Where has this production been all this time? Out of the clear blue, beneath everyone’s radar, comes Wonder Park. Paramount Pictures brings us what looks like a delightful, fun romp through the fantasy life of a young girl named June (played by Brianna Denski) who discovers a magic flying ticket through a gateway at the edge of a forest and discovers the bones of an expansive amusement park hidden in the forest. It turns out that the whole thing is being driven by her own imagination. Can she save the park from oblivion?
The movie looks like fantastic fun, but the trailer also shows us pretty much nothing of the plot, or the troubles she and the park might face on their way to victory. Which direction might things go? If you take the trailer at face value, it’s just a happy adventurous romp through a sugarcoated challenge that’s not a challenge. We know they have to let her win. On the other hand, maybe there’s a lot more in play here that they haven’t told us about, and there almost certainly is. What if there’s something really horrible going on in her normal, mundane life for which the amusement park compensates? Is she being given the park to help her get her life in control back in the real world? Do the park and her real life have some kind of intimate connection?
The film looks like fantastic fun, but we have no idea. Perhaps that’s the purpose of framing the first trailer this way — to get us puzzling over it.
Ilion Animation Studios of Spain is handling the animation, which explains part of why this whole thing just sort of flew under the radar. Paramount isn’t known for their animation chops, and unlike Sony Pictures, does not have their own animation studio. Instead, they’re co-producing this film with Nickelodeon Movies, and there’s going to be an animated TV series based on the film starting in 2019 shortly after the release of the film.
Ilion was an interesting choice to handle the animation production. They’ve only ever done two other feature films, Planet 51, released in 2009, and Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible, released in 2014. While the latter of these films won several awards, it’s virtually unknown in the English-speaking cinema marketplace. The quality of the animation is certainly there, though, and it looks like world-class work, so they obviously have things well under control.
Wonder Park is due out March 15, 2019, and features the voices of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Ken Hudson Campbell, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis and John Oliver. This first trailer is just the first of what will probably be three or four trailer releases for this film, and we’re sure later trailers will reveal more of the plot.