Wonder Park is a beautifully animated children’s film that’s out in time for the school holidays – but it’s not entirely what it seems.
The movie tells the story of tweenager June (Brianna Denski), who invents an imaginary amusement park, complete with fantastic rides and crazy creatures, with her mother (Jennifer Garner).
June’s Dad (Matthew Broderick) completes the happy family-of-three.
June’s relationship with her mother is pleasure to watch, and June herself is a little trailblazer of a character. With a passion for experiments and engineering, a vivid imagination, a ragged haircut and not a dress in sight, June is a refreshing, maths-camp-attending, portrayal of a little girl in 2019.
She also has an Indian best friend in her next door neighbour, Banky, which is a win for the story-line.
Combine this with animation that’s sophisticated, seamless, and beautiful to watch, and you have a film that draws the viewer in from the start.
Then a plot twist comes along (which, to be honest, is a little upsetting) and the movie takes on a slightly darker tone as June struggles to cope with what happens.
Eventually, June’s challenges force her into her own imaginary world – Wonderland, a replica of the park she created with her mum – which she finds, to her surprise, is closed for business. June then has to fight to re-open the park in her imagination; and if you think that’s a metaphor for her state of mind, it totally is.
WATCH: the trailer for Wonder Park. Post continues after.
If you’re concerned this all sounds a little heavy for children, don’t worry – much like Inside Out, which this film has been compared to, the more sophisticated concepts of dealing with sadness and finding your ‘wonder’ again will go over their heads – in a good way.
There’s enough colour, action and cute creatures to entertain the little ones, without them getting too involved in the subplot.