Show Kids the Wonder of Imagination
And Support Mental Health Awareness
If you’re looking for a great family movie, look no further than Wonder Park. My family all sat down to watch this animated feature and had loads of fun after with the extra features. As a parent, I also loved that while not overtly presented, it’s a message about a child dealing with severe depression and how she learns to deal with it. Having a child dealing with these issues leaves me to celebrate movies normalizing mental health struggles. The movie is fun enough for the whole family and the voice cast is excellent. It really supports the incredible power and wonder of the imagination and how far it can take you.
Message and Story
Wonder Park is focused on the character of June a young girl who is incredibly inventive and creates an imaginary world with her mother. This is Wonderpark. A fantastical amusement park run by talking animals. However, when June’s mom gets sick and has to go away for treatment, it sends June into a downward spiral. My kids have dealt with loved ones in the family being severely sick, and even passing away, so I did not object to this line of the story.
I think a story like this can easily open up the conversation with even the youngest of kids in today’s world were cancer and other horrible diseases are all too common. It is put simply in the movie, with no unneeded details, but it is clear that when June’s mom goes away, and she rejects Wonder Park, how it impacts her as a child. She pretends to be okay to her father and friends but is hurting deep down inside. It’s her discovery that Wonderpark is real and has been created by her imagination that she finally starts to heal. It champions the process of creation in healing and dealing with your inner monsters. True to the movie’s style, however, everyone gets a happy ending.
Characters and Scary Bits
The youngest of kids might find some of the sequences a bit scary. My 3 years old seemed just as overwhelmed by the zombie monkeys chasing June and her friends as they did. The tiny monkeys are not even that scary in and of themselves, they are quite cute in fact, but the nature in which they move and are presented can be scary for young kids. My older two loved it though and loved pointing out all the different costumes the monkeys had. The animal friends are very fun and set great examples of how to lead and help. My kids loved the action of all the fun rides and all three were inspired by June’s creativity and inventiveness.
A Fun Romp for the Whole Family
I enjoyed watching as much as the kids. I’m a bit of a DIYer myself and saw a lot of my childhood self in June. And who doesn’t want a smart Chimpanzee friend who can talk and wields a magic marker? We were lucky enough to get some fun Wonder Park toys along with the movie. These can be found at most major retailers and are super cute. There are plushes of June (my daughter won’t sleep without June now…) and fun collectibles.
There are even surprise toys which kids go gaga over these days. They come as fun roller coaster cars and you open up the front to find a costumed monkey helper inside. We ended up with a princess and two flower monkeys. My two younger kids were hooking up all three cars and pulling them all over the living room with the monkeys riding in their seats. So be sure to check out Wonder Park for a fun movie night for the whole family. I hope it inspires the wonder in your kids like it did mine. You can pre-order the Blu-Ray copy that includes the DVD and Digital versions as well right HERE. The movie is released on Blu-Ray and DVD June 18th.
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