(PG) Toby Jones, Penelope Wilton, Stephen Hagan
Zoo follows the journey of Tom Hall, a young boy who loves animals as much as he loves humans. With his motley group of friends, he endeavours to save his new best friend, an elephant called Buster.
Set in Northern Ireland during World War II, this movie manages to create a hopeful atmosphere amongst the devastating backdrop of war. The aesthetic of the movie has been created brilliantly, with the juxtaposition of gloomy streets paired with the lush green of Ireland.
The protagonist of Zoo is Tom Hall; kind, helpful, and trustworthy towards humans and animals alike. If you’re sick of seeing over confident protagonists then you’ll love Tom. Multiple times throughout the film Tom is seen being beaten up by bullies and not once does he fight back. This manages to create an endearing character who manages to still get things done. Tom is the perfect character for all those shy animal lovers out there, finally a character they can all relate to.
One flaw that kept coming back to me was the film’s forced humour. Small moments that seemed quite out of place in a historical fiction movie. Sometimes confusing and not often very funny, this could be distracting from the beauty of the story and the setting.
A highlight of the film was the soundtrack. The music was made to fit into the ups and downs of the plot and to highlight especially key moments. The soundtrack was the first thing that I noticed when I was watching it, the obscure music helped to create the atmosphere of the film.
Although the atmosphere of the film was set up well, it did tend to change quite dramatically throughout the film. Not at all subtle mood changes tended to jerk me out of the sweetness of the story.
In the end, this will never be a classic or a favourite, but there is a time and place for a niche movie like this one: Perhaps when you need something to entertain your kids with or you happen to have all your animal lover buds over. If you are ever in need of a good family movie, watch this one, just make sure the popcorn tastes good.