Go Buy a Zoo

26 May

Thirteen days ago, my sister sent me an email saying that she highly recommended a movie called, We Bought A Zoo. I saw the previews and imagined some hidden or invisible zoo after a family bought a house, and I thought, “Is my sister going crazy? Is this really the best movie she can come up with in this day and age of movies?” So, I treated the email with the reverence I thought it deserved (ie, remembered that she liked the movie and nothing else that she said).

I came home Friday night to the announcement that somehow we had picked up the movie We Bought a Zoo. The kids had already watched the movie with Kelly and all said that they liked it, but that it was a little bit vulgar for a PG movie. So, being the knucklehead I am, I give my sister a call to give her a hard time (which is really all it was, because I had not even forwarded her thoughts to the rest of the family). Of course, had I actually read and remembered her email, I would have known that she gave that exact warning, and she told me that.

So, now as a guy feeling bad about giving my sister a hard time, I agreed to watch it and just kind of keep my mouth shut. So after we did several things, including eat dinner, do family devotions, put the kids to bed, and recapping the day, I finally sat down to watch the movie. Hereafter are my thoughts about the movie, without giving anything (er, well, giving very little) away.

First, the movie was nothing like what I got from the previews (what I saw was approximately the equivalent of the first minute of this). It was never an imaginery or hidden zoo; it was clearly a zoo recognized and seen by all humans with eyesight at all times. I’m not sure how I misinterpreted that, but it really was a completely different movie than my imagination.

Second, the movie was genuinely captivating. There was a family in mourning, which I could certainly empathize with. You wanted this dad and daughter to succeed and move on, as much as would be appropriate. There was a real estate agent at the beginning, that I loved. He reflects well on one of my chosen professions, and we aren’t normally portrayed well.

Third, the movie had a plot that moved along and was feel-good. I know many critics insulted it for being too formulaic. Let’s face it; there is a reason those things become a formula—We like them!

Is Hoosiers less a movie because they win? Or is Cinderella worse for her not remaining stuck in a rut? Do we dislike Star Wars because Luke is successful?

Of course not. We like things that end well. Another thing I learned from a lesser movie is that every character comes into your work with back-story. The audience needs to know enough about it to understand why it leads them to the present without being bogged down by it. This movie did a wonderful job of that, keeping it realistic and yet genuinely fun to travel with the characters on this journey.

This story, which though it didn’t have a lot of mystery involved, was a nice, happy story with the heart of real life. It may send you to the kleenex a couple times (it did me), but it isn’t a depressing movie. It had a line in the movie that I loved. All-in-all, I found the whole thing very entertaining. So, if you want a feel-good story to watch that the whole family can enjoy, watch this one (email me about the ten second scene to fast forward through if you have young kids). You’ll be glad you watched it!


3 Responses to “Go Buy a Zoo”

  1. Mama Weso May 27, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    We, too, watched the movie based on Jenni's recommendation. It is cute. They could have easily left out the few offensive words (and I wish they had). The little girl is adorable!

  2. Jenni April 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    I LOVED this movie. (Obviously.)

  3. AskThePhatMan April 29, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Not sure if 11 months changed your opinion. Eleven months after I was born, my whole life changed dramatically!

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