Wonder Park – Film Review by Fran Winston
Directed by: Dylan Brown
Starring the voices of: Brianna Denski, Tom Baker, Joe Sugg, Casper Lee, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick
If you’re wondering how to keep the kids amused over the forthcoming Easter Break, fear not as there is a glut of “family friendly” fare due to hit our cinemas. This particular offering tells the story of a young girl June (Denski) who invents a magical amusement park called Wonder Park with her mother (Garner). The pair draw up blueprints and create wondrous stories about the adventures of the characters who inhabit it. However, when her mother falls ill June disconnects herself from their stories and even burns the blueprints. When she then gets lost in the woods, she is shocked to discover a broken down Wonderland as it had only ever been in her imagination. It is far from the magical place she created though as it is under attack from a storm cloud named Darkness and a terrifying gang of chimpanzombies – formerly the parks plush toys. Realising that she is responsible for this shift in the parks fortunes June works with the parks inhabitants to banish the treat and restore the park to the glory it enjoyed in her imagination.
This movie has already spawned a TV series which will debut on Nickelodeon this year. Obviously, pretty much every child loves amusement parks and cute animals so this ticks many boxes. However, unlike Disney Pixar offerings, which tend to be nuanced and layered affairs with more sophisticated humour for grown ups while ensuring that the kids are entertained, this is lacking in much that will appeal to the more mature section of the audience. While obviously adults aren’t the target market they will be sitting through this with the mini humans, so it would have been nice to incorporate something to engage them.
Also, the story is pretty pedestrian. Although it is poignant and heart-warming in parts it is nothing that we haven’t really seen before. The animation is great and this is extremely colourful and energetic which will prove wonderfully engaging for young viewers but overall it is a rather weak release in a genre that is offering ever more sophisticated fare.
This will prove a nice diversion for the kids for a while but it isn’t going to become a modern classic or a much loved must see childhood flick.