We Bought A Zoo is based off a true story. Films and books based off true stories always seem more exciting. Horror movies are even scarier if they fall under that category. When dealing with films based off true events, I have come to learn that there is the real story, and then there is the hollywood version. Although the hollywood version adds fanciful tales to make the story more exciting, it does just that. It makes the story more appealing, no offence to the truth.
Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon) and his family go through difficult times and end up buying a house. The house is special, as it comes with a lot of land, staff, and a full zoo. A couple of the differences between the truth and the film are as follows:
The film takes place in America – the real story in England
The Zoo’s name in the film is the Rosemoor Wildlife Park – the real name is the Dartmoor Zoological Park.
In the film, the mother in the family is only in flashbacks, and the family goes through difficulties resulting in relocating and finding the zoo and purchasing it quickly. – in real life, the mother dies after the zoo is already bought, which took almost 2 years for the purchase.
The film changes the age of the children (7 and 14) to add the side story of the struggles between the father and the angsty teenage son. – In real life the children were of the ages of four and six.
There are many more embellishments added throughout but I think you get the point. For a better look at the actual events, there is a BBC mini series based on Benjamin Mee and the process of renovating the zoo to bring it up to code.
Going back to the film, we have an enjoyable cast with a handful of familiar faces. As mentioned we have Matt Damon plus Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning (thats right Dakota’s little sister), and Patrick Fugit.
The film is an inspiring heart warming comedy. Although with the film showing Damon as a single father who loses his job, I would exactly think that buying a house with a lot of land, and a zoo, and the maintenance of the zoo would be financially easy. The film does cover this by adding in some magic money though.
I would recommend that you see this movie. Try not to let the differences between the story and the truth sway you. Stories are usually a lot more fun and adventures than some boring old truth ; )