If you think the Playmobil Movie in UK and Irish cinemas this Friday August 9, is just for kids, then think again. With an all-star cast that includes Adam Lambert, Daniel Radcliffe, and Meghan Trainor, there’s something for everyone.
Marla, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, has her whole life worked out for her. She’s just finished high school, and intends to put college on the backburner, while she travels by way of her brand new passport. She tells her brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) – through song – that she needs to do this, that there’s a big wide world out there. She just needs to tell their parents first.
Sadly the opportunity doesn’t arise, as their parents are killed off screen in a car accident. Marla has to take over the job of raising Charlie and her travel plans are also sidelined in addition to college. She grows up very quickly and five years later we see her holding down a job, while Charlie complains that she’s not the fun person she used to be. Of course, this is the premise of the film; no matter how grown up we are we should always make time for fun.
Charlie runs away in the night planning to meet his friends but is instead waylaid by a Playmobil exhibit at a local toy fair. Thankfully he has GPS activated on his phone and so Marla is able to find him. All this lengthy storyline is merely an introduction to the real action, whereby through some miracle the siblings are transported into the world of Playmobil.
Marla is transformed into pretty much the Playmobil version of herself, while Charlie becomes a Viking warrior in possession of great strength. Unfortunately for him this makes him a prime target for Maximus, voiced by Adam Lambert, a Roman emperor who is seeking out exemplary candidates for the arena. Lambert and his fellow voice-over actors clearly enjoyed themselves immensely making this: Daniel Radcliffe as secret agent Rex Dasher, even comes with his own theme music every time his name is mentioned – think a cross between James Bond and Johnny English.
Meghan Trainor is pretty much the Deus Ex Machina in the film, playing a Fairy Godmother who enables Marla to get to Charlie. Was her role necessary? Not really. Was she fabulous? Absolutely! There was no reason Marla and her companion Del (a Big Lebowski like character, voiced by Jim Gaffigan) wouldn’t have been able to get to Charlie without the Fairy Godmother’s help, but it certainly sped up the pace a little. Trainor, however much her role was unnecessary, rose to the challenge, and did so admirably.
With singing stars Lambert and Trainor in the voiceover cast it should come as no surprise that there were some musical numbers as well. Thankfully not so many as to make the film into a musical; but enough to give Lambert, Trainor, and Anya Taylor-Joy a chance to exercise their musical chops. There were plenty of laughs throughout as well, and both Lambert and Radcliffe proved to be quite hilarious.
On the surface it would be easy to dismiss this as a kids film, but there was more than enough to keep the adults in the audience interested. I took my 13 year old and 16 year old sons with me and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. If anything, it’s possible that it would be a bit much for younger children, who might be recommended waiting until the film is available to watch on DVD or direct download.
‘Playmobil: The Movie’ is out 9 August in UK and Irish cinemas and is a presentation of STUDIOCANAL and ON Animation Studios. Directed by Lino Disalvo, it stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Gabriel Bateman, Adam Lambert, Kenan Thompson, Meghan Trainor, and Daniel Radcliffe.