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Movie Review: We Bought a Zoo

I’m not a movie buff nor am I a movie critic. Because of my critical nature in general, I have a hard time not picking any movie apart and I have a difficult time sitting still and watching anything for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I do, however, know when a movie meets the kind of standards my family and I need to be feeding our eyes on.

This past Christmas day as we’ve done for the last few years, my wife and kids went out to see a movie. The movie we saw was a movie named We Bought A Zoo.. The movie stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johanassen. In a nutshell, We Bought A Zoo is about a family consisting of a father raising two children, a 14-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, without their mother. The mother has passed away approximately 6-months earlier and the family needs a change of scenery in order to help with their grieiving. The father, Matt Damon, had inherited some money from his father sometime earlier and buys an old dilapidated zoo in the country. He feels that fixing up the zoo and helping save some endangered animals would be just the sort of distraction his young family needs to distract them from their grief and allow them a level of healing.

In general, I thought the movie was a little long and drawn out and certainly could have been condensed somewhat. However, the general plot of the movie was good and piqued the interest of my wife and daughters when they were deciding which movie to watch. But that was where I feel the goodness ends. This movie was a PG movie and was billed as a family movie. We won’t watch PG-13 movies with the family and even my wife and I are generally selective with PG-13 movies we watch by ourselves. We won’t watch movies with excessive cursing, extreme violence, nudity, etc. There are certainly exceptions to this, an example being the movie Schindler’s List. The nudity, violence, and cursing in that movie was historically accurate and added to the gravity of the Holocaust.

Back to the movie at hand. During the course of the movie there was very little rough language. However there were pockets of filthy language and the sad part of it was the large part of it was used by the children. The language was very strong and was absolutely not something my 10-year-old had ever heard. The saddest part was the little girl in the movie was a cutie, but used one of the foulest words in the movie….it turned my stomach.

In addition to the foul language, there was a little teenage crush between a 13-year-old girl that worked at the zoo and the 14-year-old son of Matt Damon. Toward the end they were telling each other they loved each other and were kissing passionately…..I know this is what’s going on out there in the world, but it has no place in a Christian’s life.

And finally, the zookeeper, played by Scarlett Johannasen, was a 28-year old woman in the movie. Matt Damon was approximately a 45-year-old man in the movie. Toward the end they ended up falling in love and sharing a passionate kiss. I know this is minor, but this was just icing on the cake of an already edgy movie. In the grand scheme of things by today’s standards I guess it was a pretty tame movie. But with all the foul language and the young teenage love affair I feel like it was more like a PG-13 movie. The movie could have been a good family-friendly movie, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to any family with young kids.

By the way, we didn’t walk out….hindsight is that we should have. We had too much “PG-ing” to do to our 10-year-old afterwords. I’m a little disappointed in myself for allowing us to stay.

It disgusts me that Hollywood can take a rather innocent movie and turn it into something that’s too rough to watch…….I guess that’s why in the early days of movies the church resisted movies and television.

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