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Wonder Park Movie Review – Stay Out of The Darkness

A creative girl has to learn to believe in her abilities.

Mar 15, 2019
Wonder Park Movie Review – Stay Out of The Darkness - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Mar 15, 2019
( Rating: 3 Star Rating)

Kidzworld saw Wonder Park. Is its creativity and action enough to hold your interest? Are there a few flaws that make the story unbelievable? Check out our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

Wonder Park tells the story of Wonderland, a colorful amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative tween named June (voices of Sofia Mali and later Brianna Denski) comes alive. After June suffers a trauma, she puts all of her park-related toys etc. away. When in the woods, she climbs inside an abandoned roller coaster car and is transported to a real life version of her park. It has fallen into disrepair, the inhabitants are fighting one another and The Darkness that descended when June abandoned her creation is consuming everything. Can she help her friends rebuild before it’s too late?

Wonder Park Trailer

June creates a Wonderland rideJune creates a Wonderland rideCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Creation

Young June and her mom (voice of Jennifer Garner) create Wonderland, an amazing, imaginary amusement park with hosts and workers that are animals based on June’s stuffed animal collection. There are Greta (Mila Kunis) a warthog, Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell), a bear, Steve (John Oliver), a porcupine, beaver brothers Cooper (Ken Jeong) and Gus (Kenan Thompson) and others.

With the aid of June's mom's voice, Peanut createsWith the aid of June's mom's voice, Peanut createsCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The animal who carries out all of mom and June’s plans for the park is Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz), a chimp who does what mom says when she whispers instructions into his ear (the stuffed animal’s ear that is).

June and her mom are partners in creativityJune and her mom are partners in creativityCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

SkyFlinger and More

The newest ride created for the imaginary park is the SkyFlinger which literally flings park visitors across the park inside clear plastic orbs. They are caught at the other end. This Wonderland “game” includes plans, models and more that inhabit most of the house. Dad (Matthew Broderick) makes June get to bed where she asks “What if Wonderland is Real?” Mom tells her she can make it so. June teams up with her neighborhood pals to build an actual roller coaster in the hood and it’s fun but dangerous and, on testing, nearly wrecks the neighborhood. Mom is impressed with the creativity but tells June to be safe!

June and pals build a ride in the neighborhoodJune and pals build a ride in the neighborhoodCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Sad News

Mom isn’t feeling well and has to go away to see specialists who think their treatment can help her. June is freaked out but mom tells her to remember that she is the wonder in Wonderland. After mom leaves, June goes into a funk, takes down all of the Wonderland models, packs away her stuffed animals and won’t play with the neighborhood kids who are trying to suggest new rides, etc. For June, Wonderland is over. She burns the plans in the fireplace but we see that some of the pieces float out the chimney and away…somewhere. With mom still gone, dad decides to distract June by sending her all summer to Math Camp. She reluctantly goes but decides that her dad can’t really take care of himself without mom and needs her. She manages to get off the bus and starts walking through a woods headed for home.

June worries that mom is sickJune worries that mom is sickCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Real Wonderland

Chasing a piece of her original plans that blow past her on the wind, June finds a vine-covered roller coaster car that appears to have been on its vine-covered track a long time.

June sees the scrap of her blueprintJune sees the scrap of her blueprintCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

She gets in and is whisked off to a real version of her creation but, it looks old and in great disrepair. In its streets she sees real versions of her host animals on the run toward her. Boomer tells her to run. Suddenly thousands of the park’s normally benign little mascot dolls based on chimps are chasing them. Boomer calls them chimpanzombies and they are destroying the park.

June in the roller coaster seatJune in the roller coaster seatCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Darkness

June learns that a clockwork system in the park stopped when The Darkness came. It appears as a giant cloud hanging over the park ominously. That is when things stopped working aided by the now evil chimpanzombies who have been taking the park apart and feeding the pieces to The Darkness. June tells her animal friends that she and her mom created the park. Maybe she can fix the clockwork system. After several chases and narrow escapes from the hordes of chimpanzombies, June learns that she can’t go home. All the exits are locked by the malfunctioning clockwork system.

June with her animal friendsJune with her animal friendsCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

June to the Rescue

June reasons that if she ever wants to go home, it is up to her to save the park. After a struggle to get to the system, June realizes that it is more detailed and complicated than what she designed. She can’t figure out how to get it working again. Various tries separate her from the others and she ends up in Zero G Land where she floats without gravity and finds Peanut hiding.

June finds Peanut hidingJune finds Peanut hidingCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

He feels useless. He doesn’t hear the voice that used to whisper in his ear telling him what to do so he’s alone but safe….uh not really. The chimpanzombies have followed June to his hiding place.

Save Peanut

June gets away and rejoins her animal friends but Peanut is captured by the chimpanzombies. June realizes that she is the one who created The Darkness when she gave up on the park and became depressed after her mom got ill. This is all her fault! The animals are disappointed in her and walk away. She cries but remembers that mom said she was the wonder in Wonderland. She regains her confidence and formulates a plan to rescue Peanut and get the park going again. Can she succeed? Will her mom ever get well? Will Peanut feel useful again? Will June ever feel truly creative again?

Did June create The Darkness?Did June create The Darkness?Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Wrapping Up

Wonder Park is full of really colorful and creative production designs and energetic, well-animated chases and narrow escapes but the story has a few logic holes and takes quite a while to really get started. Yes, it is about a fantasy world but in the real world there are some behavioral things regarding June’s mom that make no sense. Can’t say more without a spoiler! 

The neighborhood is interested in June's creationThe neighborhood is interested in June's creationCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Voice acting is competent if not sparkling. Most memorable for me is John Oliver as porcupine Steve.

Porcupine StevePorcupine SteveCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The film celebrates our sense of wonder and imagination whether we are a kid, teen or adult and that’s cool. It encourages all of us to create positive things in our minds, then bring them to life even if we have emotional obstacles along the way. You might identify with creative young June. Despite the really worthy message, there’s a certain spark missing here however so we award three stars.

Wonder Park Movie Rating: 3

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
 

See Wonder Park in theaters March 15th

How About You?

Do you design fantasy worlds? Do you wish you could actually build them? Have you let depressing incidents in your life steal your creativity? There is a lot to share here so leave a comment and/or express your opinions and feelings on your Kidzworld profile page!