Playmobil: The Movie – Film Review
Director: Lino DiSalvo
Writers: Blaise Hemingway (screenplay by), Greg Erb (screenplay by)
Stars: Dino Andrade, Gabriel Bateman, Ian James Corlett
We meet Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she is plotting to travel around the world. She is a teenager and filled with excitement. There follows a song/dance sequence where, along with her brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman), she dances (flamenco style), pretends to go white water rafting along with any number of other stereotypical adventures across the globe. At this point, the doorbell rings and the police are waiting outside. They tell the young siblings that their parents have been killed in a car accident. So far, so utterly bizarre! Did they really have to kill their parents in the first five minutes of the film? Was it really necessary to move the narrative along in this fashion? I know there’s a long tradition of killing parents in kids films, but this seemed particularly callous as they hadn’t even been introduced yet!
Cut to four years later and Charlie sneaks into a toy exhibition. His sister sets out to find him and the two are transported into the world of Playmobil! We don’t get much of a reason why this occurs. Really, their whole back story could do with some substantial work, but it doesn’t really matter. From this most unusual of starts, things get quickly back on course in our now animated world! Charlie is kidnapped and Marla chases her brother across the world of Playmobil and meets lots of interesting characters along the way!
The producers of this film have also enlisted some impressive vocal talents for the tale, with Adam Lambert (current lead singer of Queen) playing the villain of the piece, Emperor Maximus, and Daniel Radcliffe playing the secret agent, Rex Dasher. Jim Gaffigan is also very enjoyable as Del, a slacker with a food truck who ends up helping Marla in her journey. The chase sequence allows us to see the wide world of Playmobil, with visits to the wild west, the land of dinosaurs and more.
It’s fairly obvious Playmobil have taken inspiration from the success of Lego’s recent film adaptations and decided to create their own money-making tale. You can call it heavy-handed marketing or you can just face facts that few animated movies are made without the express purpose of selling toys! I must admit I was not expecting much from this film, but I left pleasantly surprised. It’s a more than adequate kids film and despite its bumpy start has many laughs and interesting ideas in the animated world.
Junior Reviewer’s Corner –
Rosie – Aged 11
Susie – Aged 11