Zookeeper (Blu-ray Review)

In Zookeeper, the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James). Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship – animal style.



When I heard that Zookeeper was available for review I joking thought Paul Blart: Zoo Cop.   It gave me quite a chuckle to see that one of the previews before the film was for Paul Blart Mall Cop.   I guess they figure that if you like one Kevin James movie, you’ll like them all.   I knew it would have animals, and depending on my preschooler’s mood, it might be a good movie for him since I’m always looking for movies with real people in them (not cartoons) that the family can enjoy.

Zookeeper stars Kevin James as Griffin Keyes, lead zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo.  He is great at his job and the animals love him.  He should be happy, but he doesn’t have the love of his dream girl.  He proposes at the beginning of the film and is rejected, and wants nothing more than to get her back.  Rosario Dawson rounds out the cast as the Zoo’s vet – the woman Griffin has completely ignored while focusing all his attention on another who doesn’t deserve him.

The animals at the zoo have been mistreated by some employees (Donnie Wahlberg) but appreciate the care given to them by Griffin.  They try to help him by making him look brave.  To accomplish their goal, they eventually have to confess to Griffin that they are able to talk.   The animals teach them how they would attract a mate and have him marking his territory, growling, and performing other animal mating techniques.   Animal voices include Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, and Maya Rudolph…and others I was not able to identify but probably should have watched the credits to figure out.

For those with kids, this is a cute animal movie.  Kevin James fans will like it too.  It’s a very typical Kevin James movie…funny and silly..but not hilarious.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s not a title that I hope my son wants to watch every single day, because it will get old fast but it is a cute family film that I am glad to have being part of my collection.


Zookeeper is presented in 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 ratio. The colors are bright and vivid, ant textures look amazing as well with every strand of fur apparent. Teh image looks great during the daytime and nighttime scenes. Black levels are solid and nicely dark. The animals look (and mostly are) realistic and I was pretty happy with this visual presentation.


Zookeeper is presented in DTS 5.1 Master Audio HD. More could have been done to make the listener feel surrounded by animals but overall, no significant complaints. The dialogue was clear, even and consistent and I did not have to adjust the volume levels for the changes between human dialogue and animal noises.

Special Features

I enjoyed the special features more than the movie. There is a significant number and they are high quality.
Zookeeper contains the following special features:

  • Deleted scenes – 8 deleted scenes. None of them would have made or broken the movie but I did like the one where the Gorilla crashes the van.
  • Laughing is Contagious – A blooper real. Although I love blooper/gag reels this one wasn’t as funny as most. It does appear the cast had a great time, and definitely made each other laugh.
  • Bernie the Gorilla – A featurette about how Bernie the Gorilla came to life. Watching the movie I had no idea there was a guy inside the suit, sweating his butt off.
  • The Cast of the Zookeeper – A featurette with interviews with cast and crew.
  • Creating the Visual Effects – Visual effects featurettes about making the animals talk, animal meeting and riding an ostrich. I feel bad for the stunt man that had to pretend to be an ostrich and let Kevin James jump on his back to ride him.
  • Behind the Stunts – A featurette about the movie’s stunts. It turns out Kevin James is pretty agile and willing to try stunts.
  • The Furry Costars – A look at all the live animals in the movie, and how the cast interacted with them.
  • Be the Bear – Behind the scenes with the real life, and very well trained bear used in the film. Apparently Kevin James can be trained like a bear.
  • Previews for other titles including Paul Blart Mall Cop

Final Thoughts

Zookeeper was a pleasant surprise for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the special features, even more than the movie. You have to be willing to suspend disbelief that super beautiful women want to be with a guy that looks like Kevin James. It was easier for me to accept that animals could talk.  I’m guessing that the next time I take my son to the zoo he is going to expect verbal responses from all the animals but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

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