Sometimes, what you expect a movie to be really does turn out to be true. Sometimes, what you see in the trailer is what you get in the actual movie (unless you’re Joe and Anthony Russo, who recently admitted that they use footage that will not be in the movies for their Avengers trailers).
Take Wonder Park, for instance – the trailer presents a family-oriented fun ride about a kid whose imaginary amusement park comes to life, and the actual movie delivers just that, and maybe a little bit extra, but not too much more.
There are no unexpected plot twists, no wicked turn of events, no causes to champion … just straightforward, wholesome, fare with a positive and heart-warming message that the whole family can enjoy. Well, if you have little children, the chimpanzombies might be a little scary (and probably why the film is rated PG in the United States).
It revolves around June (Brianna Denski), a wildly imaginative and creative kid (and a pretty nifty engineer as well) who builds an imaginary amusement park called Wonderland with her mother (Jennifer Garner) and father (Matthew Broderick). Unfortunately, her mother is taken ill and has to go away for a while, leaving June all alone and despondent. Unsurprisingly, June’s enthusiasm for Wonderland wanes, and she packs it all away.
Little does she know that the amusement park actually came to life (don’t ask me how, it’s probably magic) and since she gave up on it, Wonderland has fallen to disrepair, and its denizens – narcoleptic blue bear Boomer (Kevin Hudson Campbell), paranoid safety porcupine Steve (John Oliver), park handy-beavers Gus (Kenan Thompson) and Cooper (Ken Jeong), park manager warthog Great (Mila Kunis) and inventor/mascot Peanut the chimpanzee (Norbert Leo Butz) – are fighting for their survival against a mob of murderous chimpanzombies and a “Darkness” that threatens to consume the entire park.
No prizes for guessing what happens when June somehow ends up at the park.
Anyway, like I said, the movie isn’t too complicated and fairly predictable. If you were hoping for some Inside Out-level profoundness or the epicness of How To Train Your Dragon, you’d be sorely disappointed. Besides a few touching mother-daughter scenes that are guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings, Wonder Park is a fairly uncomplicated family-oriented animated feature that doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
The characters don’t stray far from standard smart-talking animal territory, the story follows a predictable but safe formula, and the animation is colourful and entertaining. Despite featuring some crazy and wildly imaginative amusement park rides, Wonder Park is hardly a rollercoaster of a movie, more like a leisurely carousel going round and round the usual animated feature tropes.
Heck, even the voice cast does just enough to keep things ticking with no real standout performance (besides maybe Oliver as Steve the safety porcupine, and that’s probably because he’s got a British accent and some decent lines).
That’s not to say it isn’t any good though. It’s still a pretty decent watch, and if you’ve got kids, this is perfect for a movie day for the whole family. Sometimes, that’s all a movie needs to be.
Just make sure your kids are not too scared by the chimpanzombies.
Voice cast: Brianna Denski, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Ken Hudson Campbell, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kath Soucie, Norbert Leo Butz, Kevin Chamberlin