"The Wonderland," the new film from director Keiichi Hara ("Miss Hokusai"), certainly has the building blocks of something wondrous: a skilled director, top production values, and a story by beloved children's author Sachiko Kashiwaba.

One of Kashiwaba's admirers is Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki, whose Academy Award-winning "Spirited Away" is said to have been at least loosely inspired by a Kashiwaba book. And yes, if you've been paying attention to the post-Ghibli anime industry, your "another anime film trying to recreate the charms of Miyazaki?!" alarm bell probably just went off.

On its face, "The Wonderland" is charming enough. As the film opens, junior high-schooler Akane (Mayu Matsuoka), playing sick to avoid a conflict with her friends at school, visits a shop run by her mother's free-spirited friend Chi (the single-named Anne). The shop houses a portal to another world, the pair discover when a magician appears asking Akane to help save said world from destruction. So much for avoiding conflict.