Zookeepers (Sony Pictures Entertainment) - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 1 Old 10-26-12, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Zookeepers (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Rating: PG
Disc/Transfer Information: Region Free; 1080p High-Definition 2.40:1 (Original Aspect Ratio 2.39:1)
Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Director: Frank Coraci
Starring Cast: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe Rogan



Let me say this before we go any further into the review of Zookeeper, the lighthearted “I can talk to animals!” romp by Frank “Around the World in 80 Days” Coraci – my L-d is Leslie Bibb a major piece of tail in this…this chick, when she’s strutting her stuff in sky-high heels and short dresses, looks incredibly delicious in this film, and it’s almost a shame to have such a piece of eye candy in such a kid-centric piece of cinema. Sure, this babe was smokin’ hot in Iron Man and its sequel as the trampy journalist willing to sleep with anyone for a story, but her tight body, gorgeous eyes and face and seductive smiles are all on major display here in 1080p.

And therein lies the catch 22, in a way, of what plagues Zookeper – for the life of me, I can’t figure out why any of Kevin James’ films revolve around a plot that has him chasing some super-sickly-hot babe that a guy like him in real life would never be able to come near, yet who he ends up getting at the end; it’s actually frustrating at this point watching the characters he plays act like such buffoons with ill-fitting clothes and social interactions and yet wooing the hottest girls around. Is this to “teach” us something about the uncool guy having every right – or every opportunity to get – to the hot chicks as the muscle-bound, bouncer-type freaks do? If it’s a lesson in human intercommunication and its burgeoning male/female relationship interconnections, it doesn’t work – squarely and sadly because of the fact that it would never, ever happen in a million years. I have traveled in and amongst these circles, my friends, and believe me – no chick that’s gorgeous and sporting a micro-minidress with Christian Louboutin high heels on and weighing in at 100 or so pounds with a belly button piercing and a sick body is going to give any “average shlub” of a guy any kind of chance to talk to them, let alone bed them. It just doesn’t – and won’t – happen. So to keep casting James in this lead – i.e. Zookeeper, Hitch – is getting irritating and tiring at this point. This doesn’t only happen to James though, in his defense – we’ve seen Ben Stiller play this pathetic role time and time again in projects such as Along Came Polly and dabble in it with a hot-looking Jessica Alba in Little Fockers. It just irritates me. Thus here, we have James’ zookeeper character having a gorgeous Leslie Bibb as his ex who ended up dumping him on a beach when he was attempting to propose to her – but who ends up attempting to come back into his life later on because, you know, he’s the “safe” choice in a guy…not because she’s actually physically attracted to him. Further complicating things is the fact that this hot babe was actually interested in some self-centered a-hole rather than James from the get-go, and while this prick is actually the better choice for her, she has her “fun” with James’ character in a way in an attempt to mold him into what she thinks he should be…or, in other words, how 99.9 percent of marriages in the modern world seem to work.

No, the real appeal of the charming Zookeeper, if you’re an animal lover like me, is the central core story about animals in a zoo being able to communicate with their keeper (James) – of course, this has been done before in stuff like Doctor Doolittle and Cats and Dogs, but for me, the genre never gets old. Voiceovers for the animals were handled by the likes of Cher and Sylvester Stallone, amongst others, but the primary plot line revolves around James and his connection to all the animals he talks to. He actually doesn’t realize he has the ability to hear them talk back to him until his beloved male lion makes this power known, James out to the point he runs screaming around the zoo. Working alongside him is Rosario Dawson’s character, who becomes a secondary love interest in the plot when James asks her to accompany him to his (or is it her’s?) brother’s wedding (in which he’s marrying a smokin’ hot Asian chick who looks gorgeous and edible in her wedding dress) in order to make Bibb jealous as she’s going to be there with her a-hole boyfriend. Inbetween we learn of Donnie Wahlberg’s character and his secret abuse of Bernie, the male sole gorilla in the zoo; Wahlberg plays a dirt bag keeper assistant who privately pokes and prods the animals when James isn’t around (and thankfully we do not see) but who ends up getting his, as is always the case. You will smile and applaud when that happens.

Some funny moments occur when James decides to take Bernie out of his enclosure to get some air and see the sights, the two of them ending up at TGIF’s for drinks and mayhem with some ladies and staff they meet there. The sequence was smile-inducing and will definitely entertain the kids if you watch this with them; additional humorous sequences involve the animals sitting around talking to one another in how to help James and his women dilemmas and then the aforementioned wedding sequence. In talking about that for a moment, it seems Bibb comes to James’ zoo for a private, backstage tour of the facility with her gorgeous Asian friend who’s about to marry James’ (or is it Bibbs'?) goofy, bucktoothed brother – but once at the zoo, James learns that Bibb is going to be at the wedding with her latest fling, who’s a complete a-hole. In desperation, James asks Rosario to be his date just for the night – but when he comes to her apartment to pick her up and sees her descending the stairs outside the building in a stunning, low-cut black dress and strappy heels, looking completely different from how she looks at work, he’s taken in. What he doesn’t know is that Dawson’s character has fallen for him, too – something a bit predictable in these plots already. At the wedding, some mayhem ensues in which James and Dawson concoct ways in which to make Bibb jealous of them (i.e. flirtatious moves at the bar, dancing seductively on the floor, wrapping themselves up in white linens on the dance floor and soaring above the crowd, which ends up leading to disastrous results for James himself) in addition to a face-to-face standoff between him and Bibb’s new angry, mega-masculine, idiotic date. But, once Dawson and James make their way to the valet to leave the wedding, it becomes apparent that their plan has worked as Bibb knocks on the window of the car James has borrowed from the snake handler back at the zoo (played by Ken Jeong, Couples Retreat, Knocked Up) and asks to talk to him privately about the “feelings” she’s having for him again. Ridiculous; is this to suggest to us that all you have to do is make your stunning ex a bit jealous by dancing with another woman and she’ll want to come back into your life…assuming you can even attain a chick as hot as Bibb’s character? Whatever.

When James gets to telling Dawson a few days later (or perhaps the next day) that he has decided to leave the zoo and take an exotic car salesman position with Bibb’s brother (I believe it was), Dawson tells him he’s turning into something he’s not and begins to reveal her feelings for this guy who doesn’t even know how to match a necktie with a shirt pattern. The animals, meanwhile, catch wind of this and get depressed over their beloved zookeeper leaving them – but of course James, after spending some time living with Bibb again in her bubble of expensive foods, fancy tastes and strange exercise programs, realizes his heart truly lies with taking care of his precious animals. Bibb eventually confronts him at the car dealership in a stunning, arrest-me-red dress and heels and looks appealing
in this scene with her dazzling matching lipstick and cute ponytail pulled back – but the confrontation is to actually drop to one knee and ask James to marry her. Do you know what happens at this point? Of course you do – it plays out like every other film dabbling in these plots…that is, James’ character grows a pair, tells Bibb’s character to f-off in so many other words, leaves her standing there with the ring and a Mariachi band playing in the background and fulfills his developed desire to be with Dawson’s character…and all his friends at the zoo. Zookeeper indeed ends on an upbeat, happy note, and includes a final credit sequence that depicts the animals introduced in the story all singing “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. It was cute and fitting.


Wow. This one totally knocked me out. Even though I wasn’t really expecting much less from Zookeeper on Blu-ray, Sony’s transfer left me breathless in certain spots. The outdoor sequences inside the animal park were stunning in detail and color richness, exhibiting a sense of depth and scale that was highly satisfying. One issue I noticed was with the greens of grass or foliage; these seemed to sometimes glow an unrealistic neon green, which can maybe be chalked up to the picture mode my display is adjusted/calibrated in, or the inherent issue some high definition displays have to really pump this particular color up. But the details on the gorilla Bernie’s face in addition to being able to make out nearly every single strand of hair on his body, plus elements on other animals in the film, was absolutely stunning and effective. Likewise, shadow detail appeared to be accurate and I didn’t detect any noise, grain or dithering in any of the frames. A really nice job by Sony; if you’re picking up this title for your kids’ collection, or just because you’re a fan of the talking animals genre (which is always cool), be sure to get Zookeeper on Blu-ray, not DVD.


There was really not much going on with the English DTS-HD Master Audio mix in 5.1; given the subject material, this wasn’t a surprise, but the mix could have been a bit more playful and aggressive in the surrounds in my opinion. Dialogue was clear, though, and the audio was suited for what was going on.


Me and my wife are huge animal-loving people, so it was no surprise we enjoyed this; much in the vain of Hotel for Dogs and the aforementioned Doctor Doolittle and Cats and Dogs, Zookeeper was fun entertainment if you’re a part of this crowd.

Thanks for reading!
Osage_Winter is offline  


entertainment , pictures , sony , zookeeper

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