“Wonder Park” isn’t short of ambition but all it really ends up proving is that what Pixar do isn’t anywhere near as easy as it looks.
When June’s mum falls ill, it seems to spell the end of their imagined theme park, a model of which has taken over their house but when June suddenly finds herself transported into the park, she must find a way to restore the park to its former glory and save her animal friends Gus, Cooper, Greta, Steve, Boomer and Peanut from ‘the Darkness’.
Evidently created in a writer’s room where they put forward the philosophy of ‘there are no bad ideas’ and really mean it, “Wonder Park” riffs on “Final Destination 3”, “Jurassic World”, “Neverending Story”, “The Jungle Book” and even “Pacific Rim” as it leaps from one idea to the next in it eagerness to overcome its wildly uneven tone and pacing issues. Its attempts to blend the pathos of the real-life illness storyline with the fantasy wonder of the imaginary – or is it – theme park is clumsy at best and downright jarring at worst. In fact, more than anything it feels like an eighties throwback where they’d take a foreign animated tv series and haphazardly cut it together into a feature-length…something? It’s nice, though, to hear Tom Baker playing more than just a cameo (UK viewers only).
It’s cute and colourful and younger children might find it undemandingly diverting but anyone looking for it to make a lick of sense, even within its own world, will be left looking for the park’s fast track – to the exit.