Recently, there has been quite an influx of movies about father love for his child, and trust me, they hardly go wrong. Earlier this year, we had a beautiful movie called Real Steel, and now comes We Bought A Zoo. Nice family movie, I must say, and perfect for a weekend evening for the whole family to chill together.
The story is based on a true story, and is quite simple, actually. It mainly revolved around the life of Benjamin Mee, a widowed father of two, and his struggle to let go of the past to pursue a better future, albeit a strange one: Owning, rebuilding and running a zoo, while taking care of his two little children. There were ups and downs along the way but everything turned out well in the end, and the zoo is still successful nowadays.
The plot is quite predictable, so the main attraction of the movie comes from the high profile of Matt Damon as Benjamin and Scarlett Johansson as the pretty young zookeeper. In this competition, I have to admit that Matt had the upper hand. He was soulful, emotional, and interpreted the script really well. We could really feel his pains when he saw his wife pass away in front of him, his frustration when there was no other way but to give up on the zoo, his great love for his children, his sadness when his son misunderstood him, and his utmost happiness and joy when things fell into place and the zoo was ready to open. He is a talented actor, and I don’t know why he is still not a superstar yet.
Starring opposite Matt, Scarlet became inferior. Her face did not express much emotion, and neither did her voice. She was pretty, sexy and attractive. Nobody can deny that fact. But she will need to beef up her acting skills a lot if she wants to become a great actress and win some awards. Otherwise, she will be limited to those brawny action movies only, or worse, soon forgotten.
However, what I love most about this movie is not its star power, but the kids. They are small, but they are really awesome. They can act really well. The little girl is very cute and lovely, and her lines were perfectly delivered to fit her own age. It was like she did not act, she lived the role herself. I don’t know whether she will be able to progress from child star to adult star, but her natural acting skill is really a gift that she should utilize in her future movies.
The actor who played the boy was also relatively new. I could not recall seeing him earlier. Yet he was quite good also. He managed to portray the image of the boy who felt left out, and lived in the shadow of the past and the guilt and pain of losing his mother truthfully and naturally. I could really connect with him, his feeling and the sufferings that he had to go through. That boy reminded me of the boy in Sixth Sense. Hopefully we will see more of him in the future as well.
Overall, this was a nice movie, not too overly done, but subtle and delicate. It will not win big, but it will not lose big either. And one last thing, the animals are really cute, so it may impulse you to visit the local zoo again later 😃
Some more photos after the jump: