( Max score: 100 )
Oscar winner Matt Damon gives a heartfelt performance in this film which is based on a true story. When his teenage son gets into trouble, Benjamin Mee (Damon) gives up a lucrative newspaper job to move his family to the most unlikely of places: a zoo! With help from an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, Benjamin embarks on a fresh beginning to restore the dilapidated zoo to its former glory, while uniting his family.
Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is a Los Angeles newspaper columnist and adventure writer who, as a single father, faces the challenges of raising his two young children. Hoping that a fresh start and a new life will restore their family spirit, Mee quits his job and buys an old rural house outside the city with a unique bonus feature: a zoo named the Rosemoor Animal Park, where dozens of animals reside under the care of head zookeeper Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson) and her dedicated team. With no experience, limited time and a shoestring budget, Mee sets out with the support of his family and the local community to reopen the zoo. Now, Benjamin is no longer reporting an adventure story; he's living it in his own backyard.We bought a zoo is based on true events/people and is a rewarding and heartwarming family drama about a loving father/widower trying to pick up the pieces. He gets more than he bargained for when he buys a new home for himself and his two kids that comes along with a rundown zoo and what's left of its support staff. Luckily it provides the spark he needs to rekindle his relationship with his teenage son as well as an incentive to look to the future. This one is pretty light and eschews melodrama, and syrupy romance in favor of well choreographed familial interaction, charming characters (including the furry ones), and a sentimental but upbeat thematic melody that plays consistently throughout. Watching the bonus feature on the real life Benjamin Mee and his children indicates that this dramatization adds a bit of schmaltz to their story but I didn't have a problem with that. I watched it with my family and we all enjoyed it. The ensemble cast is a pleasure to watch, especially young Maggie Elizabeth Jones, who is a consummate scene stealer. We bought a zoo doesn't offer any surprises but proves to be an effectively charming, and evocative film that makes for pitch perfect family entertainment.
The rating is for language and some thematic elements.
We bought a zoo comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This is a high quality video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast is bold without being overpowering and blacks are respectable with discernible detail visible in low lighting and shadows. I didn't see any signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was excellent. The lossless soundtrack competently delivers the elements present in the recording and sounds terrific. Dialogue is well intonated with crystal clarity and good room penetration. The presentation offers an open soundstage across the front with definitive channel separation and good dynamic range. Surround use is limited to spatial cues, occasional panning effects and accenting the enriching music score, all of which enhance dimension. There aren't any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer is effectively used to provide emphasis that brings forth the low range content associated with the soundtrack's elements. This is a subtle yet surprisingly good audio presentation.
We bought a zoo is based on true events/people and is a heartwarming drama about a loving father/widower trying to pick up the pieces. From a thematic standpoint it doesn't break new ground but in the capable hands of co-writer/director Cameron Crowe and star Matt Damon it is a rewarding and entertaining film that the whole family can enjoy. We bought a zoo makes its way to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring top notch audio/video quality and a complimentary assortment of bonus material that is well worth exploring. This one should go to the top of your rental queue on family movie night.