The Movie: 8/10
I’m going to say it right up front, Wonder is a bit sappy. There, I got that out-of-the-way and now on with the review. Did I mention the sap factor? Yea, its there, it’s real, it’s undeniable and it will probably be a big part of my memory of this story, but I’m happy with that. A boy who looks different from everyone at school learns to cope with everything from bullying to making friends, to learning that being different isn’t an excuse to feel sorry for yourself. Sap alert! It’s pretty sugary sweet at times, the interactions of the family are very softened and controlled, but not Lifetime Channel kind of soft, more like really good movie of the week. I know, that sounds like a harsh comparison, but it’s just how it is. This is a movie in which Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson are an upper middle class (or more affluent) couple with two kids, one was born with some issues and as a result has had lots of surgeries on his face, the other is a teenage girl who copes with parents who seem to care more, or at least spend more time caring for the son. It’s got all the elements of a “this is how you should cope with family problems” kind of vibe. The parents say all the right things while dealing with their family in not unexpected ways, no grit, no guts, no real heartbreak, just coping and smoothing the edges of a difficult situation. I don’t mind all that because it’s done well, but my sap-o-meter kept reaching it’s limits and I had to just go with the flow.
Speaking of flow, even if I say it’s a bit soft and overly smoothed over in the story telling, tears did flow. I cried from the moment I thought about how we are so cruel to each other, and thinking of this fictional child representing so many real people, all the way through the corny resolutions and smiling third act. I cry at a particular kind of sap, and this is it.
The performances are amazing, all of them, even if I think they let Julia Roberts get a little too tangled up in the notion of what a home schooling mother would be like when clearly that was not the plan this couple had when the started their family. Other than that, the sweet but loving dad (while kind of bland, still well done), and the ever suffering but kind and ultimately well-balanced teenage sister, all made this a story that captivated me from start to finish.
Overall I say it’s worth watching just for the niceness and a wonderful reminder of who we can be in life, instead of letting this life make into someone else. Get the tissues though, sap and tears will flow.
- Audio Commentary With Director Stephen Chbosky & RJ Palacio
- Summer Of Fun Multi-Part Documentary (57 Minutes) – Five featurettes that make one large doc about all aspects of the making of the film. It also includes a look at the Oscar nominated makeup used.
- A Child’s Sense Of Humor (13 Minutes) – A closer look at the kids used in the movie.
- What A Wonderful World (12 Minutes) – A look at the location scouting for the New York location the movie was based at.
- Brand New Eyes Music Video (4 Minutes)
- Wonderful Soundtrack Behind The Scenes (4 Minutes) – Marketing for the soundtrack album (sold separately)
- 4K, Blu-ray & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
There were many other cool images they could have used from this movie, but they went with the full frontal family with famous parents shot…boring and I wouldn’t have it as a poster. If you made me a poster of some of the more interesting images, like the mom’s drawings, or our hero boy with Chewbacca…yes Chewbacca:) I would hang on my wall proudly.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Wonder comes to 4K and Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate and a AVC transfer in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Wonder was filmed in 6K using a Red Weapon Dragon and the clarity even down-scaled is second to none. The film has exceptional clarity and very warm and natural colors throughout. I saw no noise in the image on either version.
The TrueHD 7.1 Dolby track doesn’t attack your sense like an action movie does, but it does get the point across and showcases the music used throughout the movie. Dialog is clean and easy to understand and the times surround sound is used it’s done with restraint. Wonder won’t win any awards for sound design but it does sound great on this home release.
Overall Score 8/10