Movie Review : "We Bought a Zoo"

I went into this film wanting to love it, and left feeling inspired, moved, and definitely loved it. This movie is based on a true story where Matt Damon plays as Benjamin Mee, a writer & recent widower after losing his wife to cancer.  He is a father of two, a son Dylan (Colin Ford) and a daughter Rosie played by the irresistible Maggie Elizabeth Jones.

The Story:

Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) has lost his wife and is seeking a better life for his two kids and himself.  After his son is expelled from school, Damon finally gets serious and looks to relocate.

What he finds is an unusual situation. An old house, with lots of property, 9 miles from the nearest Target.  The only catch:  It is a Zoo.   Not just a backyard Zoo either, a fully functioning  Zoo with employees, exotic animals, and all the headaches, and financial problems, that come with it.

So with his brother’s rule of 20 seconds of insanity…he buys the house and the Zoo…employees and all.   Their first task is to get the Zoo ready for an inspection so they can open by the summer.

The most beautiful woman in the world, Scarlett Johansson, is the zookeeper.  She works constantly and has zero social life.  You kinda know what happens….

The supporting cast of Thomas Duncan Mee (Haden Church), Dylan Mee (Colin Ford), the expressive Rosie Mee (Maggi Elizabeth Jones), the best actress in the Fanning family, Lily Miska (Elle Fanning) are all wonderful.

About the Movie:

"We Bought A Zoo" is a charming, funny, and seriously fantastic film that deserves at least some award consideration. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go give my dog a great big bear hug. Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, this IS one of those movies. 

The Characters:

Everyone in this movie is at their A-game here.

Matt Damon plays the father figure of this film very well, knowing when to bring in harmless comedy and when to really be ticked off at his 14 year old son, played by the equally great young actor Colin Ford. The chemistry of the father and son stings of electric friction throughout the movie, but luckily brings it down to a mellow sunset towards the final 25 minutes.

Scarlett Johansson I would say is the least intriguing of the all-star cast, but she is still a very good love interest to Damon. The best actors/actresses of the film all come from the surprisingly stellar supporting cast.

Thomas Haden Church is simply hilariously awesome as Damon's divorced brother. Church is the true comedic relief in this movie, with almost every single bit of dialogue shed by him resulted in my screening's audience bursting into laughter.

A personal favorite character of the movie is Matt Damon's daughter, played by the sweet, charming, and hilarious newcomer Maggie Elizabeth Jones. She has some of the best lines in the entire flick, as well as the clichéd job of saying the film's title about two times. (Damon says it in the second to last scene) Elle Fanning is great as always playing Lily, the love interest of Colin Ford. Fanning brings a sweet girl-next-door type of character whose innocence really gives off a charm to the story.

John Michael Higgins is a great and very funny villain as the snooty inspector that has no faith in the zoo at all. Everyone else in the film, while their parts are small, all add something special to this wonderful movie.

My Take:

"We Bought A Zoo" is a great film for families and teens alike. There is sweet-as-corn comedy, heavy/believable drama, and a charm that pulls you in by the end of the first hour.  Everything about this film makes you feel warm inside, yet also makes you teary eyed during some of the dramatic moments. Truthfully – this is a movie that will warm your heart and have you leaving the theater with a big ol’ smile on your face, and those happy tears in the corner of your eyes. You know guys what I mean.

This movie was fantastic. I loved everything about it. Matt Damon played an amazing father and I was in love with the little girl who played his daughter. This movie, was emotional, but also had it's hilarious parts. I suggest going to see it, cute family movie!

"We Bought A Zoo" opens January 18 in Philippine theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Rating : 7/10