Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cinema Saturday

We Bought a Zoo
Matt Damon, Scarlettt Johansson
20th Century Fox
April 3, 2012
PG; 124 minutes
IMDb; DVD/BluRay; Amazon Instant Video

Adapted from Benjamin Mee's memoir of the same name (my review), the Cameron Crowe film We Bought a Zoo is about a father (Matt Damon) who moves his two children to a zoo that has been shut down - with plans to re-open it.

Mee (the movie version) writes - or wrote - adventure columns but is struggling with raising his two children, fourteen-year-old Dylan (Colin Ford, young/wee Sam from "Supernatural") and seven-year-old Rosie (the crazily adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones) six months after his wife died.

After several things happen almost at once, Mee finds himself looking for someplace new. Nowhere seems right . . . until he finds the perfect house.

Only it's attached to a rundown, shut-down for several years zoo.

Mee, his children, and the staff that have stuck around definitely have their work cut out for them if they're going to get the zoo back up and running again. Not just because he knows nothing about running a zoo, either.

This is one case where I almost wish I'd read the book after seeing the movie. The movie approaches things quite differently, focusing more on more of the characters (whereas Mee's memoir was, obviously, told from his perspective and lacked the outside views we got in the film).

I did have the book's story and the movie's story line competing in my head a bit (having read and reviewed the book so close to seeing the film). There wouldn't be anything 'spoilery' about reading the book after seeing the movie (meaning yes, you would know the ending but you would know that just by reading the book jacket). If anything, the book would add to what readers/viewers know of the story - it has great facts/anecdotes about the family and the zoo.

The film  does a brilliant job with family, family dynamics and grief. The way the zoo and the animals mirror it, too at time, is beautiful - sad though. The actors worked great as a family - especially one in such a different situation. The zoo workers fit in great and it was easy to believe they were all people who really cared about both the animals and the zoo. And the family and the zoo workers (and the zoo) were a great fit together.

This is a fun, fun film that I know I'll watch again (for sure after I don't have the whole book as in my mind).

Only thing to note is that there's a line about the Easter Bunny that might make this not a perfect film to watch with little kids this weekend ;)

Thanks to Fox & Think Jam for the movie!

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