‘We Bought A Zoo’ – Review


I heard about this film a very long time ago and have been awaiting its release for years and it has finally been released in the UK. We Bought A Zoo is actually based on a true story, when Hollywood say the word ‘based’ they usually use the term very loosely but here it is actually pretty truthful. This is the second film released in the last couple of months that is actually from where I live, the true story of this film comes from the life of Benjamin Mee, who lives in Dartmoor, Devon, England (which they have altered to California, America in the film) and six months after the death of his wife he decides to buy a zoo with his two children, the film follows his attempts to make the zoo a place where the local community can come and visit. Not only do I live near this zoo I have actually been there and I have also met Benjamin Mee, a couple of years ago he made a speech at my school and that was when I first heard of the movie and since then I have wanted to see it, finally I have.

We Bought A Zoo is adapted from the book written by Benjamin Mee, the script is written by Devil Wears Prada’s Aline Brosh Mckenna. The script is to her usual standard, not phenomenal but alright nothing special at all. The dialogue is quite well written it is intelligent, adorable and amazingly charming.

Working off Aline Brosh McKenna’s script Damon delivers his usual brilliant performance, taking the lead role of Benjamin Mee. Damon’s performance is one of things that really carries this movie, he supplies some of the most emotional moments with some help from his amazing supporting cast. This film really shows Damon’s skills as an actor, he can go from action hero Jason Bourne to kindhearted zoo owner Benjamin Mee. Damon isn’t the only one that shines, Thomas Haden Church takes on the role of Benjamin’s cynical brother, which has been altered from being his mother. Church supplies the humour in this warm-hearted moving film, I couldn’t help but feel while watching that his role was a little needless and he was just their to contradict everything Benjamin was doing. Another person who I thinks really shines is Maggie Elizabeth Jones who stars as Rosie Mee, Benjamin’s youngest child, she makes from some really adorable moments in the movie but it does feel that the film plays on her cuteness a bit to much to make the audience like this film. This film really does have some great cast members but lets be honest there is no way in hell that any of us could believe that Scarlett Johansson is a zookeeper.

We Bought A Zoo is by no means perfect but those imperfections shouldn’t stop you from loving it. One of the imperfections of this film is the structure, the first half an hour of this film is pretty poor, with extremely bad attempts at humour and an extremely painful performance from the estate agent. It isn’t until they move into the zoo and meet their new neighbours the film really picks up and becomes the lighthearted yet saddening movie it is.

I really did love We Bought A Zoo, all of it’s flaws seem to wilt away by the end of the movie and you begin to fall in love with it cuteness. Not everyone will love this movie, some may think it is cheesy but others will love it as I did. I thought this film was both cute and moving at the same time, there was one scene of an abrupt argument that nearly had me and many others in tears. We Bought A Zoo isn’t really a family movie, it’s family friendly but it isn’t just a cute animal movie that kids will love, the adults will end up enjoying it more than their children.

8/10

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