Author: Billy Madden
Usually March is a time for studios to release movies without heavy competition. Also, it could be a time to release something “for the kids” while slightly violent action blockbusters trickle into the cinemas. Wonder Park made it to theaters shortly after the first big summer blockbuster of the year, Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, any parent looking for a movie appropriate for their kids, which would be a lighter option than a superhero movie, would be extremely disappointed.
Surprisingly, Wonder Park is pretty dark for a kid’s movie. Think along the lines of a cartoonish fantasy-like Jurassic Park. Wonder Park follows a girl whose mother’s declining health, coupled with the child’s imagination, creates creatures that try to kill her and her friends in Wonderland.
When June (voiced by Brianna Denski) tries to return home from a summer camp, she runs into Wonderland. June’s imagination dreamt up the theme park with crazy rides that would be impossible in real life. When June enters Wonderland, she realizes that since she has not thought of Wonderland in a while, things have taken a turn for the worst, in need of repair. With the help of her fictitious friends (brought to life in the movie), June is sent on a crazy adventure to defeat “the darkness” and bring happiness to the land she dreamt up.
Wonder Park’s animation is beautiful, with a choice of vibrant colors. Unfortunately, the movie has actual dark-tinted moments, which damper the art within the film.
Some parts of Wonder Park were confusing because the film never really revealed if the park was real and all the hijinx happened or if it was all just a huge daydream/nightmare for June. The movie has an Inception-Esq moment as it wraps up, which left me in a state of confusion.
For the kids who probably were just there for the cute sights of animals, it is fine as an hour and a half-distraction. The plot holes were frustrating for the adults in the audience trying to pay attention to the story. If you have already seen everything else in theaters, and are desperate to kill an hour and a half, check this film out. Otherwise, your time can easily be spent elsewhere.
Rated: PG (for some mild thematic elements and action)
Director: Dylan Brown
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Brianna Denski, Norbert Leo Butz, Ken Hudson Campbell
Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive.