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MOVIE REVIEW

Wonder Park

also known as “Carovný Park,” “Cong Vien Ky Dieu,” “Csodapark,” “Drømmeparken,” “Drömparken,” “El Parque Mágico,” “Ihmeiden puisto,” “Le parc des merveilles,” “Mucizeler Parki,” “O Parque dos Sonhos,” See more »
MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for some mild thematic elements and action.

Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Kids • Family
Genre:
Animation Adventure Comedy Family 3D
Length:
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
March 15, 2019 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
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Relevant Issues
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Don’t let difficult circumstances in your life destroy you

Don’t give in to fear

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

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Avoiding depression and loss of hope

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer

About hope and faith

Keep the light of God keep shining in you, and turn away from darkness.

How does our Enemy use fear to try to destroy us?

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan A REAL PERSON that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in counteracting followers of Christ? Answer

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Doubts

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—Why are there bad things in our world? Answer

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Creativity

Value your sense of imagination and creativity—they are God given traits and abilities

We are made in the image of God, Who is awesomely CREATIVE.

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Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Brianna DenskiCameron “June” Bailey (voice)
Jennifer GarnerMrs. Bailey, June’s mother (voice)
Ken Hudson CampbellBoomer (voice)—a narcoleptic blue bear
Kenan ThompsonGus (voice), a beaver
Mila KunisGreta (voice), a wild pig
John OliverSteve (voice), a porcupine
Ken JeongCooper (voice), a beaver
Norbert Leo ButzPeanut (voice), a chimpanzee
Matthew BroderickMr. Bailey, June’s father (voice)
See all »
Director: David Feiss
Clare Kilner
Robert Iscove
Producer: Ilion Animation Studios [Spain]
Midnight Radio
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Distributor: Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.
Paramount Pictures Corporation

June Bailey is an imaginative girl. She and her Mom (voice of Jennifer Garner) spend time together imagining ideas for their pretend amusement park called “Wonderland.” In the meantime, June and her friends spend time trying to build possible amusement park rides. Doesn’t that sound like a fun way to spend summer break? Well, if some catastrophe and trouble along the way is what you had in mind.

One day, June’s mom receives news of terminal illness over the phone. She decides to temporarily leave home to visit doctors who can help give her the treatment she needs. With Mom gone, June decides to put away “Wonderland” and focus more on helping take care of the house.

Later on, June goes on a trip to a summer camp with her friends. While at a pit stop, June wanders into the woods and finds an abandoned roller coaster car. Riding it on an unknown track, she stumbles onto the theme park she designed. It’s become real. How on Earth is this possible?

Entertainment Quality

“Wonder Park” definitely is a fun movie for kids. There’s plenty of high-speed, amusement ride segments that succeed in delighting young thrill-seekers. The animation is colorful and full of neat little touches here and there. An extended segment in a zero-gravity room, as well as a raft ride down “firework falls,” stand out as major highlights. (Some fast-paced action sequences feature quick-moving camerawork that might lead to some motion sickness for younger, more sensitive viewers.)

As June, newcomer Brianna Denski provides a handful of solidly-emotional moments. Garner is the perfect choice for June’s mother, giving her a believably maternal tone. Matthew Broderick proves to be a strong choice for the voice of June’s dad, and the voice cast for the animals is solid, too. Mila Kunis impresses in her voice acting debut, and Ken Hudson Campbell is the stand-out as the sleepy, somewhat anxious bear Boomer.

The characters are colorful and witty. The introductory set-up and first act are very nicely done. The intro paces well, and the situation with the mother’s illness is handled tastefully and subtly enough considering the film’s target audience. Especially in the first half-hour, the emotional moments succeed in tugging at heartstrings. Oscar® winner Steven Price’s music score is great, as well.

There are several scenes where their dialog may move at too quick a pace. There are a handful of moments where I found it difficult to understand exactly what they were trying to say. Overall, I feel the script rushes things at too frenetic a pace. There are almost no real slowdown moments in the film, and most emotional moments are rushed through without giving much time for viewers to process them.

There are several great jokes in the script, which hit their mark at all the right points. The only material that falls flat are the lines given to beaver twins Gus and Cooper (voiced by comedians Ken Jeong and Kenan Thompson). I only wish they were given better jokes.

Positive Messages

The main message of the film is to not let tough life circumstances destroy us. We hear over and over, “keep your light shining,” as well as “don’t give in to fear”. These are both very strong Biblical messages. The idea of keeping your light shining reminds me of a verse in Matthew

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16

The truth is, life brings its share of sadness and sorrow. It’s a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. It may surprise us in good ways and bad ways.

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Sometimes, bad things in life, if we’re not careful, can open doors to depression, fear, anger, and other ways Satan can try to steal our joy. It’s up to us to weather the storms of life (with Jesus’ help, of course), and to remain a “light” for Him in a dark world. This film reminds us over and over again, to always look for the light around us in the midst of darkness.

About despair, fear and hope

In the meantime, it’s confirmed in 2 Timothy that fear and worry are not from God…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7

Meanwhile, June’s mom is an excellent example of a loving, kind and caring parent. Both of June’s parents love and support her. And when June’s invention causes a bit of catastrophe, they rightly discipline her and encourage the importance of being safe.

Family Answers HOME page
Parenting and Family Questions and Answers

Besides all of that, there is another strong message on the importance of creativity and using the gifts God gave us. Ephesians lets us know that we are all uniquely created to glorify God in different ways.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” —Ephesians 2:10

Content of Concern

Adult Content: Steve the Porcupine (John Oliver) admits his attraction to Greta the Warthog (Mila Kunis) and comments on her “come-hither tusks.” At the end, Greta gives him a kiss on the cheek. A friend of June’s obviously has an innocent crush on her, and he faints when she blows a kiss in his direction. Other than these, there are no sexual innuendos or inappropriate jokes.

While tastefully-handled, the ideas of a family member’s terminal illness, difficult life changes, and depression are discussed. Parents of younger kids might need to be prepared to discuss these ideas after the movie.

ORIGIN OF BAD THINGS—Why are they in our world? Answer

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if OVERWHELMED WITH DEPRESSION? Answer

Language: One of the beaver twins exclaims, “What the chuck?!” as a wink to an obscene exclamation. “Oh my gosh”, “oh crikey” and “holy teesy tips!” are the only other exclamations of concern.

Violence: Characters tumble and fall from various heights, and rides break apart. June and a friend ride a homemade rollercoaster car into traffic, into the air and all around the neighborhood, causing some property damage. Some objects are thrown into a swirling dark purple mass called “the darkness.” Chimpanzee dolls come to life by the darkness (they are called “chimpanzombies”) and cause some catastrophes here and there. Porcupine quills are stabbed and shot repeatedly. June imagines how her dad could possibly mess up everything around the house while she’s gone, including blowing the roof off the house and setting things on fire.

Other: As a distraction, June’s friend fakes throwing up by making noises (and throwing a bunch of orange jell-o on a bus floor), grossing the other kids out. June makes a few negative choices here and there. For example, the ride she makes with her friends is without adult supervision. She also runs away from her summer camp troop and sets out on her own without an adult. Someone exclaims, “Thank Krishna!”

Drugs/Alcohol: None

Conclusion

It’s nice to have a movie that encourages kids to use their imagination and to be creative. And this movie wears that message on its sleeve, in addition to having some unique and innovative touches of its own. Original and creative ideas for animated films are becoming increasingly in short supply, as Hollywood has become so much more reliant on sequels and remakes (both in animation and live-action).

“Wonder Park” is a flawed movie. It tries really hard to be fun with an emotional core, but the script and pacing definitely could have used more work. It resorts to weak dialog at times, and it’s too fast-paced in its second and third acts. I came in hoping this would be one of those great animated films that could appeal to all ages. And when I left, I realized it fell short. It’s a pretty good kids’ movie, with great animation and some good laughs. But, it doesn’t quite have the multiple-generation appeal of various films in the Pixar/Disney line-up.

On a more positive note, there are some strong Biblical messages here that definitely can resonate with all ages. And, with the exception of some rollercoaster-style action and a few mature themes that may require discussion, it’s one of the cleanest movies I’ve seen in quite some time.

So, while “Wonder Park” doesn’t hit the bullseye of an animated classic, but it’s still a solid choice if you’re looking for a movie night distraction for the kids.

  • Violence: Mild
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Minor
  • Sex: Minor
  • Nudity: None
  • Occult: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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