We Bought a Zoo Blu-ray Review
Movies that touch on various emotions in a viewer seems to be a rare thing these days. As much as I love watching movies, I find many of them to be average or slightly below and it makes me appreciate when I watch a film that touches on several different feelings. For whatever reason, Cameron Crowe is one of those directors and writers that can make me laugh and cry both tears of sadness and joy in one film. I don’t know how he does it, but he almost always does. Watching his film WE BOUGHT A ZOO is a reminder of why I love movies.
WE BOUGHT A ZOO is loosely based on a memoir of the same name by Benjamin Mee. Mr. Mee (Matt Damon) is going through a rough transition in his life. Recently he has lost his wife and is trying to deal with the grief while raising two kids. In order to move on he goes in search of a new home and finds the perfect house, the only problem is the perfect house is part of a zoo that he must also take care of. Thus begins his adventure of running a zoo full of exotic animals, managing a team of keepers and trying to heal his family after their devastating loss.
This is such an incredible story and it’s even more amazing because it’s actually based on true events. Watching this film has to be every kids and probably a lot of adults dream scenario. Could there be anything better than walking out of your front door onto a property that houses lions, peacocks and bears? Even though the immense amount of work involved in running a safe and sanitary zoo would be tough, after watching a movie like this it seems doable.
What stood out the most in this film was the camera work and tone of the film. Everything felt real, but at the same time it was almost dream-like so viewers were able to just absorb everything without thinking too much about how the situations on screen could go wrong. Which of course they could and would since we do have some animal escapees in the film.
The acting was fine, but what the audience really cared about was watching the animals in their habitats. We did get to see plenty of that, but there was also a lot of character development that somehow didn’t distract from the backdrop of the zoo. Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson did an excellent job but who really shone was Maggie Elizabeth Jones who played Benjamin’s daughter, Rosie. Maybe it was because the audience was able to see the potential of the situation through the eyes of a child who was both innocent and quite perceptive of everything that was going on around her. It’ll be interesting to see where Ms. Jones’ career goes from here.
I don’t think WE BOUGHT A ZOO will touch everyone like it did me, but I do think it’s an easy recommendation. If nothing else then it just makes your imagination run a little wild which is something we all need to experience now and again.
Video: Beautiful colors and quality, watching this film will just make you happy.
Audio: Surround sound is used appropriately (like when we hear the animals), but isn’t overdone. It’s a nice marriage with the video quality and the combination of the two make for an excellent viewing experience.
Audio Commentary with director Cameron Crowe, editor Mark Livolsi and JB Smoove: I really don’t like JB Smoove and since he’s barely in the film, it’s interesting that he would be involved with the commentary but I will say that he really kept the conversation going and more entertaining than it could have been.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (37:27): There are quite a few of these that Mr. Crowe references in his commentary. If you enjoyed the film then these are worth watching.
We Shot a Zoo (1:15:52): A five-part documentary that goes into depth about how this film was made.
Their Happy Is Too Loud (17:29): A piece about the score of the film.
The Real Mee (28:35): This is about the real-life Benjamin Mee and his real experiences with his zoo, how he acquired it and how he runs it. The real zoo is actually in England in case you want to visit it.
Gag Reel (6:57): Typical gag reel, what more can you say.