We Bought a Zoo

0
0
Subscribe to Matt Damon alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd December 2011

Box Office USA: $75.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $120.1M

Budget: $9.5M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Dune Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, LBI Entertainment, Vinyl Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 101 Rotten: 52

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Julie Yorn

Starring: Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee, Scarlett Johansson as Kelly Foster, Thomas Haden Church as Duncan Mee, Colin Ford as Dylan Mee, Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Rosie Mee, Angus Macfadyen as Peter MacCready, Elle Fanning as Lily Miska, Patrick Fugit as Robin Jones, John Michael Higgins as Walter Ferris, Stephanie Szostak as Katherine Mee, Carla Gallo as Rhonda, Desi Lydic as Shea Seger

We Bought a Zoo Movie Review


There's a terrific story inside this well-made but bloated movie, as if director-cowriter Crowe simply couldn't figure out which elements he most cared about, so he included everything. It's engaging enough to keep us watching, but never finds any real focus.

After his wife dies, Benjamin (Damon) is struggling to keep his kids - 14-year-old Dylan (Ford) and 7-year-old Rosie(Jones) - happy, mainly because he has lost the daredevil storyteller within himself. So against the advice of his goofy-but-sensible brother (Church), Benjamin buys a run-down zoo and moves there with his children to get it up and running again. Zookeeper Kelly (Johansson) and her team (including Macfadyen and Fugit) don't think he'll stick it out. And indeed, it's more of a challenge than he ever imagined.

The narrative tries to work on a variety of layers, but each one is so predictable it's impossible to develop any interest in what might happen. Kelly is clearly interested in Benjamin, and her 13-year-old cousin (Fanning) is likewise attracted to Dylan, so we have two mini-romances bubbling along.

There's a snooty inspector (the scene-stealing Higgins) who has a personal vendetta against this particular zoo. The lion's looking restless, the star tiger is dying and the bear is trying to escape. The weather doesn't even cooperate.

The problem is that, while all of this might be part of the true story the film's based on, it's assembled in the blandest way imaginable. There's no central thrust, as we just watch the characters and animals swirl around in a flurry of smiley cuteness. Even the killer animals don't seem to have real teeth. Although at least there's the odd moment of honesty along the way. And the actors are engaging, adorable or funny as required, but only Johansson has any bite.

In the end, Crowe tries to make the film about something altogether different, as he begins to wallow increasingly in a sentimentalised exploration of the grief Benjamin and his children are trying to adjust to. But since this is never explored with any real depth, the film begins to feel glib and overwrought, missing the point mainly because Crowe couldn't settle on just one point.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Matt Damon alerts

Comments

We Bought a Zoo Rating

" OK "

Advertisement

More Matt Damon

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Advertisement

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...

Advertisement