In a bag of candy, there is almost always one type nobody likes: the orange one which tastes like vitamin C. However, there is always that one kid that loves orange sweets. Just like orange candy, Wonder Park is not everyone’s favourite, but to some, it’s a yummy orange sweet.
Wonder Park follows young imaginative girl June (voiced by Brianna Denski) and her mother (voiced by Jennifer Garner) as they create an imaginary amusement park called Wonderland. June has a very special relationship with her mother, and it gives her the confidence to venture into creating crazy inventions and keeping her “inner light”. However, when June’s mother gets very sick and has to leave, June stops caring about Wonderland, and it seems like her light has been put out. That is until she stumbles onto the somehow real Wonderland.
The concept of the plot is very appealing to most young children and adults whose “light” has not been put out, even though it is not an entirely new one.
The plot does have several faults that adults will definitely pick up on, such as June heading to math camp and escaping from the bus after it stops, without teachers doing a head count and realising she is missing, or the fact that the film is called Wonder Park while the actual theme park in the movie is called Wonderland.
However, perhaps the biggest issue with the film is the flimsy connection between what happens to Wonderland and how June feels after she finds out her mother is sick. This would have been the grounding aspect of the film and its main cornerstone; however, the filmmakers seem to have not thought it through. This makes the concept, and the entire movie, deeply flawed, and takes away from what could have been an amazing animated feature.
On the other hand, the film’s depiction of the relationship between June and her mother, the message of savouring one’s inner light and imagination, and how children deal with trauma is heartwarming.
Wonder Park’s animation was also marvellous with extremely colourful everything and detailed depictions of all of June’s imagined fantasies. All these elements really do bring the film to life.
As for the acting, Brianna Denski does an excellent job embodying the vibrant character that is June and was also able to show the change of attitude when June found out about her mother’s illness. Jennifer Garner also does a fantastic job with a supportive and nurturing voice that make audiences want her to be their mother.
Some may see that Wonder Park’s flaws are wiped away by its heartwarming message and lovely main characters, while others may just see the real pros and cons of the film, and find its flaws far too big for them to enjoy it. If you are an imaginative dreamer with your head in the clouds, then Wonder Park is for you.