We Bought a Zoo: Movie Review

"We Bought a Zoo" has a peculiar title that you usually don't see in Hollywood films (or in any film at all). It is weird yet catches your attention. It is straight-forward yet daring. Ironically, the film itself proves to be far-off from its namesake. The film presents a story that is all-too-familiar and a little too good to be true. A case where too many changes were done from the real thing for that Hollywood flair. Did we like it? Yes but we sure hoped that they put more "humanity" into it.

Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) and his two kids have yet to move on from his wife's untimely death. Everything in town reminds him off his wife and his son Duncan (Thomas Hayden Church) just got expelled from school for stealing and drawing disturbing imagery. To escape his past, Benjamin decides to quit his job and buy a house with a zoo far away from the city. He believes that this will help him and his family start a new life. But the move proves to be a handful as Benjamin must now save the almost abandoned zoo and must make sure that it is up and running by summer or else.

"We Bought a Zoo" is an inspirational film no doubt but it also lacks that human factor that is key in such films. Yes, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from here but it is also a film that feels a little off, a little too clean and a little too much fiction mixed in. For example, Matt Damon's character Benjamin Mee just quits his job in a whim because his editor took pity on his wife dying. Does he contemplate about his being a single parent, his financial status and his two kids? No, in fact it was a stroll in the park for him. The ending is another good example where people were too jolly even with a "roadblock" that if it happened in real life won't get the same reaction. It's these minor details that takes the human factor of "We Bought a Zoo" and just puts its effectiveness aback. Another thing we noticed is that the film's pacing was a little bit off. At times it felt really slow. There were also instances that scenes were not properly transitioned from each other. Key tensions are presented then put off for the longest time. As for the acting, Matt Damon was the best delivering a performance that pushed emotion into a movie that the other players were lacking on. "We Bought a Zoo" may not be the best drama/inspiration film out there but it is good enough to merit a viewing. It is a feel-good movie filled with laughter and lessons that anyone will appreciate.

Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- the movie is light, funny and has the right amount of drama
- Matt Damon had an astounding performance

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the movie felt a little to fictional to be based on real-life
- lacks correct human reactions and interactions
- the pacing was off a lot of times

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