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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wonder Park is an animated adventure about an imaginative girl named June (voiced by Brianna Denski), who's spent years dreaming up a magical amusement park named Wonderland with her mom (Jennifer Garner). Their fancies become reality when June stumbles across a rundown version of the park deep in the woods and must help its animal custodians save it from destruction. As a result, she and her friends do battle against hordes of weapons-wielding "chimpanzombies" (which look cute but have murderous intentions) and try to protect the park from getting broken apart and sucked up into scary purple clouds of darkness. So you can expect plenty of action (including explosions, peril, and more), as well as the looming presence of worry and sadness, since June is dealing with the fact that her mom has a serious illness. There are a couple of flirty comments ("I burn for you, baby!") and one quick kiss; language is limited to one "oh, jeez" and a couple of swearing stand-ins like "son of a woodchuck." The film celebrates imagination, curiosity, and perseverance and underlines the importance of not letting fear stop you from being yourself and doing what you love.
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What's the story?
In WONDER PARK, June (voiced by Brianna Denski) loves nothing better than spending time with her devoted mom (Jennifer Garner), dreaming up amazing new rides for their imaginary theme park, Wonderland. Run by talking animals and boasting attractions that defy the laws of physics, Wonderland is the most magical place a kid could think of. June, who's daring and creative, also leads a pack of neighborhood kids in trying to build real-life backyard roller coasters, sometimes with disastrous results. But nothing sets her back for long -- until her mom tells her that she has a serious illness and needs to go away to seek treatment. Scared and anxious, June retreats into herself, putting away all things related to Wonderland and obsessing about the health and safety of her dad (Matthew Broderick). Then she stumbles across an old, rundown theme park in the woods that appears to be ... Wonderland. Before she can figure out what's going on, she's caught up in the struggle to save the park from hordes of axe- and sword-wielding "chimpanzombies," which are deconstructing the park and feeding it, piece by piece, to a looming purple storm cloud that hovers in the sky above Wonderland. Can June and the Wonderland animal hosts win out against the darkness?
Is it any good?
This colorful animated adventure celebrates the power of imagination and love, but it's also darker and more intense than the trailers and ads would suggest. Whimsical details and slapstick humor abound, to be sure, but at its heart, Wonder Park is a story about a girl who's dealing with some pretty big, scary stuff. Which could be helpful for the right kids in the right circumstances, but if you go into it expecting a breezy comedy, you're likely to be taken aback.
Still, the movie's premise is original (though it's a mystery why it wasn't just called Wonderland, since that's what the park is named), and the voice cast is good. Denski is earnest and enthusiastic as June, Garner -- no surprise -- nails the role of a caring mom, and Mila Kunis and John Oliver ably lead Wonderland's crew of talking animals. Oliver, in particular, gets the movie's best laughs as uptight porcupine Steve. It's also nice to see a tween girl character with a passion for engineering and problem-solving. Just be ready for the movie's heavier aspects before you step up to the turnstiles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Wonder Park deals with June's worry and fear about her mom. Why does she put away all of the Wonderland stuff she has at home? Have you ever felt afraid to tell others about what you were thinking/feeling? Why?
Have you ever tried to create anything that you first dreamed up in your imagination? How did it go? Who helped you?
Which parts of the movie were scary to you? Why? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?
- In theaters: March 15, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: June 18, 2019
- Cast: Brianna Denski, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, Matthew Broderick
- Director: David Feiss
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Perseverance
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild thematic elements and action
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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