Wonder Park


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Wonder Park
"Attempting the fusion of psychological damage with cartoon sentimentality results in a mixture of what might have been and what doesn’t work any more."

Little ones respond to clarity like a chocolate flake in a vanilla cone. Complex storylines fuddle and muddle understanding to the point of screaming with the abdabs.

June is a girl who believes she has a mission in life, to make Wonderland real without wrecking the neighborhood. This makes sense once you understand that Wonder Park is in her back garden, empty now and in ruins when in the old days it was run by the animals and proved popular with local children.

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June’s self assignment is to bring the animals back, build new rides, announce the resurrection of Wonderland and wait for the children to return. There are a couple of problems however - at least two, probably masses:

1. Wonderland is an invention of June’s imagination.
2. Her mum has cancer and will soon go into hospital.

The animals are the characters, the monkey, the bear, the porcupine, the beaver brothers, a boar called Greta, who acts as manager. As time passes and June’s mum starts chemo, things become sad and a Darkness sucks them in and they are attacked, even overwhelmed, by chimpanzombies.

June, now called Junebug, can no longer control the way things are going. She created The Darkness but cannot stop its encroachment. The real world (Mum’s illness) and the Wonderworld (the fun park) have been torn asunder by the chimpanzombies. What they need is a new beginning, comprehension at the very least.

Attempting the fusion of psychological damage with cartoon sentimentality results in a mixture of what might have been and what doesn’t work any more. June’s relationship with the animals whom she has created from the wishlists in her mind has a reality that feels genuine as the chimpanzombies and The Darkness does. Home without mum is worse but similar except there are no memories to soften the impact.

Wonder Park ls animation by a team of grown ups. You feel their logic like a block of ice before the heat of the day has destroyed it. The plot rejects fantasy, or rather allows it to linger in the shadows where it can do no harm. Mum is the engine. She must get well or Wonderland is ruined forever. Junebug hears the call, “You are the wonder of Wonderland!” Are they singing about the film or then girl?

They are singing about the girl. And it’s true. She can lighten The Darkness. She can save her mother’s life. No, that’s going too far.

She can make the unreal real.

Reviewed on: 04 Apr 2019
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Wonder Park packshot
A girl with a sick mum tries to fix a hidden amusement park.
Amazon link

Director: No designated director

Writer: Josh Applebaum, André Nemec

Starring: Voices of, Brianna Denski, Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz.

Year: 2019

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Spain, US


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