A Live-Action Play-Doh Movie Might Be In The Works & Will It Be 'The Lego Movie' 2.0?
It's happening: According to Deadline, a Play-Doh movie may be in the works, for realsies — despair or rejoice accordingly. The 20th Century Fox and Hasbro collaboration, if it does indeed happen, will likely be helmed by Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters reboot director Paul Feig. Other than that, not too much else is currently known about the project, except that the relatively unknown Jason A. Micallef would be set to write it, and it would be scheduled for a 2017 release.
Reactions to this news seem strongly related to whether or not you were pleasantly surprised by The LEGO Movie. "Before you start writing a catty comment about how Play-Doh isn’t a movie and Hollywood has run out of ideas," Deadline warned, "remember it’s the same one you wrote when Warner Bros began planning movies based on LEGO."
It's a good point — could it be with a Play-Doh movie that Fox and Hasbro are trying to replicate the success that Warner Bros. found with The LEGO Movie, which was an unexpected popular and critical hit? The LEGO Movie brought in the people behind 21 Jump Street to direct and write the film, which seems to be what Play-Doh is doing with Feig — and I am certain that, like LEGO and nearly every other big-budget animated film, they will bring in an A-list team of voice actors to boot.
On the one hand, LEGO and Play-Doh are very different toys. While LEGO Movie skeptics were certainly correct to wonder, I feel that skeptics are even more justified in wondering how on earth they'll be able to create a story from Play-Doh. There is a certain culture associated with LEGO toys, and almost everyone has memories of LEGOs. They might have a little brother who played with them for a little too long, or have the painful physical memory of stepping on one. People also remember the specific LEGO sets they had as children, a nostalgia that The LEGO Movie was able to brilliantly capitalize on.
The main association I have with Play-Doh is the feel and the smell, which are both almost impossible to convey on film. Additionally, the recognizable limitations of the LEGO toys were a source of creativity in the film; not only did the rigidity of LEGO sets serve as a major plot point, but those impotently clawed hands and other deficiencies provided a vast well of humor.
One may not be able to create a recognizable Play-Doh world in a similar vein to the LEGO Movie world, because Play-Doh itself is too malleable — everyone created different things with their Play-Doh. That said, I believe that the success of this movie will rest on how successfully producers are able to animate the experience of using the toy: For instance, characters and sets that shift and squish are an appealing possibility.
Ideally, Play-Doh will be able to play with movement as successfully as The LEGO Movie was able to, but replicating the success of its predecessor might be too tall an order.