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Playmobil: The Movie

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Playmobil: The Movie
Playmobil.jpg-3-665x1024.jpg
"It's a stupid toy, and none of this means anything!"
Marla
Genre: Musical
Comedy
Directed By: Lino DiSalvo
Produced By: Aton Soumache
Dimitri Rassam
Moritz Borman
Alexis Vonarb
Written By: Blaise Hemingway
Greg Erb
Jason Oremland
Based On: Playmobil
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy
Jim Gaffigan
Gabriel Bateman
Adam Lambert
Meghan Trainor
Daniel Radcliffe
Distributed By: Pathé Distribution
Release Date: June 10, 2019 (Annecy International Animation Film Festival)
August 7, 2019 (France)
December 6, 2019 (United States)
Runtime: 99 minutes
Country: France
Germany
China
United States
Language: English
Budget: $72 million
Box Office: $16.3 million
"Being a generic and forgettable animated kids' flick is one thing, but when your only identity is to desperately be just like another successful animated film, that's when you've rendered yourself worthless."
ElectricDragon505 (AniMat)

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 by Disney veteran Lino DiSalvo, in his directorial debut, written by Blaise Hemingway, Greg Erb, and Jason Oremland, and produced by On Animation Studios. 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 Distribution.

Plot

When her younger brother Charlie unexpectedly disappears into the magical, animated universe of Playmobil, unprepared Marla must go on a quest of a lifetime to bring him home. As she sets off on a fantastic journey across stunning new worlds, Marla teams up with some unlikely and heroic new friends - the smooth-talking food truck driver Del, the dashing and charismatic secret agent Rex Dasher, a wholehearted misfit robot, an extravagant fairy-godmother and many more. Through their vibrant adventure, Marla and Charlie realize that no matter how life plays out, you can achieve anything when you believe in yourself.

Why Its A Stupid Movie And It Doesn't Mean Anything

  1. Addressing the elephant in the room, The entire film in and of itself is nothing but a blatant rip-off of The Lego Movie and its sequel, shamelessly copying not just the concepts, but even story elements, tones, certain characteristics of the protagonists, and set locations. And unlike The Lego Movie as well as its sequel, which managed to tell an excellent story and message, Playmobil: The Movie itself doesn't even try to make an original story out of its premise and instead is purely an advertisement for Playmobil products and cashing in on the success of the former film.
    • Except it doesn't really advertise well. The Lego Movie showcased the rebuildable, interchangeable, and customizable nature of Lego bricks, but Playmobil has no such qualities, and the film doesn't really get into what makes Playmobil figures and sets unique from other toy lines, either.
      • Speaking of advertisements, there is an awesome cameo of an electric vehicle called the Porsche Taycan (known as the Mission E at the time) but unfortunately, in the end, it's just yet another case of product placement in a movie, which itself is one giant commercial.
  2. False advertising: In the American release, the poster shows Rex Dasher in the front which makes it look like that he was going to be the main protagonist of the film, but he does not appear until later in the film, with Marla as the actual protagonist.
  3. The combination of animation and live-action is rather pointless, considering that we never get to see anything shot in live-action after the first ten minutes until the very end.
  4. Many of the characters are either unlikeable, clichéd, or pointless:
    • Marla is unlikeable as a protagonist due to how much more selfish and irresponsible she became following the deaths of her parents. Not to mention some of the horrible things she's willing to do in her efforts to find Charlie. And while her desperation to find her brother after they were separated was justified, it does not excuse a single one of her actions.
    • Charlie, Marla's brother, while somewhat more tolerable than his sister, is still shown to have become a selfish brat after the time skips near the beginning. Not to mention how he runs away from home at one point, which leads to multiple enormous issues for both him and his sister. All of which he never took into consideration once. And like Emmet from The Lego Movie, he's the hero destined to save the Playmobil world. But unlike Emmet, there's no explanation for why this is supposed to be his "destiny".
    • Rex Dasher is a rip-off of Batman from The Lego Movie. As he serves as the arrogant secret agent who supplies Marla with gadgets and similar objects in her journey to find Charlie.
    • Emperor Maximus, the main villain, while not exactly a rip-off of Lord Business, is still a terrible villain due to his generic and unexplained motive. And as 24 Frames of Nick pointed out, he actually feels more like a weird background character rather than the main antagonist of the movie.
    • The Fairy Godmother character only exists to... sing a musical number that doesn't even match the scene and only serves as soundtrack fodder.
  5. The songs, aside from "Run Like The River", are generic and suffer from formulaic lessons and meanings; they are also shoved in at the last second; this is most apparent with songs like "Brothers In Arms", all of which do nothing but describe what is currently happening on-screen.
  6. Charlie, Marla's brother, is a Viking in the Playmobil world, which is ridiculous because, in real life, he is just a child, and even sounds like one; one could argue that it is because he grabbed the Viking figurine before entering the world, but even that doesn't make much sense since Marla still looks the same as she did in the real world.
  7. The movie begins with a massive tonal problem, as it goes immediately from Marla singing a cutesy little musical number only for the cops to arrive to report her parents’ death, with no time to breathe.
  8. Regarding the Playmobil world, there is nothing in that world that feels anything like a Playmobil product; everything seems like reality, and even the Playmobil figures feel more like human beings than actual figures. To really put this into perspective, look at The Lego Movie. Despite being animated using CGI, it actively goes out of its way to encapsulate the feeling that everything in the movie is made out of LEGO. Not only do the characters look like LEGO, but they move and have body structures just like the toy. They even represent water using blue LEGO pieces and go out of their way to make the movie look like it was actually stop-motion using LEGOs. But here, there's only one scene that even alludes to this, that being when Marla first arrived in the Playmobil world and discovered her limitations due to her new form. And after that, everything is just animated and none of it captures the feeling that what is on the screen are actually Playmobil toys.
    • The exhibit in a toy museum, in which the world is set, is never specifically said to be one based on Playmobil, it just mostly has Playmobil sets.
    • The way Marla and Charlie enter the Playmobil world is dumb, and it is never even explained how or why the lighthouse in the toy convention is magical and only transports them.
    • The figures are supposed to be plastic, but animals such as horses have realistic fur.
    • Actual Playmobil figures do not have bendable arms or legs, and after Marla lands in the Playmobil world, she struggles with moving around and getting up for a while, but once she sees her brother, she suddenly starts moving like a normal person, with bending knees and elbows, as does every other character in the Playmobil world, and the real-life figures' articulation (or lack thereof) is never brought up again in the movie.
  9. Unnecessary pop-culture reference of Ghostbusters, with the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 car, which also feels nothing more than an advertisement for Playmobil's Ghostbusters range.
  10. The deaths of Marla and Charlie's parents are never brought up again after a single moment. And it's never shown how losing their parents affected the siblings once in the entirety of the movie.
  11. The final battle against Emperor Maximus is so weak and anticlimactic that it could possibly rival those of Free Birds and The Swan Princess Christmas. Marla, after making it to the coliseum, sees that Charlie is about to engage in a battle with a Tyrannosaurus rex. Charlie, upon seeing Marla, works with her to fight off the T-Rex but to no avail. Only for Del to soon arrive in his food truck, and Marla utilizes the last of Del's pink hay to turn the T-Rex harmless. Maximus, infuriated upon seeing his T-Rex being subdued, orders his guards to arrest them, but the guards soon reveal themselves to actually be Rex and the missing warriors, who then lock Maximus inside a cage. And... that's it. In the end, the T-Rex is restrained (and later tamed by the heroes to take them back home) rather than actually defeated, and Maximus is simply imprisoned rather than actually being defeated. Not to mention that given how many types of Playmobil people have been shown throughout the movie, the fact that none of them appear here makes it all the more disappointing.
  12. The different areas within the Playmobil world are all the different themes the company produced sets for, such as Western, Viking, Medieval, etc., which are all very generic and uninspired, some are passed through without any comment on.
  13. As mentioned in #1, the fact that the movie is based on Playmobil is mostly treated as an afterthought since the animated world's treated mostly like any other animated world in contrast to The Lego Movie, which took full advantage of the limitless nature of the toys.
  14. It is filled to the brim with unfunny jokes that make absolutely no sense. At times, they'll make jokes even in the most unnecessary situations.
  15. A good example of one of these unfunny jokes goes like this: After Charlie and is gang escapes, he does the commanding wrong, get recaptured, and ends it off by flossing, To give you an idea on how terribly unfunny and dated this joke is, the floss dance was invented in August 2017. at the time of this movie's release date would have made this joke Two years old(and in present time, 5 years old). In fact, It really isn't a joke! Charlie just does it while saying how his sister might be proud of him.
  16. Some plot elements are never explained, such as how Marla got the gold in the first place and the aforementioned lighthouse mystery.
  17. The plot is inconsistent. At first, it is about two people dealing with Playmobil, then Marla, the sister, has to rescue her brother. She meets up with some random guy who suddenly becomes one of the main characters, and from there, it continuously switches up genres, making it confusing.
  18. Dated references, such as the aforementioned floss dance.
  19. Sequel baiting: In the mid-credits scene, a guard in the museum takes Maximus' figure out of the cage and places it on top of the mountain accompanied by his echoing voice laughing, symbolizing his return. But because this movie flopped hard, this will most likely never be resolved.
  20. Overall,this is a genuine cash grab of both The Lego Movie (5 years late) and Playmobil combined.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite never being mentioned again, Marla and Charlie's parents' death is a powerful, albeit saddening way to open the film.
  2. Depending on your view, the animation is pretty good. The characters' faces are nice, and the environments are colorful.
  3. Good voice acting, and the cast, particularly Anya-Taylor Joy, have solid singing voices, which make the songs a little less weak.
  4. There are a few likable and tolerable characters such as Charlie (depending on your view), Del, Bloodbones, Nola, Valera, Ook Ook, and Robotitron.
  5. Run Like The River is a pretty decent song, despite how poorly integrated into the movie it is.
  6. Adam Lambert does at least offer a fun performance.
  7. As mentioned before, Taycan's cameo in the movie was pretty cool.
  8. Apart from RQ#1, some emotional moments in this film are worth feeling, despite being clichéd.
  9. There's some funny scenes here and there.
  10. Believe it or not, Marla has decent character development in this film. She starts off being goody-two-shoes, then being unlikable after the death of her parents, then she returns to her old persona again.

Reception

Playmobil: The Movie received very overwhelmingly negative reviews by critics and audiences, for being a perceived feature-length advertisement; most criticisms were of the cliché characters, writing, poor storytelling, generic songs, and worldbuilding problems, with several negative comparisons to The Lego Movie. The film has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but for some reason, it got a 62% audience score on the same site, and according to the site's critical consensus reads: "Much like the toys it advertises, Playmobil: The Movie seems sadly destined to be regarded as a superficially similar yet less desirable alternative to the competition.". On Metacritic, it had a 25/100 "Generally unfavorable reviews" with a 2.2/10 user score rating on the same site, and a 4.8/10 on IMDb. Also, it proved to be a major box-office bomb, similar to another STX production, UglyDolls, in the United States, grossing only $13.5 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. Many factors caused this, such as the lack of marketing (a budget of $3 million was put into advertising) and Frozen 2 being a big hit, and the fact that it was released months earlier in other countries.

The movie had abysmal marketing in the United States, with only two trailers that were very vague about the actual plot of the film and a few posters that painted Rex Dasher as the protagonist.

It was reported that theaters sold tickets for only five dollars, meaning that they didn't have much faith in the movie doing well. It also has the fourth-worst box-office opening of all time in over 2,000 theaters, and the worst opening in over 2,300 theaters ($660,000, averaging $280 per theater). For comparison, Arctic Dogs, which opened in over 2,800 theaters, grossed $2.9 million on its opening weekend, averaging $1,020 per theater.

On its third weekend, Playmobil was dropped by 96% of its theaters.

Videos

Trivia

  • Playmobil had the worst-ever opening in over 2,300 theaters.
  • For the North American release, the first hybrid movie overall to use the 2019 MPA logo.
  • The film was originally going to be distributed by Open Road in the USA, but when that studio went bankrupt, STX acquired the distribution rights.
  • The film was originally going to be produced by Sony Pictures Animation and directed by Bob Persichetti, who would later be the director of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
  • This is the first animated film Anya-Taylor Joy voice acted in, the second of which where she will be voicing Peach in the upcoming Super Mario movie (funny enough, Joy will be starring in that movie alongside Chris Pratt and Charlie Day, who were both in mh:greatestmovies: The Lego Movie, the movie that this movie rips off).
  • The film's director, Lino DiSalvo, said in an interview that when he first met Gabriel Bateman, he "saw a kid that [Steven] Spielberg would cast." Bateman would later be cast in Spielberg's upcoming film, The Fabelmans.

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