Sandie's Reviews > We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee
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Apr 13, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012-books, contemporary-lit, feel-good-reads
Read in April, 2012

Recently saw this family friendly movie and enjoyed it. If you have read Benjamin Mee's book WE BOUGHT A ZOO you may be disappointed at the "hollywood spin". Any similarity between the book and the movie basically ends with the title.

In the book Mee's father died and HIS MOTHER bought the Dartmoor Zoo (located in the UK not California) using funds received from the sale of her home in Surrey. Mee's wife Katherine was alive at the time of the purchase and moved to the zoo with their two children Milo age six (hardly the trouble teen, Dylan, as portrayed in the movie) and Ella age four (a seven year old named Rosie in the movie). His brother, portrayed in the movie by Thomas Hayden Church is not Mee's only sibling nor was he an unwilling participant in the venture, but a willing accomplice. Also, the Benjamin Mee in the book does not come across as the devoted, loving husband and father but as a rather selfish "I want what I want" personality who willingly uproots his family again and again to pursue his dreams.

Those are just a few of the more glaring differences between book and "true story" movie. These discrepancies do not detract from the movies overall appeal (particularly if you have not read the book). As I mentioned, the movie is as warm and gooey as a hot fudge sundae and provides a great viewing experience for the entire family. Particularly enchanting is Maggie Elizabeth Jones who plays little Rosie. She is truly a delight to watch as she attempts to assume the roll of woman of the house. Another performance that tickled my funny bone was that of MacCready the volatile zoo carpenter as played by Angus Macfadyen a very talented and, in my opinion, underrated actor who has portrayed everyone from Robert the Bruce in Braveheart to Richard Burton and even did a turn as Sandra Bullocks fiancé in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

While the book provides the reader with a more in depth look at Mee, the man, and the intricate problems involved the running of a zoo, he comes across as not very likable. The movie, on the other hand, give us a kinder, gentler Mee as we watch a heartbroken Matt Damon cope with the loss of his wife and attempts to raise two children while mastering a domain consisting of over 200 exotic animals. For once, the movie outshines the book........or perhaps I was just in the mood for less reality and more fantasy in my day.
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12/21/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Maya (new) - added it

Maya Khan Couldnt agree more. I loved the movie too!


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