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We Bought a Zoo (Blu-ray Review)

30 Mar, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 4/3/12
Box Office $75.11 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for language and some thematic elements.
Stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church.

Based on a true story, We Bought a Zoo paints a colorful picture of widower Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) and his children, Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and Dylan (Colin Ford), who are in need of a change of scenery following the death of their matriarch, Katherine (Stephanie Szostak). But no one expected that they’d end up relocating to the grounds of a defunct zoo.

Benjamin, a Southern California newspaper columnist, is no stranger to adventure. However, he’s in for a whole new journey as he jumps straight into zoo ownership with no experience. Thankfully, the zookeeper, Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson), is there to lend a helping hand, along with her cutesy cousin, Lily (Elle Fanning), and wacky staff members (Angus Macfadyen and Patrick Fugit).

For the sweet-as-pie Rosie, her dad’s buying a zoo presents the best life ever, which she spends learning about the animals and giving names to the peacocks. But for Dylan, it’s a nightmare being away from his friends while dealing with his dad’s criticisms and the strain of missing his mother.

What I appreciated most about We Bought a Zoo is that it focuses on the family man’s resilience. He keeps pressing forward amid the challenging situations and strives to continue a happy lifestyle that his family once had.

Always adding pizzazz to whichever part he plays is comedian J.B. Smoove, who plays the real estate agent who apprehensively introduces the Mees to the zoo. Hearing his random thoughts and quips likewise makes the commentary with director Cameron Crowe and editor Mark Livolsi enjoyable.

The “We Shot a Zoo” featurette gives more detail about the trainers and the animals that helped make the film so lively, including the Capuchin monkey, lions, tigers, bears, ostriches, zebras and such. It’s definitely worthwhile if you’re an animal lover.

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