First off, We Bought A Zoo features Matt Damon as a father in a heartwarming film purely for families, which is something that doesn’t appear very often. Nevertheless, the title We Bought A Zoo already reveals that it is going to be genuinely cute and dazzling to watch, and does already have a target audience. In addition, the film is an American adaptation from a British novel that’s originally based on a true story about real British zoo Dartmoore Zoological Park. Quite frankly, what you see in We Bought A Zoo is exactly what you get as it’s a film with pure beauty behind it with cute characters and takes you on a great family adventure.
We Bought A Zoo has become director Cameron Crowe’s ninth feature film and has perhaps been his biggest hit since Vanilla Sky in 2001 or even Almost Famous in 2000. Crowe whisks us into a journey that is genuinely entering from the normal suburban American life into the enchanting and magical world of natural wildlife. We, the viewers, are there in the film experiencing the heartwarming but emotional chemistry between the animals and the humans. So, considering that Crowe has given us mixtures of drama, comedy and romance in his films over the years, he successfully prevails providing all of those emotional aspects within We Bought A Zoo. In addition, he adds the warmth and heart-melting family genre to his filmography.
Although he is notably known as Jason Bourne and has starred in some action hits over the years, Matt Damon’s performance doesn’t only show exactly how good he still in dramas but also exposes a new style of acting that we don’t usually see from Damon. Considering that Damon is a total miscast for Benjamin Mee in terms of physical appearance, he provides a very heartfelt and genuine performance. We usually see the emotional and soft nature of a single mother, so we see a tender and struggling father trying the best for his children. So, seeing Damon in this role may be an inaccurate portrayal regarding appearance, he emotionally defines how an emotionally confused parent behaves and interprets the struggles to move on.
Scarlett Johansson has always been easy on the eyes throughout every film that she has been part of, and she successfully pulls off another great performance as head keeper Kelly, Mee’s new love interest. Johansson’s beauty mixes gracefully with the innocence of animals and the bloom of the countryside. Thomas Haden Church portrays his best supporting role since his Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Sideways, as Benjamin’s older brother Duncan. After her breakthrough role in J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 Elle Fanning makes a crucial appearance in the film too as Lily Miska. In We Bought A Zoo, Fanning illustrates the normal behaviour of someone at her age: a teenager whose experiencing her first love. In addition, Colin Ford delivers a great performance as Benjamin’s troublesome son, Dylan, who represents the opposing nature of a teenager. Lastly, stuck in the middle is little Maggie Elizabeth Jones who perfectly defines the emotional connection with animals!
Overall, We Bought A Zoo is a genuinely heartfelt motion picture that is easily verified as the feel-good film of 2011. You might not have to be a fan of Matt Damon to enjoy this but it slightly renovates the warmth and inspiration that we saw from It’s A Wonderful Life many years ago. So, We Bought A Zoo really is a film that one just needs to watch and appreciate for what it is – a family heartwarmer that’ll make you smile and maybe even lead you to a few tears.