This year's latest cinematic helping of Matt Damon doesn't involve fate-changing men in fedoras (see: The Adjustment Bureau) or a global pandemic (see: Contagion) - instead, it sees the actor try his hand at running a full-fledged natural reserve for animals in the "based on real events" flick We Bought a Zoo.
Oscar-winning writer/director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) is the man responsible for this adaptation of Benjamin Mee's well-liked memoir; however, the previously-released U.S. trailer made the film look very much like one of Crowe's original creations (in both good and bad ways). A newly-unveiled international theatrical preview for the movie does nothing but lend further support to that idea.
We Bought a Zoo tells the story of Benjamin Mee (Damon), a widower who decides that drastic action is needed to help both his two children and himself move on with their lives. One event leads to another and soon Mee is sinking his life savings into the purchase of a rundown English countryside zoo, complete with around 200 exotic animals (lions, zebras, porcupines, etc.). With the assistance of his brother Duncan (Thomas Hayden Church) and a lovely young woman named Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson), Benjamin and his family begin to restore the zoo to its former glory... and in the process (wait for it) rekindle their bonds with one another.
With all that in mind, check out the international trailer for We Bought a Zoo below:
Crowe rewrote an earlier draft of the We Bought a Zoo adapted screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), but it almost seems like a story tailor-made for the former. The male protagonist who undergoes a spiritual reawakening after trying out a new lifestyle, quirky supporting characters (young and old) who accompany him on this journey and, of course, a beautiful strong-willed woman who pushes the main character to make something of himself? All present and accounted for here.
So We Bought a Zoo looks like your average Cameron Crowe movie. Is that a bad thing?
Honestly, all things considered, it's not. We Bought a Zoo comes off as a somewhat hokey, but well-meaning flick that boasts an overall solid cast, some lightweight (if at times a bit too cutesy) humor, and familiar-but-harmless lessons about living life to the fullest. If nothing else, the film looks to be an improvement on Crowe's last directorial effort, Elizabethtown, and should go over well with his devoted fans.
We Bought a Zoo opens in theaters around the U.S. on December 23rd, 2011.
Source: 20th Century Fox