“We Bought a Zoo”: Book vs. Movie

We Bought a Zoo. Both a book and a movie. About all they have in common are their titles and the fact that the main character…well…bought a zoo. Obviously, as goes with most book-to-movie productions, the book was better.

We-Bought-a-Zoo-bookI read the book a couple of months before they announced a movie was going to be made and the book was so good that I literally cried at the sad parts, laughed out loud at the funny parts, and couldn’t put the book down until I finished. I read that book cover to cover and was seriously bummed when I finished it. It was so inspirational. I wanted to visit that zoo. I was convinced that it was my new purpose in life to buy and refurbish and reopen a zoo. That lasted about a week before I remembered that it was only a book and that wasn’t really what I wanted to do, though it would be cool. The neat thing about that book is that it is a true story, and the author, Benjamin Mee, who is the man who bought the zoo, doesn’t spare any detail of the whole ordeal, even describing every intimate detail of his wife falling ill and passing away. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler but sorry if it was. Oops.)



The movie, starring Matt Damon, while also good, was very Hollywoodized (is that a real word?) and moved too fast through the story and left out what I feel are very important aspects of the story. But that’s show biz I guess. I didn’t feel like the movie allowed me to become emotionally attached to the characters like the book did and the romantic interests added in offended me because of the authors real life turmoil with loosing his wife in the book. I still enjoyed the movie and maybe my expectations were just too high because I loved the book so much. If you have’t read the book or seen the movie yet, I suggest watching the movie first so that you can enjoy it for what it is. If you read the book first, the movie will only disappoint.

Click here to visit the website of the Dartmoor Zoo (the actual zoo from the book and movie).