17/09/2019

We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo

18bde Wheres My Droid 51a3hkHpE9L. SL160  We Bought a Zoo

Oscarr Winner Matt Damon gives a heartfelt performance in this “delightful surprise” (Lou Lumenick, New York Post) that’s based on a true story. When his teenage son gets into trouble, Benjamin Mee (Damon) gives up a lucrative newspaper job to move his family to the most unlikely of places: a zoo! With help from an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, Benjamin embarks on a fresh beginning to restore the dilapidated zoo to its former glory, while uniting his family. From the director of Jerry Maguire, We Bought a Zoo is a “wonderful, warm and witty” (Bill Bregoli, CBS Radio News) celebration of the human spirit.Though adapted from a memoir by a British journalist, We Bought a Zoo feels entirely like a Cameron Crowe film, with clear parallels to previous crowd-pleasers like Jerry Maguire. Crowe introduces Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon in a role that recalls his Contagion character) six months after the death of his wife. Since everything reminds him of her, the California columnist decides to make a change, starting with a new location. His realtor (Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s J.B. Smoove), brother (Sideways‘ Thomas Haden Church), and sullen teenage son (Colin Ford) try to talk him out of it, but Mee falls in love with a country manor that comes with a strange stipulation: the tenant must manage the zoo that accompanies the property. With his daughter’s blessing, Mee takes the plunge. Fortunately, he inherits an experienced staff, including MacCready (Angus MacFadyen), Robin (Patrick Fugit), Lily (Elle Fanning), and Kelly (Scarlett Johansson, lovely as ever in her least glamorous role to date). Mee’s road to reinvention offers few surprises, but Damon makes him a sympathetic figure who finds the same kind of support system among the park personnel that Fugit’s Almost Famous writer found in the rock world, except Mee’s relationships have more staying power. If his detractors–a skeptical employee and an unctuous inspector–feel like screenwriter constructs, Zoo represents a return to form for Crowe after a series of missteps, including Elizabethtown. Better yet, the real-life park that Mee acquired continues to lead by example as a humane habitat for endangered species. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

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  1. H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" says:
    107 of 117 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    “Travel the stages of grief… but stop right before zebras get involved.”, December 25, 2011
    By 
    H. Bala “Me Too Can Read” (Just moved to posh Marina Del Rey, CA – where if you drop a quarter, why, you just keep on walking) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: We Bought a Zoo (DVD)

    Really, when are folks the most maudlin if not during the holiday season? When they’re most likely to forgive one’s abundance of sentimentality? WE BOUGHT A ZOO utilizes savvy product placement by coinciding its box office release with the month of December. Not that it mattered to me one bit when this film would’ve come out. Me, I’m a sucker for the sentimental stuff. The movie’s title doesn’t lie; you get the gist of the premise. Here’s Cameron Crowe again, manipulating your emotions, coaxing a laugh, making you tear up. He’s such a user.

    It’s based on a true story. Matt Damon, one of my favorite actors, plays journalist Benjamin Mee who nurses an adventurous streak. He has interviewed dangerous underworld figures in third world nations. He has flown into Category 4 storms. Benjamin profoundly believes that 20 seconds of insane courage can only alter your life for the better. But how much insane courage can one muster when the love of your life leaves you?

    Benjamin Mee can’t stand pity, even pity assignments at work. Six months after his wife’s passing, Benjamin quits his career and – when a neighbor’s party causes his seven-year-old girl Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) to remark: “Their happy’s too loud.” – he uproots the fam. Seeking a new residence, he and Rosie stumble upon what looks to be the ideal home in the country, even if it’s nine miles from a Target store or pretty much from any other store. Except that a broken-down zoo is attached to the house. Buy one, buy the other. Benjamin Mee has always strived to give his kids an “authentic American experience,” but his bump of common sense is interfering here. Ultimately, it’s little Rosie’s unbounded joy at the thought of having a zoo that decides things. Benjamin’s cautious accountant brother (Thomas Haden Church) is pretty much aghast.

    WE BOUGHT A ZOO isn’t as incisive or emotionally searing as THE DESCENDANTS, a similar picture dealing with a family’s grief. WE BOUGHT A ZOO, to be frank, won’t be nominated for as many awards as THE DESCENDANTS will. Except that I like this movie better. Sue me for prefering clear-cut happy endings. While Clooney’s dramedy tends to cut too close to home and no one in WE BOUGHT A ZOO comes close to Shailene Woodley’s fierce performance, Matt Damon and the rest of the cast guide you to more familiar territory. Their story has a warmth and an undeniable sweetness to it, brought about in huge part by the actors but also by Crowe’s knack for heartstring tugging. And, of course, the zoo animals.

    Benjamin Mee has his work cut out for him. The Rosemoor Wildlife Park has been dead in the water for the past two years, and just how strongly does he want to commit to operating a zoo, let alone resurrecting it to specs? The dreaded inspection is fast approaching. His idiosyncratic new employees – including the gorgeous zookeeper Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) – are casting dubious eyes at him. Benjamin’s troubled teen son, Dylan, hates the place, hates everything, really. He keeps on drawing those disturbing images. Benjamin and Dylan just can’t seem to connect.

    I admit that I choked up in places (damn you, Cameron Crowe!). Yes, this is a sappy film, and some bits feel contrived, but the cast, I feel, ultimately rises above it all. Matt Damon is a sturdy lead and he grounds the story, and I do like that spark between him and Scarlett Johannson. Elle Fanning, who is growing up fast, has a glow about her, sweetly playing the zookeeper’s younger sister, Lily, who approaches the tormented artist Dylan with open acceptance. And while there’s a chance that Crowe may have overplayed his hand by making Rosie’s input so invaluable in a key sequence – it’s pretty hard to believe that a seven-year-old could be so canny – there’s no arguing that Maggie Elizabeth Jones is just about the cutest thing on earth (sorry, tap-dancing penguins). So, I dunno, sir. WE BOUGHT A ZOO may not come across as emotionally blunt or “truthful” as THE DESCENDANTS. But this is Christmastime wherein edges are softened. There’s no place here for blunt truths.

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  2. Evie Seo (Bookish blog) "Evie" says:
    16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Heart-warming, charming and very enjoyable – perfect family movie!, April 1, 2012
    By 

    This review is from: We Bought a Zoo (DVD)

    Heart-warming, moving, funny, and beautifully acted – We Bought A Zoo is a very enjoyable family movie that will both lift your spirits with its graceful humor, and make you reflect on life and family related issues thanks to the profound message it carries. It’s a fantastic adaptation of Benjamin Mee’s memoir, and one of the most delightful movies I’ve seen in recent months.

    Colin Ford, who plays the troubled son, was absolutely fantastic in his role. Sympathetic and real, he really brought his character to life with his convincing acting. And so did Matt Damon. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Matt Damon, but I must admit that he really fit into this role perfectly. You could tell that he enjoyed himself and that definitely elevated his performance. Scarlett Johansson surprised me. To be honest, I did not think of Johansson when picturing Kelly Foster while reading the book. I imagined someone taller, tougher and more obviously kick-ars. And yet when I saw Johansson on the screen I knew she was the one! She wasn’t her usual girly self, she appeared stronger and fiercer than ever, and I really loved that about her. She turned out to be the perfect girl for the role.

    It’s not very often that I prefer the movie adaptation over the book its based on, but that’s exactly what happened with We Bought a Zoo. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I loved the movie even more. Maybe it’s thanks to the fabulous cast and their expressiveness, maybe I loved the animals, or the soundtrack and the uplifting atmosphere it created. Or maybe it’s a little bit of everything and how it all came together, exploring the complexity of life, family relationships, grief and love. I don’t know. All I know is that I really loved this movie. It moved me. I feel that I learned something important while watching it. It was a magical and enriching experience and I’ll definitely recommend watching We Bought A Zoo to all my friends.

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  3. Heather Lips says:
    22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    My family Loved This Movie!, April 6, 2012
    By 

    This review is from: We Bought a Zoo (DVD)

    This may have been last years only real movie. You’d never know that from the title because its far from a campy kids movie. Matt Damon has never been better, and Scarlet until now has never been a favorite. It’s not often that the entire family can enjoy a movie together. My 11 year old son said that he loved it so much that it’s tied for #1 with The Goonies, and that’s saying something coming from an 11 year old boy. The entire family agreed that laughing, and occasionally shedding a tear in the same movie is a good thing. I wish there were more movies like We Bought a Zoo. Actually, I just wish there were more Cameron Crowe movies.

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