“Can we talk about what’s going on with you?” concerned Dad (voice of Matthew Broderick) asks daughter June. “No, we can’t,” says June (voice of Brianna Denski). “Can’t we talk about anything else, please?” Central character in this animated fantasy, June misses her mother, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, who must be away for many months. Together, they have invented “Wonderland,” a magic place where June’s cute animal toys are in charge. Now, June says, “Wonderland doesn’t exist — it never did!” That’s the setup for “Wonder Park.”
Does Wonderland exist only in June’s imagination? If so, what broken-down park does June discover in the deep woods? Can she bring this “real” Wonderland back to life? If you see “Wonder Park,” will you find answers? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Brianna Denski leads the voice cast as precocious, science-minded, 10-year-old June who, with her devoted mother — voice of Jennifer Garner — creates an amazing, make-believe amusement park. Grieving for her absent mother, June is reluctantly on her way to summer Math Camp when she bolts from the bus and encounters her toy animals, fully alive and working to save a (maybe) real amusement park in the woods. Led by a monkey named “Peanut” (Norbert Leo Butz), the animals include “Boomer” the bear (Ken Hudson Campbell), “Steve” the porcupine (John Oliver), “Greta” the warthog (Mila Kunis), and slap-happy beavers, “Cooper” and “Gus” (Ken Jeong, Kenan Thompson).
Others in the voice cast include Matthew Broderick as June’s loving father and Sofia Mali as young June. Dev Michael Urbas is June’s geeky, big-glasses neighborhood friend, Banky.
“Wonder Park” is a CGI animated adventure with three things most kids love: a plucky heroine, colorful and chaotic chase sequences, and funny talking animals. Unfortunately, “Wonder Park” does not have much else to offer. Missing is a logical narrative that older viewers can follow. Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Robert Gordon wrote “Wonder Park” and intend to tell (my best guess) June’s story: how an inventive and intelligent young girl, fearful that she will lose her beloved mother, worries that she will also lose her own creativity. “Wonderland,” lost in the woods and fallen into disrepair, represents both June’s mother and June’s own creative self. It’s a metaphor. Perhaps.
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and action, “Wonder Park” runs 85 minutes. Interestingly, no one is credited with being the film’s director. Maybe no one really knows what’s going on.
Animated “Wonder Park,”
Do you think it does exist?
Maybe yes, maybe no —
This movie, too, could be missed