Fun for the little ones: Rashid Irani reviews Wonder Park
Splendiferous is a word the little protagonist uses often, and it certainly applies to the lush visuals of Wonder Park. Viewers in the target, single-digit age group are likely to be enchanted. Grown-ups are likely to spend their time in slumberland.
Here’s the plot: A plucky 12-year-old (voiced by newcomer Brianna Denski) stumbles upon an abandoned amusement park. It appears that she had actually conceived the ‘Wonderland’ in her imagination when she was a child. It’s now falling apart, so she sets off on a rollercoaster odyssey to save it from destruction and bring it back to life, with the help of some animal friends.
There is a semblance of emotional connect between the youngster and her parents (Jennifer Garner-Matthew Broderick), but any sense of true wonderment is missing from the proceedings.
The animated fantasy flick had a troubled production history that probably didn’t help. The original director, Pixar veteran Dylan Brown, was fired following allegations of sexual misconduct. Subsequently, the credit titles only emphasise the contributions of the three writers who wrote the story / script.
Though the principal characters in the film are somewhat bland, they’re compensated for by a talented supporting voice cast including Mila Kunis as a warthog, John Oliver as a porcupine and Ken Hudson Campbell as a sheepish blue bear. What really helps is the concise 90-minute runtime. Wonder Park doesn’t have the time to wear out its welcome.