We Bought a Zoo is an inspiring based-on-a-true-story movie directed by Cameron Crowe. It is about a broken man named Benjamin Mee, starred by Matt Damon, who just lost his wife, left with a little daughter and a son, then decided to change his life. Do not try to guess how the story will goes nor judge this is a bored movie, because it is not like those run-of-the-mill stories with the same flow. What makes it great is Mr. Mee’s idea of chuck everything all and buy a zoo, try to deal with something extremely new and different just to forget the feeling of losing.
The movie was set on February 2010 when Mr. Mee and his children move from Los Angeles to their new home in a Southern California rural which is also a zoo that has been closed not so long ago. In real life, the area where the movie took place is not a real zoo, but a ranch that for film making reason is modified into fictional zoo, the Rosemoor Wildlife Park. The main part of the story is the long part about their new life after moving.
Mr. Mee, before these all happened, was an adventurous man that had been through many amazing journey. He never planned of this, nor thought about being a zoo owner. These all happened very suddenly. His wife’s death made it hard to stay in town because every single inch of it reminded him to her. Every time he overwhelmed played his role as single parent, it reminded him to her.
Dylan Mee, his fourteenth years old son was expelled from school because he stole money and drew a dark picture of lurid death as his art project. Both Dylan, who is starred by Colin Ford, and his father, were in their hardest time. The difference was just Mr. Mee wanted to move but Dylan wanted to stay.
Mr. Mee decided to look for new place, accompanied by his daughter Rossie. The criterion was a house with a large green backyard, which is hard to be found in city and finally come to the last option, the house in suburb with 18 hectares yard. They both fell in love with the house. But by knowing the place is actually a zoo, Mr. Mee almost lost his feeling. The only reason he took that decision was her fussy but adorable little girl, Rossie. She was looked very happy with that place. Besides, Rossie’s smile was the only thing that can heal him.
Mr. Mee was conscious of what then became his duty as the owner of the place. He had to fix it. Over all, it was a zoo. People loved zoo. That zoo could earn him money. So he made some plans, involved the role of five zoo keepers that have been there since years ago. They knew the place very well and knew exactly what to do with it. They were head of zoo keeper Kelly Foster, starred by Scarlet Johansson, Robin Jones the gardener, Peter MacCready the visionary, Lily Miska, and Rhonda Blair who manage financial and the contacts. They had many works to do, animals’ name posts, enclosures expedience, animals’ health, and a lot more to make Walter Ferris, the unfriendly perfectionist inspector, willing to approve the zoo permission.
Although Dylan did not want to give his hand, they still could handle everything, but money is always the biggest problem. Yet, there is always a way. He found it out later but not too late that his wife, Katherina, left him a really big sum of money. His brother, Duncan Mee, gave support too.
Everyone was happy and sure that everything was going to be okay, the zoo would survive. Even Dylan himself, his drawing changed more bright, Dark Age was over. After some words fighting against his dad, the relationship turned better. It became more clearly when the two of them sitting together in front of Spar the tiger and talk about love, it was hilarious but sweet. All they need was just talking to each other a bit more often.
Inspection went well, some bad incident happened but it was handled before Walter Ferris know. He had several reasons not to approve the opening, but he was in good mood, so he decided to approve it. On July 7th, 2010, people in big crowd came to the zoo opening. Everyone’s dreams became true. The end of the film is Benjamin Mee and Kelly Foster admitted to each other that they were in love.
Visualization of this film supports the story in a good way. The picture quality is good. Color and bright setting is also good. The great visualization can be seen more clearly in my favorite scene in the 00:17:20. The car rode up the green yard, the wood fence in the right and left are like saying welcome greetings, sunbeams come through the tip of tree leaves. After the sunbeams is another proof of a very good angles choosing that pictured the walking Rossie from the back, makes that little girl looks taller and elegant, like a charismatic woman.
The beautiful soundtracks that mostly folk music is played in every cute moments, makes everything more real and come alive. Jonsi’s “Gathering Stories” that played so often is memorable, brings back the sensation of watching this movie every time I hear that song again in any occasion.
Another unforgettable scene from this movie is the opening narration by Dylan which is starred by Colin Ford. The narration actually told everything, Dylan tried to make everyone sure about this: even a great adventurous man, like his dad, might not have any idea how to take care of the children in a way that a mother will does, because those two are totally different.
This is the perfect movie I recommended to you to watch together with your family or friends. It has the power to emotionally bring love and hope in entertain and enjoyable way.