Film Review: Wonder Park

09:11 March 18, 2019
By: David Vicari

I recently reviewed the third How the Train Your Dragon movie and I really do consider it to be one of the best computer-animated features ever made – in both its visual and story. Sometimes, however, we get a sub-par animated film like Wonder Park. Now, the animation in the film is fine, but it fails when it comes to story, plot, and characters. 

Imaginative little girl, June (voice of Brianna Denski), creates a fantastical amusement park in her mind. The place, which she names Wonder Park, is run by an assortment of animals. June's partner in crime in coming up with wild rides for the park is her mom (Jennifer Garner), who is suddenly hit with a mysterious illness. While escaping Math Camp, a distraught June finds a rundown amusement park deep in the woods. Of course, it comes to life as Wonder Park, complete with all her animal friends. However, the park has been consumed by “Darkness” and overrun by evil chimp dolls.

Most of Wonder Park is loud and chaotic as the characters evade the little chimps throughout the park. The idea of a narcoleptic bear (Ken Hudson Campbell) is kind of funny and a couple of beavers (Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong) have a few amusing lines, but the characters here are generally bland. 

Then there is the park's MC, a chimpanzee named Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz). There is something inherently creepy about the facial expressions of this character. It's as if Peanut knows that the rise of the Planet of the Apes is imminent and just can't wait to take over the world. 

Wonder Park seems forced in its emotional display. The feelings of loss and loneliness that are heartfelt in animated films like Toy Story 2and Up just come off as cheap in Wonder Park.     

** out of four

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