Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wonder Park

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Short takes

Not recommended under 6; Parental guidance to 8 (Scary scenes, themes).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wonder Park
  • a review of Wonder Park completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 April 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to scary scenes and mild themes.
Children aged 6–8 Parental Guidance recommended.
Children over the age of 8 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Wonder Park
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes.
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

June (voice of Sofia Mali) and her mother (Jennifer Garner) are very close and love to create magical worlds together. In particular they create Wonderland, a wonderful fantasy theme park, which includes several of June’s toys: Peanut, a monkey (Norbert Leo Butz), Boomer, a bear (Ken Hudson Campbell), Greta, a warthog (Mila Kunis) and Steve, a porcupine (John Oliver). One day June’s mother gets bad news and she must tell June that she is sick and has to go away for some time. June’s world collapses and she loses interest in her friends and in Wonderland. Time goes by and June is now older (Brianna Denski) and is overly worried about her Dad. June’s Dad decides to send her to camp 'Awe Sum' to try and lift her out of her sadness, but June panics along the way and tries to return home. On the way however, she gets side-tracked and discovers an old broken-down fun park. There she finds life size characters of her old friends, Boomer, Greta and Steve. They tell her the sad story about how a darkness had descended on Wonder Park and it had been overrun by the chimpanzombies. June realises that she must find her old friend Peanut and together restore light to the lost park.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Separation from a parent; family illness; dealing with emotions; fantasy; animals and children in peril.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • June builds a playground in her back garden out of broken bits of wood. She tries out the roller coaster but crashes through the fence and out onto the road. She misses cars and is nearly hit by a truck but manages to narrowly avoid it. She ends up crashing into her backyard, having destroyed much of the neighbourhood.
  • June’s Aunt and Uncle visit, and June gets really angry with them because they’ve brought her a toy roller coaster. She throws the blueprint of Wonderland into the fire.
  • June is chased by the Chimpanzombies and grabbed by Boomer the bear to get her to safety.
  • A huge robotic machine, manned by the Chimpanzombies, stomps through the park. Greta is thrown into the air and Steve gets hit too. It chases after June.
  • Boomer accidentally sticks his hand on Steve and gets porcupine needles stuck in it. He then accidentally kicks Steve.
  • The Chimpanzombies set off rockets, which cause explosions to occur.
  • The Chimpanzombies smother and capture Peanut. He is seen tied up inside the dark cloud.
  • Two beavers, Wipper and Fitzy, are the sidekicks in the movie and are often play fighting each other.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The chimpanzee army could scare young children. There are hundreds of the little creatures dressed as Vikings with axes and picks. They look cute but can be quite aggressive.
  • The robotic machine is very large with long arms that have giant claws at the end.
  • A dark swirling purple cloud hangs over Wonderland.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • June is very upset when her Mum goes away. She packs all her toys away and doesn’t play with them again. Sometimes she hears her Mother’s voice.
  • June imagines her Dad alone, setting fire to the kitchen, and with a broken leg in a plaster.
  • June is alone in the forest. A magical sheet of blue paper guides her in the direction of the abandoned theme park. She finds an old roller coaster, which sets off with her in it. She goes really fast down a steep slope and comes to a stop with her hanging upside down. She falls down to the forest floor.
  • After the explosions caused by the Chimpanzombies, animals are thrown everywhere. June falls from a height and is caught by an upside-down umbrella. She floats through fire, then mountains. Her voice echoes eerily through the mountains. She then falls through a crack into balloons floating in space. She finds Peanut in the midst of the balloons hiding in a den. This is quite a scary scene.
  • Peanut is scared to leave his den. He is alone and sad, just like June.
  • The animals are upset to discover that June caused the darkness in their world. They abandon her, as it’s all her fault.

Boomer goes backwards on the roller coaster. It isn’t fixed and it seems like he will go off the edge. He’s terrified and screams but the animals fix it just in time.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Nothing more of concern.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing of concern for this age group.

Product placement

  • None noted

Sexual references

There are some very mild sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mild flirtation between June and her friend Banky.
  • Mild flirtation between Steve and Greta. He tells her ‘I burn for you baby’. Greta kisses Steve.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted

Use of substances

  • None of concern.

Coarse language

There is some very mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Oh my gosh
  • Crikey
  • Holy schmoly
  • Jeez

In a nutshell

Wonder Park is a colourful and exciting animated adventure/fantasy story.  There are elements of sadness, although it does have a happy ending. There are some intense moments, threats, and mild violence; therefore, not recommended for under 6’s. Parental Guidance is recommended for children between 6 and 8.

The main messages from this movie are that light is stronger than darkness and that darkness is always present to remind us of the light that surrounds us.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Never give up hope.
  • Importance of friendship and family.
  • Perseverance.
  • Loyalty and trust.
  • Creativity and imagination.

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • How to deal with sadness. Hiding away from problems won’t make them go away and it’s better to talk about them.

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