I know the weather has been bizarre, to say the least, this week. And if you’re living in Minnesota, it’s like a nonstop rain shower with flooding everywhere. It’s too wet to be outside. So this is the perfect weekend to take the family out for a movie. And I have just the movie you should see! Wonder Park!!!
Peyton and I took in a screening of Wonder Park this past weekend and are ready to go see it again. I’m going to be honest before we saw the movie, I had a small idea of what it was about. I knew there was a little girl and a spectacular amusement park, but beyond that I was clueless. Peyton knew there were talking animals in the movie and that one of her favorite actors/comedians, Ken Jeong, was in the movie. She didn’t realize that some of her other favorites like Mila Kunis and Jennifer Garner are also in the film.
Wonder Park has a great cast. With a line up filled with Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz, Brianna Denski, and Ken Hudson Campbell you know this is going to be a good film.
So what’s the basis of Wonder Park? Well, I’m glad you asked. Wonder Park is a film about a little girl, June, and her incredible imagination that creates this magnificent amusement park called Wonderland. When we first meet June, she’s with her mother and they are in June’s bedroom creating the next incredible ride at Wonderland with the help of Peanut. They are laughing and having a splenderific time.
But one day, June’s mother becomes ill and has to go away for treatment. We never find out what this illness is or what the treatment was. Just that June’s mother doesn’t look very well and she has to leave for a while. June is devastated. She tried to carry on her love of creating and imagination while her mother is away but she can’t. June is having a hard time dealing with her emotions and processing them, especially with all things Wonderland throughout their home. So June decides to pack all of Wonderland up and put it away.
June becomes a little anxious and like a mother hen with her father. She seems to hover over him and stress that he won’t be able to take care of himself. However, June’s father is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He’s worried about Jane. He tries to get her to use her imagination and play with the children in the neighborhood but June refuses. Instead, she straightens up around the house and seems to have matured overnight into a mini-adult that is obsessed with an orderly house.
Then math camp rolls around. It’s something June has enjoyed before so her father makes sure she goes. June does put up a mild protest. She doesn’t think her father can make it without her. So she plots her escape from the bus and plans her route to get back home. But while June is running through the wood, taking a shortcut back to her home, she comes across an old roller coaster car. And guess what? It takes her to a run-down amusement park that is falling apart. It looked like it had been a magnificent amusement park at one time. Then June sees it. This is Wonderland! Or at least what is left of it.
June helps Peanut and the rest of the gang take back Wonderland and turn it back into the magnificent park that it once was. And while she is fixing the park she also seems to fix herself. She snaps out of the sadness that she had been in. The stress about her father and acting like a mini adult fade away. June becomes that creative little girl that dreamt up spectacular rides again. And she put Wonderland back together.
Once June fixes Wonderland, she heads home. When she gets there you can tell she is more light-hearted than when she left home for math camp. The old June is back! And she starts to put Wonderland back together. She even starts to create new rides! And the best part, June includes the neighborhood on this adventure. June and the neighborhood kids create a lifesize Wonderland in her yard! And then to top it off, June’s mom returns! She’s healthier and glowing.
It was a fun movie that really had a lot of moving parts. As a mom, I felt I picked up more on the feelings and subtle messages that were being addressed throughout the movie. For Peyton, she picked up on how June and her mom used to love to create Wonderland together but that when June’s mom went away she became sad and quit doing things she loved. I feel there is an opportunity here for those children that are dealing with a loved one that is ill, to help them find a way to express themselves or relate to what they are going through. But it’s also a fun family film that everyone can enjoy as well. There are many layers in this movie! And the best part is, you can make it what you want. If you want to go and enjoy a nice family film, you can do that. If you want it to lead into a conversation about emotions and processing feelings, it can be that too.
Wonder Park will be released nationwide, Friday, March 15th. Check your local theatre for times.