Movie Review: Playmobil The Movie9th December 2019
It seems rather obvious that given the success of The Lego Movie we would eventually see knock off products release their own feature length films to cash in on the hype of younger audiences wanting to see their favourite toys on the big screen. We’ve yet to have the luxuary of a Halo: Mega Bloks movie and I doubt we ever will, but settling for Playmobil: The Movie certainly isn’t what I had in mind. A rancid piece of film that looks to cash in on the luxuries that The Lego Movie provided, this iteration of the ill forgotten Playmobil brand is as bland, inconsistent and child friendly as you’d expect from a film catering to three-year olds.
Obviously I’m not the target audience for this, but I do remember Playmobil somewhat from my childhood. I never actually owned any, I had LEGO and my parents didn’t hate me enough to throw Playmobil’s at me. For much of my childhood, Playmobil was second place in just about every Christmas period, so it makes sense that even their movies are second rate knock-offs to more successful brands looking to capture the imaginations of children everywhere. Director Lino DiSalvo’s directorial debut offers some surprisingly impressive and rather glossy, eye-catching visuals to reel in his target audience and their long-suffering parents. Movies made for kids often throw in a few wry jokes to cater to a more adult audience that will have been dragged along to see the movie, but Playmobil: The Movie has none of that, it has no meaning behind its dialogue nor does it have any risks to take.
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Gabriel Bateman, Jim Gaffigan and Daniel Radcliffe, Playmobil: The Movie has a casting list of recognisable voices, most of which have struggled to find work in the past few years. Considering this is the most high-profile piece of film Radcliffe has brought us since The Woman in Black, you can’t be all that surprised to hear him crop up as a special agent, James Bond knock-off. His presence in the film adds nothing, aside from a sad realisation that we’ve lived through the glory days of his career in Harry Potter, and anything past then is going to be a downward spiral of him trying to recapture that critical acclaim. I’ll let you all in on a little secret, Playmobil: The Movie will not help him out.
As far as the rest of the cast go, they put a surprising amount of energy into their performances. With a script that has been re-used more and more over the past decade of film, the cliché and compelling plot devices are extremely predictable all the way through. This wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for how boring the film becomes on the whole, it’s a film that lacks the ingenuity to deliver us anything creative. One of the benefits of The Lego Movie was that it was stop-motion animation, an incredibly herculean effort went into creating and crafting such a film. With computer animation, a bit of the magic and capturing of imagination is lost somewhat, which Playmboil: The Movie struggles to move past.
To be fair though, it’s funnier than Booksmart, which would’ve been a compliment had Booksmart been funnier than filing your tax returns. Playmobil: The Movie opens with the death of our leading characters parents, and ends with the message that so long as you’re sucked into an imaginary world made of cheap plastic toys that haven’t been popular since 2008, then you’ll be fine. A boring piece of film that will probably make the brain of your kids dribble out of their ears if they have to sit through an hour and forty minutes of this snooze-fest. Cute animation styles aren’t anywhere near close to redeeming for this awful piece of film.