Sunday, May 20, 2012

We Bought a Zoo II: Movie Review

Trying to figure out whether to read the book or watch the movie first? Have you already seen the movie or read the book and are now wondering about its counterpart?

Well, I've got you covered, my friend. Here is the short version:
Benjamin Mee was a writer for "Do It Yourself" (DIY) articles and similar projects. Well into his adult life, he broke the mold and embarked on what many would find to be a crazy adventure that potentially put his family at risk - He moved away and quite literally threw all his chips in to purchase a home and a broken down zoo on the same property. This is a TRUE story, but of course some elements are changed in the interest of the film's creative license.
Let me answer the most likely questions (don't want to give away too much!) and then I'll toss in my personal opinion just for fun.

1. Is this a family friendly movie? Yep, no worries there.
2. What about just grownups?
Here's a little anecdote you mind find helpful when choosing how much this movie is worth your time: My husband is a firefighter/paramedic, and therefore never gets enough sleep. I purchased the movie without seeing it in the theaters, and we both expected him to sleep through it. Not only did he stay up to watch the entire film, he really enjoyed it!
3. Does the film stay true to the book? Close. A few things that are important to the book were changed, but just relax and you will find both versions of the story entertaining and maybe even inspirational.
4. I work/worked at a zoo, will I still like this? Yes. I have worked at a couple of zoos and have been involved in animal husbandry of some kind for over 10 years (and I don't mean caring for my cat). There are things we probably don't consider particularly responsible, but in both the book and film the well being of all animals is not only implied, but a vital piece in the development of the writer/character.

My Opinion: Pretty awesome on both accounts.
I am not a big Scarlett Johansson fan, and certainly did not think she could convince me of the conviction and care needed for this role, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. Matt Damon just rocks, that's the truth. The greatest moment of irony: the little girl mentions Damon still has his hair, and the author Ben Mee is basically bald. This is a great example of the humor exhibited by the author in his book and the tone of the entire film.
So feel free to read it/watch it.  Enjoy it with your kids, spouse, or just take a moment to watch a fun picture that won't leave you depressed. You deserve it! Then, go a visit a REAL zoo!


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