We Bought a Zoo,” a comedy-drama film very loosely based on a memoir written by Benjamin Mee, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD April 3rd. Directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Scarlett Johnsson and Matt Damon, the film tells the adventure of Mee and his family as they become the new owners of a dilapidated zoo. The film follows their efforts to become a team and to work together to get the zoo ready for it’s public reopening. The film also features Rosie, Mee’s 7-year old daughter who’s played brilliantly by Maggie Elizabeth Jones and 14-year old Dylan played by Colin Ford. Elle Fanning plays his love interest, Lilly, and it’s easy to see her resemblance to her sister Dakota.

We Bought A Zoo EntranceKids will love the movie because of all the interaction with the animals and Rosie and her Peacocks are adorable. While the film is family- friendly, there is talk of a death throughout, a few tense scenes, some overt flirting, and some mild language. There is an option for a milder audio version available under options as well as an option for the sight impaired where scenes are described in addition to the dialogue. I actually found watching the movie in this mode quite interesting. It was far more entertaining than the special feature commentary mode which was mostly annoying. An additional special feature describing how the animals were treated on set was very interesting. Trainers and their animals explained the process, how the animals are cared for on and off the set, and generally reassure us that the animals used in the film were happy to be there.

The real story of the Mee family is quite interesting and the move strays quite a bit away from it. The real zoo is called Dartmoor Zoological Park and it’s located in Devon, England. The fictional zoo in the film was called Rosemoor Wildlife Park and was located in California. While Mee’s wife did die, she died after the zoo was purchased from a brain tumor. In the film, the wife’s death was what spurs Mee to quit his job and move his family to the zoo. There are many more changes, enough that I’m very curious now about the book and plan to read it soon.

The movie is very much a Hollywood film with some unbelievable scenes, but if you just enjoy and don’t worry about that, you’ll likely find yourself smiling throughout.

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Film Details

  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012
  • Run Time: 124 minutes


  • We Bought a Zoo: the true story behind the film (telegraph.co.uk)
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