What is Wonder Park about?
If you are looking for a kids’ movie with an imaginative premise that isn’t a sequel, you’ll find it in Wonder Park. Celebrating the bond of mothers and daughters, eight-year-old June (the voice of Brianna Denski) and her mom (Jennifer Garner) together create a magical theme park straight from June’s imagination. Talking animals guide visitors through the park, and a monkey with a magic pen designs the park’s rides when he receives mom’s whispered instructions. June even designs a real roller coaster with the neighborhood kids, a frightening feat that shows off June’s engineering gifts.
The park of June’s fantasies is a splendiferous place. But when Mom gets sick and has to go away for treatment, June no longer wants to think about the park. The neighborhood kids are crushed. She dismantles any reminder of the park at home and starts obsessing about the health of her dad (Matthew Broderick). He encourages her to spend the summer at math camp (camp Awe Sum) with her friends. June reluctantly agrees, but then her worries about her dad cause her to stage an elaborate escape from the bus so that she can get back home.
She sets out on her journey home through a pristine forest, where she soon discovers something strange: an old rollercoaster car overgrown with vines. She sets the car in motion and soon discovers something amazing: Wonder Park is real! But things are going very wrong there. Cute little prize toys have become “chimpanzombies” and have started tearing the park to pieces and depositing the remnants into a strange purple swirling vacuum cloud that looms above the park.
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Thoughts about the movie
Wonder Park is its most heartfelt in the mother-daughter scenes displaying the sweet bond they share. It sparks to life when June snaps into “engineer” mode, creatively testing out ideas for her Wonder Park dream IRL, or seeking solutions to defeat the Chimpanzombies when she visits the park itself.
The movie may remind you of Inside Out, but Wonder Park doesn’t quite achieve the emotional connections of the Pixar movie throughout. The talking animals are cute and funny, especially comedian John Oliver as the voice of a highly strung porcupine, but they don’t capture our hearts the way Pixar movies manage to. Also don’t expect the dazzling visuals of How to Train Your Dragon 2.
But for matinee out at the movies for kids seven and up, Wonder Park may be just the thing you are looking for.