Playmobil: The Movie (Subtitled) (U)



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Comedy (2019)
99mins Fr/Ger

Starring: Gabriel Bateman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Meghan Trainor, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Radcliffe
Director: Lino DiSalvo
Writer(s): Greg Erb, Blaise Hemingway, Jason Oremland
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Eighteen-year-old Marla dreams of travelling the world with her most prized possession - her first adult passport. Fate cruelly intervenes and Marla's adventurous spirit is crushed as she adopts the role of sole caregiver to her little brother Charlie. The siblings argue and Charlie runs away from home during a thunderous downpour to a toy fair. When Marla and Charlie are eventually reunited, they are magically miniaturised into Playmobil figures and embark on an action-packed adventure.

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LondonNet Film Review
Playmobil: The Movie (U)

Cast in a similar mould to The LEGO Movie, replete with a live-action framing device, Playmobil: The Movie encourages young children who play with the plastic toy sets to never limit their imaginations or allow cynicism to warp their desire to dream big. Youthful exuberance romps through Blaise Hemingway, Greg Erb and Jason Oremland's scattershot screenplay, which breathlessly slingshots from Norse mythology and the rootin' tootin' Wild West to a prehistoric land before time and gladiatorial Rome...

Playmobil: The Movie. Copyright: StudioCanal. Caption: Rex Dasher (voiced by Daniel Radcliffe) in Playmobil: The Movie, directed by Lino DiSalvo. All Rights Reserved.Briskly paced interludes, which trade logic for a sensory overload of colour and cartoon violence, are glued together with saccharine pop musical numbers sung by an ensemble cast, which includes Adam Lambert and Meghan Trainor. Jim Gaffigan's vocal performance as a Hawaiian-shirted food truck driver has the impossible task of providing the majority of the comic relief, while Daniel Radcliffe oozes self-delusion as a James Bond-lite spy, who is repeatedly shaken not stirred by his own giddy reputation. Humour isn't as sophisticated or snarky as the LEGO films and there are almost no cute visual gags aimed at parents, who may find themselves power-napping for the best part of 90 minutes.

Eighteen-year-old Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) dreams of travelling the world with her most prized possession - her first adult passport. "Nothing's worse than a small stationary life," she tells little brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman), who enjoys making up fantastical escapades with his sister using his Playmobil sets. Fate cruelly intervenes and Marla's adventurous spirit is crushed as she adopts the role of Charlie's sole caregiver. The siblings argue and Charlie runs away from home during a thunderous downpour to a toy fair. When Marla and Charlie are eventually reunited, they are magically miniaturised into Playmobil figures. The boy metamorphoses into a swaggering blonde-haired Viking called Charles The Destroyer, whose burly stature is at odds with his boyish personality. "I thought your voice would be a little deeper," quips a fellow pillager. Cackling arch-villain Emperor Maximus (Lambert) kidnaps Charles to join a team of champions in a giant combat arena. Marla gives chase, aided by food truck owner Del (Gaffigan), a wand-wielding Fairy Godmother (Trainor), mechanoid sidekick Robotritron and dashing British secret agent Rex Dasher (Radcliffe), who is "100% almost sure" he knows where to find Charles. As Marla romps through various themed lands, she rediscovers her lust for life and her emotional connection to her little brother.

Playmobil: The Movie is bolted together with wholesome life lessons that will sound twee to anyone with an age in double digits. Animation and the vocal performances are solid and unremarkable, and the soundtrack thankfully lacks an earworm to rival Everything Is Awesome. "Sometimes there are more important things than fun!" declares Marla as she struggles with the burden of caring for Charlie. If only director Lino DiSalvo's film gleefully proved her wrong.

- Kim Hu

Playmobil: The Movie. Copyright: StudioCanal. Caption: Rex Dasher (voiced by Daniel Radcliffe) in Playmobil: The Movie, directed by Lino DiSalvo. All Rights Reserved.


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