Friday, December 30, 2011
Movie Review: We Bought a Zoo
Matt Damon gives a nice performance as a dad left widowed after his wife is presumably taken by cancer (they never say, but it seems obvious). He and his children (a seven-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy) are still grieving and coping. Damon soon decides to start over and finds himself drawn to the idea of buying this zoo. What comes with the zoo, a menagerie of characters who work there. Of course, the story is your typical fish-out-water experience as Damon's character learns how to manage a zoo and deal with numerous unexpected costs. The plus points about the movie, the story is honest about grief and while Damon has a love interest, he does not plunge headlong into a new relationship and quickly forget the old. The movie fully explores his loss even to the very end. I respected that the storytellers didn't think his wife could be easily replaced and forgotten.
Overall, I was engaged in the movie, but then found myself getting antsy. What does that mean? I would give it 2.5 or 3 stars. It bogged down a little bit in some parts such as the decision to buy the zoo; the financial stuff; and the love story with the teens wasn't realistic. Let me comment on that love story for a moment. I felt that most respective 14 and 12 year olds don't declare their "love" at such a young age -- that felt odd and inappropriate. At least they didn't have these young actors kissing, which would have felt wrong too since the girl (Dakota Fanning's younger sister) was only 12.