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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: May 1: We Bought a Zoo


May 1: We Bought a Zoo

"Set in Southern California, a father moves his young family to the countryside to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo."

We Bought a Zoo is a "serious" movie that never takes itself too seriously. The film cannot decide what it wants to be and suffers for it. It's part family drama, part romantic comedy, part family friendly "aw isn't that cute". It's great moments are ruined almost immediately in the following scene and any significant buildup falls flat. It's rather disappointing because the film has so many elements that could make it incredible. It's saving grace are those few great scenes and a very good cast led by Matt "You Can't Help But Like Me" Damon. 

And he's one hell of a nice guy (one would assume).

We Bought a Zoo is directed by Cameron Crowe, who has made incredible films (Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous). We Bought a Zoo is his first movie in nearly six years, and it's unfortunate that the film is not a return to form for Crowe. One has to wonder if he'll ever make anything as good as he has, and I was really hoping this film would be just that. It's not horrible, by all means, it just suffers greatly from it's massive amount of cliches and sappiness that you can't say it's great. The animals are amazing, the soundtrack is incredible (composed by Sigur Rios lead man J√≥nsi), and the cast is good. The film leaves you with a sense of adventure and an injection of imagination, but when you really think about it, you can't help but realize the entire thing is tailor-made to steal your tears and heart. 

A heart that Buster, the 750 pound grizzly bear would love a nom-nom session with. 

Even with it's faults, We Bought a Zoo is enjoyable. The movie plays out like a pop-up picture book you'd read to a kid at bedtime. As a film, it's just average, but it does leave you smiling. You can call it successful for what it is, or even a movie trying too hard to pull at the strings of your heart. It does have enough cliches to fill its own zoo and more than enough moments you know you've seen countless times before, but I'd still recommend it. Plus, I really want to cuddle with a tiger. 

The Good:
Matt Damon, an amazing score, and a lot of animals you can't help but love
The Bad:
more sap than a Vermont maple tree, more cheese than a Wisconsin dairy farm
The Ugly:
the fact the film has no idea what genre it wants to fit into and tries so hard to be everything under the sun

Overall: 6.7/10

Best Quote:
MacCready: (to a lion) You don't want me! I am filled with scotch, bitterness, and impure thoughts!


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