Taking your kids to the movies can be a bit of a minefield, if you don't really have a clear idea of what the flick will address. And with a new animated film coming out this Friday, March 15, parents are likely excited see Wonder Park with their kiddos. But before you head to the theater with your little ones in tow, parents should know about one plot detail in Wonder Park.
Wonder Park revolves around a young girl named June and her imaginary theme park that magically comes to life, according to The Hollywood Reporter, complete with adventure and talking animals. Parenting blogger and father of three Adam Cohen from Roslyn, New York recently saw the animated film from Paramount Pictures, and shared a brief review of it on his Facebook page. He began his review by explaining that he really liked the film, "The animation is great, the voice cast is out of this world, the characters are well done too."
But, in his Facebook post, he wrote that he felt it was important to note that there was a pretty intense central story line that "the trailers leave out the core of this movie, which really could affect some kids (and parents)."
Note: Spoilers for Wonder Park ahead.
As Cohen explained in his Facebook post, "The movie starts off with a focus on the mom and daughters [sic] relationship as they create, build and imagine Wonder Park..."
Cohen wrote that "during the first 15 minutes" of the movie, adults will be able to notice June's mom's illness, though he doesn't think children will be able to "pick up on that." However, as the movie progresses, Cohen said in his Facebook post that "the mom is clearly sick (even younger kids will pick up on this)."
Cohen went on to write in his review that June is told that her mom "needs to go see doctors for treatment and there is an emotional scene of the mom being driven away (clearly to go to a hospital)."
"The rest of the movie then takes place in wonder theme park the main issue is all based on the daughter’s fear/anger/void of the mom being sick/not being with her," he concluded his Facebook post. "Long story short is over the course of the journey the daughter finds a way to face her emotions and over come her fears..."
Cohen makes a fair point; the trailers don't offer any concrete hint that the mother in the movie gets sick, nor does the Wonder Park synopsis on IMDb, which says: "Wonder Park tells the story of a magnificent amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive."Variety did, however, report that there was a family illness in the film within its review.
Some parents may want to know the movie tackles an illness in the family, especially considering how frightened young children tend to be of the concept of sickness and death, according to Psychology Today. As such, it's certainly beneficial for parent to be aware of this plot detail — not necessarily to avoid the film, but just to be well-prepared for potential questions or reactions their kids may have.
While some parents might have concerns, Nickelodeon gave the film a positive review and Collider called it "a wonderfully fun and imaginative family adventure movie." As for Common Sense Media, the group noted that Wonder Park does deal with themes of worry and fear, but is also imaginative and full of adventure. Common Sense Media recommends the movie for kids 8 years old and up.
Even with the heavy plot detail, I think the movie still looks lovely. The animation has that nostalgic quality to it that always pulls me in. But I also think it's nice Cohen decided to give parents a little heads-up, so that they can see Wonder Park fully aware of what they can expect, especially if they're taking their little ones.