We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
B-movie relying on big rubber monsters, old-fashioned adventure and the charms of Doug McClure
It's hard to tell whether Kevin Connor's films were ahead of or before their time. There's no doubt that even in the mid-1970s they seemed pretty old-fashioned - old Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, clunkier in feel than the Ray Harryhausen films (Jason And The Argonauts, One Million Years BC), of a decade earlier.
On the other hand, what Connor and executive producer Samuel Z Arkoff believed - that cinema audiences were never going to out-grow their desire for spectacle, monsters and square-jawed heroes, turned out to be true enough. John Richardson and Ian Wingrove, who did the special effects for The People That Time Forgot, went on to work on the Harry Potter movies and Troy, respectively.
Patrick Wayne, the son of John Wayne, leads the World War I-era explorers heading off to track down Doug McClure, missing since 1975's The Land That Time Forgot, presumably somewhere in the mysterious land where dinosaurs still roam. From there on it's got everything you might expect, including the scantily-clad savage girl, fearsome tribes and battling creatures.
The best thing about it is McClure, who will probably go down in history for having lent his name to 'The Simpsons' washed-up star Troy McClure. He brought something endearing to the series of B-movies he made with Connor (The Land That Time Forgot, At The Earth's Core, Warlords Of Atlantis), even if he is somewhat underused here.
A 1970s childhood probably helps in appreciating the slightly shoddy charms of this unpretentious and cheery creature flick.
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