MOVIE RATING: 3.5 stars (B)
With Jerry Maguire (1996) and Almost Famous (2000) at the top of his filmography, most cinephiles eagerly awaited director Cameron Crowe’s latest movie We Bought A Zoo (2011), especially since his last feature film was the rather disappointing Elizabethtown (2005) six years ago. And by snagging both Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson as his lead actors, Crowe had two big plusses going for him right off the bat. I had reasonable expectations for Zoo, but after seeing the trailer and the PG rating, I wasn’t really sure what I was gonna get. In the end, I got a very good, heartfelt and funny, family film. It worked for me despite it’s many flaws. For 2 hours, I managed to escape into a world that feels like a modern take on the Disney classic Swiss Family Robinson (1960), which I fell in love with as a kid and still enjoy watching from time to time as an adult.
Zoo definitely has its “problems” cinematically: it’s predictable, contrived, and pretty saccharin sweet in its almost fairytale like qualities. And yet I really love it somehow. There’s just something about it’s simple story, cute kids and animals, and personal growth “life lessons” vibe that when paired with Crowe’s great taste in music, Damon’s lead acting performance, the supporting cast, and good editing, it comes together and works on a level greater than its parts. Cameron Crowe came through once again with something uniquely his own. I drank the Zoo elixir and got the Zoo buzz.
Check out details on this film and its Blu-ray presentation at Blu-ray.com.