Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures collaborated to release their third animated film, “Wonder Park”, directed by Dylan Brown. Their first and second films were “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2001) and “Barnyard” (2006). On the other hand, it’s not a twist if “Wonder Park” can exceed the viewers’ expectations. Bottom line, it’s about Brianna Denski as June, a charming young girl who has a high imagination. June likes to assemble things with her friends to create a homemade playground. Not the Jackass style. She and her parents juggled their home into a playground, the Wonderland. It’s the same with June’s imagination. However, one day, June suddenly lost in a playground so far only in her imagination.
“Wonder Park” takes many references from other fantasy works. You can take it as “Spirited Away”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. You take a fantasy film and smash everything into one of the most pretentious animated films of the year. I mean, if you say so if this is an exaggerated movie because this is for kids. The first five to ten minutes slightly inspired by “Up”. They introduced us to June and her mother who gave her imagination and helped her assemble the Wonderland. It’s not Wonder Park by the way because the movie never mentions Wonder Park. Instead, it’s Wonderland.
While the first ten minutes inspired by “Up”, the movie feels unclear and stiff to it. We don’t know why her mother fell ill and what exactly the disease. Until the end, I just hope that her mother’s fate would be like Fredericksen’s wife in the end. But, it’s not because they might think it’s just too dark for kids. I mean, “Up” works pretty well both for kids and adults. And the first ten minutes also got me with “The Tree of Life” vibes because of the steady shot.
Fantasy theme like this have been many and have variants. I can also call this as “Amagi Brilliant Park” but not anime. A kid who has problems in reality. However, she entered the realm of fantasy, learned about identity, and being mature. “Wonder Park” is indeed like an animated film in general and everyone can watch it. This film specially made only for children, with its comical yet goofy character, and ridiculous storyline. Although like that, people pushed the movie because of the budget. Yeah, most of the animators work harder than the screenwriter. What’s more, the movie needs three screenwriters but somehow the writing just dazzles me. Don’t say it again that this film is only for children.
All of the characters are just one dimensional except the protagonist, June. The supporting goofy characters are just there with no characteristic at all. Sometimes, the movie gives us humor. However, it’s just unfunny, especially John Oliver as the over-the-top-notch comic relief. Every time he spits something, we take a shot. But, it’s a comedy and comedy is subjective, right? How many times have I heard that statement? Similar with an “if you don’t like, then leave it” kind of statement and argument. But, anyway, the protagonist is kind of makes me sympathetic because of her situation and her mother.
Apart from all the shortcomings, “Wonder Park” is a pretty decent movie for kids and a free spectacle for families. It’s the lack of anything. The lack of screenplay, direction, and “quality” don’t seem like this is a worse movie of the year. It’s not and people just exaggerate it. But, this is the most forgettable movie of the year.
2.5 out of 5 stars.