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Top 10 Zoos in Movies

Top 10 Zoos in Movies

To celebrate the release of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which continues the adventures of the escaped zoo animals as they traverse another continent on their journey home, we thought we would delve into the cinematic archives to relive the greatest movies and moments that took place in and around zoos. And it turns out, they're as varied as they are memorable! So come on in. We won't even charge you £300 entry (plus an obligatory £50 donation) like a real zoo!

# – Zooey Deschanel

I don’t care how fucking Zooey you are, you’re still not a zoo. Get off my list.

 

#10 – The Zookeeper

Kevin James works in a zoo. Apparently, that’s really, really uncool. Like, so uncool that his girlfriend dumps him over it. Clearly she’s a horrible, vacuous, materialistic sham of a human-being, but Kevin James wants her back and chooses to leave the zoo. Except that the animals can talk, and use their terrible CGI lip-synching to convince Kevin James to stay. We’d be tempted to hate everything about this, but Nick Nolte voices a gorilla called Bernie who eats dinner at T.G.I. Friday’s and that makes this a zoo of CHAMPIONS. Or least it would, were it not for Adam Fucking Sandler doing another Stupid Fucking Voice as a Capuchin monkey. Sadly, that means we need to firebomb the entire zoo complex. Sorry, Bernie.

#9 – Fierce Creatures

Marwood Zoo is run by John Cleese. That should tell you all you need to know about the sort of chaos that reigns within. When the zoo is taken over, he’s dealt an ultimatum. Increase profits, or the zoo closes. Being John Cleese, John Cleese decides to fill the zoo with the most deadly, violent and horny animals possible. ‘cos that’s what people like, see; sex and violence. Frankly, a zoo where llamas are pitted against one another in mortal combat three times an afternoon sounds GREAT! And wouldn’t you time your visits accordingly if it was advertised exactly when the lions would be doing it? Of course you would. While the film doesn’t quite go that far, it does lay the groundwork. Well done, Fierce Creatures. Let’s implement these ideas into real life.

#8 – We Bought A Zoo

It’s a zoo. And Scarlett Johansson works there. It could have nothing but a Billy Bass Trout and an old bicycle tyre that looks a bit like a snake if you squint, and we’re still buying a life-time entry pass. Because it’s a zoo. And Scarlett Johansson works there.

 

#7 – Jumanji

It’s a zoo. IN A BOX. Alright, technically it’s a supernatural jungle, to which the only access is playing the board-game Jumanji, but the effects of playing – where each move causes all manner of wildlife to appear – are essentially the same as having a zoo in a box, so that’s how we’re looking at it. Zoo in a box. Wouldn’t that have made the end of Se7en much nicer? Ahh, zoo in a box.

 

#6 – Anchorman

It might not be about a zoo, but it certainly makes good use of one. When everyone’s favourite news team head down to cover the story of a panda about to give birth, Christina Applegate finds herself stranded in a pit full of Kodiak Bears. Not ideal. Especially when Will Ferrell is her only hope. Thank god for Baxter the dog, who converses with the bears via subtitles, convincing them to not eat anybody because he met their cousin in the woods after being kicked off a bridge by Jack Black. Christ, we love Anchorman. Actually, we’d quite enjoy a spin-off short depicting Baxter’s adventures in the wild. Someone make that happen.

 

#5 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Less a zoo, so much as an ape Abu Ghraib, the “primate shelter” that genetically modified Caesar ends up in is a hell-hole worthy of any prison movie. Not only is our furry hero mistreated by his fellow apes, but he’s got Draco Malfoy as chief guard! It’s not only in the world of wizardry that Tom Felton plays rotten bastards, as his cruel, neglectful character here is a nasty piece of work. Just as well there’s no chance of Caesar breaking out to murder him then. Oh.

 

#4 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Speaking of Harry Potter, way back at the beginning of the franchise, before it got all dark and romancy, one of the most iconic moments in the first film was – again – set in London Zoo. Visiting the zoo on a trip with the ghastly Dursleys, Harry realises he can somehow talk to snakes, and inadvertently magics away the glass in the reptile house, and releases a giant python – giving tubby bastard Dudley quite a scare in the process as he falls into the enclosure. The silver lining comes when ole Dudders tries to climb back out – only to find that the glass has returned! If only they’d left him in there; he certainly belongs in a zoo.

 

#3 – An American Werewolf in London

How many zoos do you know that house werewolves? Or, for that matter, naked men? Well, according to An American Werewolf in London, London Zoo has both! After a night of rampaging around town as a werewolf, poor unfortunate American tourist David wakes up naked in the wolf cage at the zoo. If you thought seeing a monkey flinging its own poo around was the worst the zoo had to offer, try a naked American man stealing balloons from small children. London Zoo, everyone!

 

#2 – Withnail & I

From the ridiculous to the sublime for London Zoo, as surely there is no greater use of the location than in the rainy final scene of squalid British masterpiece Withnail & I. Having alienated even best friend ‘I’, Richard E. Grant’s self-destructive Withnail staggers to the border of the zoo, and in the pouring rain delivers a heart-wrenchingly honest rendition of Hamlet’s tragic “What a piece of work is a man!” speech to an audience of soggy, uncomprehending wolves, before walking away, sozzled and swaying; his wine bottle still in his hands. Perfect.

 

#1 – Zoo

Number one spot obviously goes to Zoo, the documentary about a man who visits a farm in America with the aim of receiving anal sex from a horse, only to then die of peritonitis due to perforation of the colon. Just so we’re clear about this; he was bummed to death by a stallion. His case raised the unfortunate profile of ‘bestiality’ as a pastime, and led to the passing of several new laws forbidding it. That it was ever not illegal in the first place is incredible, but better late than never. Well, except for in this case.

 

Sadly you can’t buy Zoo on the Best For Film Shop, because it’s a little obscure, and besides, we don’t like to encourage that sort of thing. If you’re feeling brave, you can Google the topic and see what comes up, but don’t blame us if you stumble across something unsavoury.

 

So, there you have it. If you can find a more memorable use of a zoo than that a man being bummed to death by a horse, then we’re afraid of you, but sound off below anyway.


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