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Playmobil: The Movie
Playmobil The Movie final poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lino DiSalvo
Produced by
  • Aton Soumache
  • Dimitri Rassam
  • Moritz Borman
  • Alexis Vonarb
Screenplay by
  • Blaise Hemingway
  • Greg Erb
  • Jason Oremland
Story by Lino DiSalvo
Starring
Music by Heitor Pereira
Editing by Maurissa Horwitz
Studio
  • Method Animation
  • ON Animation Studios
  • DMG Entertainment
Distributed by Pathé Distribution
Release date(s) 10 June 2019 (2019-06-10) (Annecy)
7 August 2019 (2019-08-07) (France)
Running time 99 minutes
Country France
Language English
Budget $72 million
Money made $16.3 million

Playmobil: The Movie is a 2019 English-language French computer-animated musical adventure comedy film based on the German building toy Playmobil. The film is directed and conceived by Disney veteran Lino DiSalvo, in his directorial debut, written by Blaise Hemingway, Greg Erb, and Jason Oremland, and produced by On Animation Studios. The film stars the voices of Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Gabriel Bateman, Adam Lambert, Kenan Thompson, Meghan Trainor and Daniel Radcliffe. The film follows a girl named Marla who tries to save her brother from a Playmobil world the two are sucked into and becomes involved in the midst of a population-capturing scheme by Emperor Maximus.

Premiering as the opener of the June 2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Playmobil: The Movie began theatrical runs in France on 7 August 2019 by Pathé. Playmobil: The Movie was panned by critics for being a perceived feature-length advertisement; most criticisms were because of the poor storytelling, generic songs, and worldbuilding problems, with several negative comparisons to The Lego Movie. It was also a box-office bomb, grossing $16.3 million on a $72 million budget, and in the United States had the worst opening weekend ever for a film playing in over 2,300 theaters.

Plot

Marla is a formerly free-spirited girl who has grown up to be responsible yet overprotective in order to care for her brother Charlie, who has grown lonely and disconnected from her after the death of their parents. One night, Charlie sneaks out to visit a toy museum with a Playmobil exhibit. After Marla arrives and scolds Charlie for running away, a lighthouse illuminates them and transports them to the Playmobil world.

Marla and Charlie find themselves in the middle of a Viking battle, and Charlie helps them until he is kidnapped by some pirates. Frantic to find her brother, Marla goes to the nearest town hoping to ask for help, and runs into Del, the driver of a food truck whose client refuses to pay him over pink hay that causes the town's horses to sprout wings. As Marla tries to form a posse to find Charlie, Del gets her out of trouble when she shows Viking gold to the whole town, and agrees to help Marla find her brother in exchange for the gold.

Marla and Del run into Rex Dasher, a secret agent and an old friend of Del. Rex explains that several characters have disappeared, and the group sneaks into a villainous spy headquarters to find information about the disappearances. Despite some issues, they successfully gather the data and escape, but Rex is later captured by the pirates. He is taken away to Constantinopolis and finds Charlie, who had been locked up with other characters by Emperor Maximus, who intends to have the prisoners fight to their deaths. Rex tells Charlie that Marla had been looking for him, which encourages Charlie to break away. However, he later allows himself to be recaptured so the other characters could escape.

Del recognizes that a device used by the pirates belongs to Glinara, an alien crime lord. After meeting with her in exchange for information, Del offers to pay twice as much as he owes her. Glinara agrees and reveals that she sold the device to Maximus. However, Del is unable to uphold his end of the bargain, as Marla only had two pieces of gold left. Angered, Glinara captures them and attempts to drop them into a portal, but they are spared by Glinara's robot servant Robotitron, who hacks the portal and drops the group into a forest. Del leaves the group, upset by Marla's deception. Marla and Robotitron get lost in the forest until Marla accidentally hits a fairy godmother, who encourages her to continue her search and sends her to Constantinopolis.

Arriving in the city, Marla reaches a coliseum where Charlie is about to fight a Tyrannosaurus rex. Charlie and Marla work together to fight off the T-Rex but to no avail. Del soon arrives with his food truck, and Marla uses the last of Del's pink hay to turn the T-Rex harmless. An enraged Maximus orders his guards to arrest them, but the guards reveal themselves to be Rex and the missing warriors, who then lock Maximus inside a cage. As everyone celebrates their victory, Marla and Charlie use the T-Rex to fly back to the lighthouse and return to the real world, where it is revealed that they were missing for only five minutes. On good terms, Marla promises Charlie that their relationship will be mended.

In a mid-credits scene, one of the security guards finds a figure of Maximus on the floor next to a cage. As he places him on top of Mount Olympus, Maximus's laugh is heard.

Cast

  • Anya Taylor-Joy as Marla Brenner; Charlie's sister, who also voices Marla's Playmobil form. Director Lino DiSalvo cast Taylor-Joy for the "texture" of her voice, and described her performance as "believable and emotional."
  • Gabriel Bateman as Charlie Brenner; Marla's brother, who also voices Charlie's Playmobil viking form. As DiSalvo explains, "when I met Gabriel, I totally saw a kid that Spielberg would cast."
    • Ryan S. Hill plays a 6-year-old Charlie.
  • Jim Gaffigan as Del, a food truck driver who supports himself with several side jobs and is Marla's best friend.
  • Daniel Radcliffe as Rex Dasher, a secret agent who helps Marla. While normally reluctant to play spy roles in films, Radcliffe accepted the part of Dasher because "there is something incredibly fun about playing an unbelievably confident, kind of to the point of being an oblivious, person who is constantly undercut by other characters who make him realise that maybe he's not as smooth as he thinks he is." As he explained on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, "Rex Dasher is a Playmobil version of James Bond. There's a ridiculous thing that will sound suitably ridiculous to your listeners, because they know that it would be ridiculous for me to play James Bond in real life. But because I have an English accent I go to America, a lot of people think and say something to the effect of, 'You should be James Bond.' And I say, 'No, you're wrong.' So the chance to play Playmobil James Bond was like, 'That seems a little more my speed.'" On an April 2019 airing of The Graham Norton Show, Radcliffe displayed a figure of Dasher that was sent to him by the director.
  • Adam Lambert as Emperor Maximus, the tyrannical ruler of Constatinopolis. Lambert stated in ABC News Radio that enjoyed playing the role: "He's an obnoxious, ridiculous, comical bad guy. [...] He's got like Napoleon complex, he's incredibly narcissistic. He loves the sound of his own voice. He's spoiled. He's a brat. And he usually gets his way." He explained that he played the character as himself "on a really bad day," and said performing the musical number was his favorite part of working on Playmobil.
  • Kenan Thompson as Bloodbones, a pirate captain. In addition to the role's Broadway-level singing demands, the nasal-y-voiced Thompson also had to perform his lines in a guttural tone, which gave him a "headache."
  • Meghan Trainor as The Fairy Godmother, an unnamed fairy godmother who Marla encounters in a forest. It was Trainor's childhood dream to play a fairy character, but also a very difficult task: "I’ve never smiled so hard in my life to make this girl happy and I was jumping up and down." Trainor's involvement in Playmobil: The Movie began while writing "Run Like The River" for her album Treat Myself. "I remember meeting someone who was like, this should be in the movie," explained Trainor; and a week later, she presented the song to DiSalvo: "It looked like it blew his mind."
  • Lino DiSalvo as Robotitron, a robot employed by Glinara.
  • Maddie Taylor as Glinara, an alien crime lord.
  • Kirk Thornton as Ook Ook
  • Dan Navarro as Viking Leader
  • Paloma Michelle as Valera, an Amazon warrior.
  • Spike Spencer as additional voices
  • Benjamin Diskin as Seadog

Soundtrack

"Run Like the River" was released as a promotional single on 26 July 2019 from the film's soundtrack album, which was released on 2 August 2019.

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