A story about dealing with an impending loss against the backdrop of a brightly colored amusement park – this adventurous mixture works in the animated film Wonder Park very excellent. We reveal why in our review.
Little June (in the USA version: Lena Meyer-Landrut) is a bright young girl with a blooming imagination and imagination who is building a model of an amusement park with her mother. Until one day she has to go to the hospital. June’s world collapses. But then a little later she discovers a magical amusement park in the middle of the forest – the Wunder Park! In addition to exciting roller coasters and talking animals, it also offers everything else your heart desires. But something is wrong here, there is chaos and the park seems to be in danger. June quickly realizes that this wonderful place was created by her own imagination and that only she can save it. She teams up with the animals and hatches a plan to preserve this enchanted place and give it back the magic she once dreamed of…
Movie explanation of the ending
The animated film “Wonder Park” faced quite a few negative headlines before its release in the United States in March of this year. Above all, the inscrutable directing personnel became the focus of reporting, because as things stand, the Spanish-American co-production officially does not have a director. Dylan Brown, who was originally hired for this position and worked at Pixar for a long time before falling out of favor in Hollywood, was accused of unwanted behavior towards employees during the later production phase of “Wonder Park.” Such an unpleasant footnote often has an impact on a film’s box office, especially in the USA. And so “Welcome to Wonder Park” flopped tremendously in the States; grossed just $60 million, not even the initial costs of the project. Such a crash landing is a rarity, especially in the family film sector, which is usually particularly popular. And it’s a particularly shame, because “Welcome to Wonder Park” is an equally fun and melancholic adventure in which the screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec (who together wrote scripts for such different films as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Mission: Impossible – Phantom Protocol”) present serious topics such as fear of loss and depression in a child-friendly way.
Everything is upside down in Wunder Park!
Almost four years ago, the animated film giant Pixar, which belongs to Disney, thrilled people in its Oscar-winning masterpiece “Inside Out” with the idea of illustrating the interior of the human psyche and using the personified emotions of joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust to easily explain the development of depression to explain in a digestible way. The film thrilled people around the world and received a lot of attention – certainly also due to the multi-million dollar PR machine. “Welcome to Wonder Park” is not granted this and we don’t want to go so far as to compare the production, which cost between 80 and 100 million dollars, with “Everything is Upside Down”; The directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen staged their vision a whole lot smarter and more subversive than in the case of “Welcome to Wonder Park”. Nevertheless, the makers are going in a similar direction with this film and establishing a serious scenario rooted in reality, which they later exaggerate with the help of fantasy elements and use these to illustrate what the main character June looks like inside.
To ensure that this succeeds, the makers begin their “Welcome to Wonder Park” with a prologue that is also reminiscent of a Pixar film, but in this case “Above”: instead of showing the life of an old man racing past us in time lapse, we show it Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec give us impressions of the life together between June and her parents; a harmonious, imaginative and peaceful family life that is suddenly destroyed when June’s mother suddenly has to go to the hospital due to a serious illness and the young girl is forced to grow up from one day to the next. These few scenes are enough not only to emphasize the close bond between mother and daughter (the father comes a bit short at this point), but above all to show how closely the creative power of imagination is linked to June’s carefree childhood. A little later, when she puts the model of the amusement park she built with her mother in the closet, a gray-on-gray predominates visually and the previously light-hearted production becomes darker in every respect.
Steve and Greta are good friends.
In the film itself, Miracle Park is real to June; But the talking animals, the spectacular attractions and the fluffy (but not to be underestimated!) hordes of destructive monkeys primarily symbolize the damaged psyche of the protagonist, whose inner life is directly linked to the state of the run-down park. This basic idea may sound a bit naive at first glance; Even “Everything’s Inside Out,” which relied primarily on the basics of psychology, was much more complex in its approach to the topic. But with its simple illustration, “Welcome to Wonder Park” is clearly aimed at a young audience, to whom the makers can use the easy-to-decipher images to explain why it is important to allow grief but also to process it. In addition, those responsible create images in detail that appeal to an older audience: a gloomy cloud hovering over the run-down park is visually reminiscent of a cancer tumor. And when the hordes of monkeys once again trample everything and everyone and end up in a red vacuum, they float through the corridors like pathogens in the bloodstream.
As if they wanted to balance out such strong noise so as not to overwhelm the young viewers, “Welcome to the Wonder Park” is also peppered with action sequences; After all, the park is primarily intended to be saved and brought into shape. The setting of a theme park is of course ideal for this. It’s just fun to race down the roller coasters with the characters and watch the Wunder Park become more and more colorful with each new attraction. Nevertheless, the film is strongest when the adventure and the narrative demands go hand in hand. And so are the voice actors, who are always concerned about emotionality, including Lena Meyer-Landrut (“Trolls”) Especially the comedian Faisal Kawusi, who made his debut as a voice actor, seems to have internalized it, “Wonder Park” is a slightly different family film, but one that is easy to get involved in thanks to the many mainstream concessions.
This attempt to repair the roller coaster went wrong…
Conclusion: The beautifully animated adventure “Wonder Park” with strong voice actors combines an exciting action adventure about saving a magical amusement park with a heart-touching story about loss and grieving.
“Wonder Park” can be seen in USA cinemas from April 11th.