We Bought a Zoo is movie that is full of charm and emotion.
'We Bought a Zoo' is a comedy drama film that is based on the written memoirs of, recently widowed father to two, Benjamin Mee, portrayed in this film with strong conviction by Matt Damon. Having been recently widowed and contending with the different effects the death has had on his children, Benjamin believes his best opportunity is a fresh start away from the past that so rightly hurts his family. Having come across a run down zoo for sale, Benjamin decides to take on the property and renovate it in time for the arrival of the summer season where he can rake in the admission fee and gain profit. Along the way he meets an interesting assortment of zoo staff including head keeper Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson) and realizes that in helping his kids he must first learn to understand them. As story-lines go, this film holds one that is relatively easy going to watch, with the only added drama being the decision of the lives of the older animals and the pressure that zoo inspector Walter Ferris (John Michael Higgins) brings to the reopening plan they have decided upon.
Based on the written memoirs of the main character, which can be brought in many different bookstores, 'We Bought a Zoo' has certain differences to the source material. The main difference being that instead of setting the feature in Dartmoor, where the actual store took place, the movie is based in America; a decision that could only have been made in thought of travelling expenses for the A -list stars they had cast. Although this move will not effect many people, some people will find it untrue to the life events and such will see it as a slight disappointment.
Matt Damon, who was always the directors first choice for the role, portrays Benjamin Mee is a way that perfectly balances emotion with ambitious plans. Having this character played in such a way that roots him perfectly in the films narrative means not only is he believable but he is able to carry the narrative along perfectly. Scarlett Johansson is also very believable in the role that she was cast. Throughout the films narrative her opinions contrast with that of Benjamin's, in regards the animals and other elements of the films plot. Casting the two actors mean that this is achieved effectively and by the end of the films duration the chemistry has grown together between the two characters, meaning that it comes across more believable. Thomas Haden Church, as older brother Duncan, serves as the films common sense in regards to the direction of Benjamin. This common sense also puts conflict into the films narrative, which in turn causes the film to become more engrossing. Having someone that acts in a highly confident manner in this role means that what the character does is handled strongly.
This film is also cast strongly in the children's acting roles; Colin Ford, Elle Fanning and Maggie Elizabeth Jones handled their screen time with great confidence despite their ages. Working not only with the adult actors, but with each other means that most of the heavyweight emotional segments are performed by them.
This film is directed by Cameron Crowe, a director who has reached acclaim for many of his earlier films, such as Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky and Elizabethtown. As such he is a director that has got lots of confidence in his film-making style. As such this film carries the same experience and is directed in a way that showcases the narrative in the most effective manner.
We Bought a Zoo is a film that can be enjoyed by many different audience types. Outlining a good human story, this film is extremely easy to watch. Through strong acting from all the cast the narrative is easily portrayed, this is down a lot to the directors vision and experience. Though there is plenty within this tile if all else fails, there is still a plot involving an assortment of animals that will keep you entertained.