Monday, May 7, 2012

We Bought a Zoo!

DVD Cat. # 2275169
Family Drama/Comedy
$26.99 US

As a writer who specializes in adventure, Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon) has pretty much been there, done that, and gotten the T-Shirt from just about every venue imaginable. When his wife passes away after an illness (we are led to believe that it might have been cancer), Benjamin mentally “checks out” from life. The loss is keenly felt by his son (Colin Ford) and daughter (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). Ben quits his job, his son gets expelled from school, and the scene is set for the most improbable adventure of all . . . life.

Benjamin leaves everything behind and winds up purchasing a new house with an interesting stipulation: he must also take on the administration and upkeep of the zoo that is located on the property! Throw in a skeleton crew of loyal staff, a runaway bear, an aging tiger, and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at, and you have the makings of the ultimate adventure. Is Benjamin up to the challenge? Or has the adventure specialist finally met his match?

Touted by Lou Lumenick as “a delightful surprise of a family movie,” I would have to cautiously agree. There are some issues with language, which can be dealt with by selecting the Family-Friendly Audio Track (in English only). There are a couple of kissing scenes, but there are no hot and heavy groping sessions at all. There is a sort of clubhouse where the staff meets to unwind, so alcohol and tobacco are prevalent as well.

Other special features of the DVD include: Audio in Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish, and French languages as well as Descriptive Audio and a Commentary with Director Cameron Crowe, Actor J.B. Smoove, and Editor Mark Livelsi; and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and in Spanish.

WE BOUGHT A ZOO is loosely based upon the real-life story of the Dartmoor Zoological Park located in Dartmoor, Deveon, England, which was forced to close in 2006, and reopened under the Mee family in 2007. The film was nominated for Best Live Action Family Film by the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, and for Best Original Song by the Satellite Awards. Not only did Cameron Crowe direct the film, he was the lyricist for the song in question.

Throughout the film, the viewer will be bombarded with the positive message, “Bad things happen. You just keep going.” Benjamin Mee and his family continue to do so, despite an evil Zoo inspector, a traitor in their midst, and a financial mess that would keep Bill Gates up at night. I would give this film 5 out of 5 stars, keeping in mind the issues mentioned above. And don’t forget to check out their website –

1 comment:

Michelle Broeker said...

I've been wondering if this would be a good family movie. thanks for the review!