I love Playmobil as much as I love Lego. I grew up with both kinds of toys, side by side. I still have my Cowboy Playmobil set from a few decades ago. So as much love as Lego gets around here, I was more than happy to send some Playmobil’s way when they offered to send me a copy of their latest interactive DVD to review, The Secret of Pirate Island.
So, immerse yourself in the land of Playmobil! The Secret of Pirate Island is about a sister and brother taking a trip with their parents to visit their grandparents. Once they get there, through some interesting happenings that I wish they’d elaborated on more, the kids end up on a pirate ship going on a treasure hunt. The storyline is a basic adventure story, but it is also pretty funny, too. And definitely cute.
The new special interactive DVD is very intuitive to use. The main menu gives you a few options, but it doesn’t stick around long, so choose quickly! It is probably best to start with the first option, Interactive Mode. This option plays the movie up to a certain point, then it gives you a choice of what to do next, similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Use the arrows on your remote to choose the option you want to advance the storyline. Sometimes your choice will lead to a dead end in the story, putting the kids back at their grandparents’ house. In those cases, you are then taken back to the place where you made the choice, and are able to choose another option. Sometimes more than one option will advance the story. You always end up in the right place in the end, however, and always with a happy ending.
The movie is part musical, which we discovered part way in. There are three or four different musical numbers performed by an anachronistic rock band that happens to always be at the right place at the right time. Depending on what choices you make throughout the movie, you may not hear all of the songs available.
The movie is filled with familiar Playmobil figures and objects. Did I mention how cute everything is? The movie is also very rewatchable, because of all the different stories you can create by choosing different options. Also, the grownups in the movie value adventure and personal growth, which is refreshing.
Once you’ve tried interactive mode, try out the second option in the main menu: Captain Gruff’s Favorite Movie. It is one version of the movie from Interactive Mode, without choices to make. If your kids want to just sit and watch something without making choices, it’s a good option.
The other real choice on the main menu is the Pirate Sing-A-Long, which puts the words up on the screen so you can sing along to the one song you will hear each time you see the movie, regardless of what options you choose.
The true test of anything aimed at kids is seeing how kids react to it. My kids really enjoyed it. My son has been watching it over and over again, sometimes making his own choices, sometimes watching Captain Gruff’s Favorite Movie. My daughter even watched it once in French. She was sad that they didn’t have the option to hear the sound in Spanish but was willing to give the Spanish subtitles a try. In short, it was a real hit in my house.
For more pirate Playmobil fun, visit Sony Wonder online to play games, download coloring sheets and watch previews.
Note: There are a lot of skeletons in this story, though they are cute Playmobil skeletons. So if your kids don’t like skeletons, you might want to watch a preview ahead of time.
The movie retails for $19.95, but is currently much cheaper on Amazon.
Wired: Lots of replayability, cute Playmobil figures and objects, fun to watch, catchy songs.
Tired: Once your kids have tried out all the options, the excitement may wear off, but no more so than for any other movie they would see.