life park that Mee acquired continues to lead by example as a humane habitat for endangered species. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Based on a true story, this film recounts the experiences of the Mee family as they struggle to come to terms with life, death, loss and discovery, while trying to breathe new life into a run down zoo at risk of closure by the local authorities. We Bought a Zoo (DVD + Digital Copy) is a heartwarming comedy with many hilarious scenes. Although not listed in the cast credits on the film's website, Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones who play Benjamin Mee's children are also worth mentioning for their fine acting - Maggie Elizabeth, who played Rosie, for instance, was adorable; by the end of the movie, I wanted to adopt her!
For anyone who loves feel-good, uplifting movies this is a must own.
The picture and sound quality are superb and the disc is region free. There are also quite a few extras, including a very interesting featurette on the real family and their zoo in Dartmoor.
Colin Ford, who plays the troubled son, was absolutely fantastic in his role. Sympathetic and real, he really brought his character to life with his convincing acting. And so did Matt Damon. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Matt Damon, but I must admit that he really fit into this role perfectly. You could tell that he enjoyed himself and that definitely elevated his performance. Scarlett Johansson surprised me. To be honest, I did not think of Johansson when picturing Kelly Foster while reading the book. I imagined someone taller, tougher and more obviously kick-ars. And yet when I saw Johansson on the screen I knew she was the one! She wasn't her usual girly self, she appeared stronger and fiercer than ever, and I really loved that about her. She turned out to be the perfect girl for the role.
It's not very often that I prefer the movie adaptation over the book its based on, but that's exactly what happened with We Bought a Zoo. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I loved the movie even more. Maybe it's thanks to the fabulous cast and their expressiveness, maybe I loved the animals, or the soundtrack and the uplifting atmosphere it created. Or maybe it's a little bit of everything and how it all came together, exploring the complexity of life, family relationships, grief and love. I don't know. All I know is that I really loved this movie. It moved me. I feel that I learned something important while watching it. It was a magical and enriching experience and I'll definitely recommend watching We Bought A Zoo to all my friends.
This is well worth picking up and is one of those films you will watch over and over again. This is my favourite DVD of the year so far xXx
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a lovely heartwarming story of loss and new beginnings. Matt Damon is great ,Scarlett Johansson beautiful and the little daughter totally adoptable! Read morePublished 4 days ago by bluenit25
A heart felt movie. You laugh but cry too. A must see film for any animal loverPublished 27 days ago by laura
I've seen this before but it hasn't lost its appeal, not as good as the bbc tv series "our zoo" but still enjoyable non the less.Published 1 month ago by Cj
It's a great film for all the family to enjoy but like so many others changes were made to the real story in the bookPublished 2 months ago by Molly143