Based on a true story circa early 1940’s Belfast, Zoo centres around Tom, a young teen whose father has left home to fight for his country. He worked at the local zoo, which had just received a baby elephant named Buster. Tom and ‘Buster’ form an instant bond.

When the Blitz comes and bombs start dropping, the events that unfold cause Tom to want to save the elephant from the zoo, and he enlists the help of fairly shallow but nonetheless enjoyable group of characters.

A selling point seems to be that this film has an actor from Game of Thrones, but Art Parkinson’s Tom is shoved firmly into background for the second part of the film, as the other characters we meet are much more interesting and funny.

This is a very polished film with great production values and camerawork, though some of the elements, such as the music and ending, seem generic. It is certainly not a film that will stand out from the crowd. However, this is a great film for the whole family to watch, one that provides laughs for younger audiences while maintaining a tense atmosphere as the kids try to save Buster.

Zoo is unsurprising in almost every way. However, it is far from dull and is a great feel-good film for younger audiences. Its message does not put us above animals, and it doesn’t give us the right to kill them for no good reason either. Due to the fun nature of Zoo, this message will resonate with younger viewers, even if they don’t realise it.

Sunday, March 4, 1:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox