Wonder Park is filled with how a child’s imagination can be hindered by loss but can be rekindled with a little hope and a lot of love.
This is a story about a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative, young girl, Jane, comes to life. This is also the story about Jane (Brianna Denski) and her family and how she has to deal with some hardships that come their way and how it affects the way she feels about the amusement park that had been so much a part of her and her mother (Jennifer Garner).
Wonder Park touches on family illness and how it affects the mind of a child. Because big and small influences can weigh on a child’s mind in many different ways, one of which is how their imagination works and how it might disappear in the face of a stressful situation. This movie is a great lead-in to talking to a child about illness and the effects of it on a family as a whole. I actually overheard a very young girl, about 4, who had viewed the movie at the same time as my family, ask her mother after the movie many hard questions that the mother did not seem prepared for. In fact, that mother seemed surprised that her daughter seemed to have caught on to some of the concepts that the movie introduced. Though from the girl’s questions, I was able to tell she did not fully understand the full impact of the movie’s ideas, she was inquisitive enough to ask for more information. And it was nice to see how easily the questions came.
My children thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and also understood the movie’s intent, they have lost both of their grandfathers to illness. My eldest easily gave this movie 8.5 stars out of 10. He enjoyed the theme park the most and since he is my creative child, he was so ready to go build his own version of an amusement park when he got home. My other two were torn between 9’s and 9.5’s. My middle child just loved the chimpanzombies. Yes, he is a zombie fan, so there was no question what his favorite was. However, being also an excitement junkie, he also loved when the movie showed an almost first-hand view of traveling down rollercoasters. My youngest just loved the whole thing. But he became an absolute cuddler by the end. He is my more sensitive child, even if he doesn’t act it and he just needed to feel like we were there for him after watching what June went through.
I give the movie 9.5 most definitely, mostly for the emotions that it pulled out of me. It wasn’t the greatest animated movie I have seen but it definitely pulls at the heartstrings. My husband, who is less emotionally invested in films, was disappointed in the movie and thought it could have been better. He thought it was a bit childish, almost too young for the child that June was supposed to be when she stumbled into the park. All in all, he gave it a reluctant 7 out of 10 stars.
Are you planning to see Wonder Park with your kids? Are you going to use it for a teaching opportunity to explain a family member’s sickness? Let me know in the comments below.