The Dove Take:
Wonder Park challenges audiences to use their imaginations, collaboratively, for the good of the community in life-changing ways.
Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive as she deals with her mother’s critical illness.
Ten-year-old June has been building worlds in her imagination for years, thanks to the loving encouragement of her mother (Jennifer Garner). What she doesn’t know is that all of the plans for a spectacular amusement park that her mother has passed on in hushed whispers to her stuffed chimpanzee named Peanut have also come alive in the real-life park. When she escapes from math camp, June finds herself in Wonder Park itself, wrestling with The Darkness that threatens the amusement park and all of the animals who live there.
The film is colorful, and the action pops off the screen in creative, “splendiforous” ways. Different aspects of the park, like Zero G Land and Fireworks Falls, allow for a diversity of adventures that will keep children on the edge of their seats, while the driving force of the film is actually unpacking June’s fear and grief.
Along the way, the wisdom of June’s mother comes back time and again to see her through troubles and dangers. “You have the light in you,” her mother reminds her. “You put the wonder in Wonder Park.” But while it is up to June and the animals to drive back the tangible darkness, the audience also finds itself reminded that “the darkness is there to remind us of the light that surrounds us.”
These images of light and darkness bring to mind John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In the beautiful allegory that is Wonder Park, audiences of all ages will be encouraged to recognize the darkness in their own lives, and the way that the Light of the world will continue to overcome. This movie is awarded the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.