Wonder Park

Wonder Park

In Theatres: 
Mar 15, 2019
Running Time: 
85 minutes

At first glance I thought Wonder Park looked like just another typical animated kids movie filled with cute animals packed into a colorful setting as I found there to be nothing too special or wonder-inducing about its trailers. But that all changed within 10 minutes of watching the film as the bigger picture gets unveiled much like a new ride at your favorite theme park. Wonder Park is a magical film that pushes kids and adults alike to embrace creativity and let your imagination run wild.


Mrs. Bailey (Jennifer Garner) always encouraged her daughter June (Brianna Denski) to dream big, and together they dreamt up their own theme park, Wonderland. In charge of the park was the chimpanzee Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz), who possessed a magical marker that could create whatever ride Mrs. Bailey whispered into his ear. With the help of Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell) the bear, Greta (Mila Kunis) the boar, Steve (John Oliver) the porcupine, and beaver brothers Gus (Kenan Thompson) and Cooper (Ken Jeong), Wonderland was the ideal dream world. But when Mrs. Bailey gets sick and has to go away for treatment, June believes that she has to immediately grow up and packs Wonderland and everything her and her mom build away in storage. In an attempt to get June to do something fun again, Mr. Bailey (Matthew Broderick) signs her up for camp, but on the way there she gets lost in the forest and stumbles upon the Wonderland from her imagination, only the theme park has become abandoned and taken over by the darkness. With the help of Boomer and the rest of her animal friends, June must find a way to turn Wonderland back on and return it to its magical state once again.


I went into Wonder Park expecting this light kids movie so I was caught by surprise when Mrs. Bailey gets sick in the opening act, in essence becoming the entire driving force in the film. In the beginning we see June as this creative and optimistic young girl where nothing seems too high or out of reach. But then once her mom gets sick she retreats and see that the world isn’t always such a happy place. The film deals with some very realistic situations and doesn’t shy away or mask how terrifying they might be. In fact, one of its main themes is how sometimes we need to embrace the darkness to find the light within us. I was surprised at how deep this kids movie could get at times.


Furthermore, June herself is an inspiration to little girls everywhere. There’s one scene where she has to rebuild a bridge and rigs together this giant broken machine to fix it. It’s a heartwarming and empowering scene that showcases June’s ingenuity and steadfastness. The whole film is filled with other little moments like these as well.


Wonder Park is sure to bring wonder and amazement to kids everywhere, but it also embraces some of life’s darker moments. It’s a great balance of the two and still ends on a high note so there’s nothing to worry about. The film teaches kids that it’s okay to be sad but also to never give up on their creative spirit.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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