By Trina Boice
Republished with permission from The Movie Review Mom.
WHAT’S WONDER PARK ABOUT?
Wonder Park is an animated film about a young girl who is encouraged to be very creative. She and her mother build an imaginary theme park until her mother becomes ill and has to leave for unexplained medical help. The girl falls into depression until something magical happens to her theme park.
IS IT ANY GOOD? C
Wonder or blunder? Well, it’s very creative and colorful, but an annoying mess. I couldn’t wait for it to end. The original director was fired towards the end of the movie, which explains a lot. I understand what the film was trying to do. It had great intentions. It just didn’t do it well.
The sickness and sadness have about a five-second, very subtle montage. It’s understandable that they didn’t want to dwell on it, but if children blink, they’ll miss it and not understand what’s happening. The little girl wallows in grief, but has some personal growth. It seems like an unsuccessful attempt at imitating the successful movie Inside Out.
On the positive side, the cast is delightful with the voice talents of Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, Sofia Mali, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Tom Baker, Ken Hudson Campbell, and Ken Jeong. Unfortunately, most of the characters are one-dimensional.
There is some whimsical fun and a couple of short musical moments.
There aren’t any scary villains, but instead, a bunch of cute little monkeys called Chimpan-zombies. Luckily, they don’t look like zombies. Why isn’t the movie called “Wonderland”, since that’s what it’s called IN the movie?
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS? (RATED PG)
If your kids like roller coasters, they’ll really like the Rube Goldberg constructions and action in the film.
It’s wonderful to see the mom play with her daughter and encourage her creativity. June (the little girl) does some really dangerous things at the beginning of the movie that causes destruction to her neighbors’ property, but she doesn’t get punished by her parents at all.
The characters use a lot of big words that young children won’t understand. No profanity, although there are made-up words to sound like characters are swearing. One of the creatures says, “What the chuck?” as if that’s supposed to be funny. Come on people, if you’re going to create a kid’s movie, don’t encourage our kids to imitate bad behavior or language. Not funny. Another creature says, “Such a woman…those ‘Come hither tusks.” Not cool. Another creature slaps another creature really hard. Many times. Stop it already.
A kid mentions he can’t start his day without drinking coffee.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
The film addresses the painful subject of having a very sick parent and the uncertainty of the outcome, especially how it affects a worried child. Other themes include:
- Creativity and imagination
- “You keep that little light inside you shining bright.” – Mom (Jennifer Garner)
- “You are the wonder.” – Mom
- Fighting against the darkness (loneliness and sadness)
- Don’t be so afraid of something that you lose yourself.
- “Maybe the darkness will always be there. Look at the light that surrounds us.” – June (Sofia Mali)