Go back in time. Back to your childhood. What were the toys you had endless hours of fun with? Were it the most beautiful dolls, a sword and shield or was it… Playmobil?
If it was that last option, then the directional debut of Lino DiSalvo will let you re-live those innocent and careless moments. With his “Playmobil: The Movie”, the little toys are coming to life in a feel good, action-packed but slightly predictable and dull film.
While the movie will become a typical children’s film, it starts very mature and with real-life humans. Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the typical teenager: Done with school and ready to explore the world.
However, those plans are pushed aside because of her parents. Sadly, not in the way you think. Her parents died in a car accident and now Marla has to take care of herself and her little brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman).
Flash forward to a few months after those tragic events. Marla her adventurous and cheeky side is replaced by her role as “mother” and according to Charlie she forgot how to make fun and to enjoy life.
This results in more heated fights and one night Charlie has enough and runs off. Looking anxiously for her brother, Marla finds him in a toy convention next to the Playmobil figures.
Playmobil changed their lives already during their childhood but now there’s another big change coming. Because of a magic Playmobil watchtower, Charlie and Marla are being transported into an unknown world where everyone is a Playmobil figure.
Marla is still a young woman but Charlie became a strong Viking warrior. Still trying to adapt to the new world, Marla is being challenged when her brother is captured to battle in the games of Emperor Maximus (voiced by Adam Lambert). Will she be able to get her brother back? And what about returning to the real world again?
Based on the fact that “Playmobil: The Movie” is a real children’s film, it’s obvious how this film will end. For adults, the storyline seems very predictable but that’s something the children won’t notice. All they will see is the tons of action, the stunning and colourful animations and the magical elements such as flying animals and the fairy godmother.
They will be happy, be in awe of the little Playmobil figures and just have a good time, especially because of the catchy songs. However, there won’t be much laughter as the film lacks humour which is a bummer for both children and adults.
On the other hand, the small (or sometimes bigger) references to other movies such as Aladdin, James Bond, and The Gladiator are a very nice touch.
As it’s (almost) an entirely animated film, the acting performances are solely based on the voicing apart from two. As both Marla and her Playmobil figurine, Anya Taylor-Joy (“Glass“, “Thoroughbreds“) is overly lively as the happy, adventurous and curious teenager whose cheerful songs are very fitting for in a film like this.
Marla as the toy can work on the nerves once in a while because of her attempts to adapt to the new world. If we would have to choose between the brother or sister, we would go for the brother. Especially because of the way Gabriel Bateman (“Child’s Play“, “Benji”) portrays Charlie. He lifts this film to a higher level with his lighthearted, uplifting but also serious performance.
A charismatic and dashing secret agent in a fancy tuxedo with his famous “Martini. Shaken, not stirred” line. It sounds immensely familiar, right? It’s clear that the makers of “Playmobil: The Movie” wanted to honour 007 with their own version and it came in the form of Rex Dasher. Voiced splendidly by Daniel Radcliffe (“Swiss Army Man“, “Trainwreck”), Dasher brings even more action and a little bit of laughter to the screen.
There’s always a friend you have a love/hate relationship with. While at some points, you just want to kill him/her (or at least you feel like it), most of the time you miss him/her the moment your friend is gone.
Well, in this film Del (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) is that person to Marla. Most of the scenes in this film are about their adventures and the chemistry between Gaffigan (“Duck Duck Goose“, “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation“) and Taylor-Joy is pleasing enough for those moments.
Last but not least there’s the rock ‘n roll vibe brought to this film by Adam Lambert (“Bohemian Rhapsody“, “The Ten Commandments: The Musical”) as the voice of Emperor Maximus.
The film will be released in the UK on the 9th of August so right in the middle of the school holidays. This might not be a bad move as “Playmobil: The Movie” is purely made for children.
Adults might like it because of the references to other movies and because it’s just a relaxing movie but the story becomes very predictable very early on. However, children will love this movie for its action, colours, and magic.