Australian Council on Children and the Media

Playmobil: The Movie

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Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance 5-6 (Violence and scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Playmobil: The Movie
  • a review of Playmobil: The Movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 10 December 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 5–6 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 6 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Playmobil: The Movie
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes, animated violence and coarse language
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

As a teenager, Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) dreams of travelling the world, which she shares with her young brother, Charlie (Ryan S. Hill). However, Marla’s dreams come crashing down when the police knock on the door to tell them the tragic news that their parents have been killed in a car accident. Four years later, Marla has taken on the responsibility of caring for Charlie (Gabrielle Bateman) who is now ten years old. Charlie hasn’t forgotten those dreams of travelling however, and frustrated with the restrictions placed on him, he runs off to a toy show to see a Playmobil exhibit. He’s enthralled by what he sees but when Marla finds him, she tries to drag him away. At that moment, a lighthouse lights up and they are both pulled through a portal into the Playmobil Universe.

They find themselves as Playmobil characters, Charlie a Viking and Marla, a girl. They enter a Viking world where they find themselves caught up in a Viking battle. Charlie fights off many of the Vikings and becomes known as Charles the Destroyer. He is then captured by pirates and taken to the Colosseum, where Emperor Maximus (voice of Adam Lambert) is gathering the best fighters to take on his beast in the arena. Marla must find Charlie before it’s too late and with the help of Del (voice of Jim Gaffigan), a food truck driver, they travel to various worlds in their attempt to find him. They end up in a fantasy world where Marla’s fairy godmother (voice of Meghan Trainor) helps them complete their task.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Adventure; Battles; Loss of parents.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is quite a lot of animated violence in this movie including:

  • Two opposing Viking armies attack each other with swords and axes. Marla and Charlie are caught in the middle. Charlie throws several of the Vikings and Marla defends herself. Explosions occur. No blood or gore.
  • Charlie gets catapulted from a spring and lands in water. The pirates capture him and put him in a cage.
  • Marla chases after Charlie on a horse and arrives in modern times on a motorway. Cars are whizzing by and she gets thrown from the horse. She catches hold of a truck with a fishing rod and she gets bounced along the road. She eventually gets into the truck and fights with Del, the driver.
  • Marla kicks a cowboy and hits one with her bag. The cowboys then chase after her and nearly catch her but Del saves her just in time.
  • The Amazonian girl tells someone ‘she’ll rip their tongue out’.
  • Marla is discovered by secret agents who say they will have to torture her.
  • A James Bond type character named Rex, takes out a helicopter which crash lands on the highway.
  • Del and Marla are captured by Glinara, a fat slug creature, who hangs them upside down. They are slowly being lowered into a firepit when they are saved at the last minute.
  • The caged warriors try to escape but are caught by soldiers who point spears with electricity sparking from them.
  • Marla kicks the Emperor.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The Vikings with their battle axes look quite scary.
  • The pirates are covered in tattoos, have eye patches and are nasty characters.
  • Marla and Del arrive in a wild west town where the local cowboys are mean-looking characters. They threaten Marla and look quite intimidating.
  • The warriors who are captured with Charlie are all strange-looking characters. An angry Amazonian girl, painted in green, a man in an iron suit, and a character who doesn’t speak.
  • The beast, who is at first seen with just two large eyes and later as a dinosaur, is quite scary. It roars and chomps its large teeth.
  • A character called Glinara is a large fat slug. She’s cruel and has a manic laugh.
  • The Emperor Maximus is a nasty character who delights in people’s misfortunes and also has a manic laugh.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The police arrive at the house with flashing lights and tell Marla the terrible news about their parents.
  • Marla enters Charlie’s bedroom to find it empty and the windows open. Thunder and lightning crack.
  • At the toy show, all the objects on display lift into the air and start flying around. The lighthouse lights up and Marla and Charlie are sucked into it. They land in the Playmobil Universe as Playmobil characters. Marla has trouble walking.
  • Del is driving along the highway when suddenly a group of dinosaurs appears. To avoid crashing into them, he swerves the car and they go over the cliff and land in an Ancient Roman town.
  • Charlie is seen in a cage with several other strange characters including an Amazonian girl and a man in an iron suit.
  • The man in the iron suit is the first to go into the arena where he must fight the beast. All that is seen is two large eyes. No fighting is shown.
  • Charlie is trapped in a dungeon with a skeleton. A loud roaring noise is heard above.
  • Del and Marla are seen hanging upside down and wrapped in an electric coil.
  • The captured warriors are placed in the stocks where citizens throw tomatoes at them.
  • Charlie is seen in a cage with his foot in an iron ring. He must fight the beast who is a T-Rex dinosaur. The dinosaur roars and snaps his teeth and is about to eat Charlie and Marla (who has just arrived) but they are saved by Del. The dinosaur turns out to be quite friendly.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing of additional concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Playmobil products.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Some flirtation between Marla and Del who hug at the end of the movie.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Del tries to lace a burrito with a sleeping drug to stop someone messing up their plans. He accidentally squirts himself instead and falls instantly asleep.
  • Another character also drinks a potion that knocks him out.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Playmobil: The Movie is an animated adventure comedy which starts with real characters who turn into fictional ones. It moves at a fast pace between various worlds such as Vikings, Ancient Romans, the Wild West, Prehistoric times, Pirates, Fantasy land and the Spy world, which could be quite confusing for young children. The film also contains a lot of animated violence and scary characters and is therefore not suitable for under 5’s and parental guidance is recommended for 5 – 6 year olds.

The main message from this movie is to not give up on your dreams.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of family.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • how sad it was for Charlie to lose his parents at such a young age and how difficult it would have been for Marla to give up her dreams and take on the responsibility of bringing up Charlie.

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