Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) is forced to abandon her carefully structured life to embark on an epic journey to find her younger brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) who has disappeared into the vast and wondrous animated world of Playmobil toys.
In the past few years in cinema, a whole bunch of studios have been attempting to make successful feature films based on toys ever since the massive hit that was 2014’s The LEGO Movie. Not only did the audiences fall in love with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s animated picture, but the majority of critics did as well, proving that strong and amazing stories can be told on toys, besides the Toy Story movies.
We have already received a feature this year based on a famous toy line, UglyDolls, and in the near future we are getting a live action Barbie starring Margot Robbie as the titular character. Does Playmobil: The Movie follow the trend of LEGO Movie with a great sense of humor, fun and exciting story, and good characters? Unfortunately not.
By far the biggest issue with Playmobil is its complete lack of heart and its sense of fun is strangely minimal. Something that this film and the aforementioned LEGO Movie have in common, is that there are certain sequences in which we will cut to a fully live action shot with no animation being involved. In fact, the opening to this film is Anya Taylor-Joy’s Marla talking to herself about how her hopes and dreams. This storyline does not really go anywhere unfortunately, and everytime they cut back to this, it seemed quite forced and unnecessary for the type of movie they were going for. While Taylor-Joy is good in the movie, her character should have had a lot more development to make her more interesting.
I was at least hoping that the moments with the titular toys would be funny or entertaining to watch but they just were not. All of the comedy present in these scenes are aimed towards extremely young kids, and anybody above the age of four will find them tired and frustrating. Disney and Pixar are two companies that never fail to impress with this element. Their humor never panders towards children, but instead manages to be funny for audiences of all ages.
Even the times in which we follow the Playmobil characters on their various adventures in the animation medium come across as nothing more than scenes that are there in hopes to entertain young children, with no real emotional connection present. There were only a couple of good moments involved in which there was some fun to be had, but it was quite blatant to me while watching that this picture was made to simply sell toys, which it more than likely will.
In addition, the animation is quite exceptional for the most part. The toys in the film look exactly like the real life Playmobil toys look like, and the attention to detail on some of them is quite good, though it is nowhere near as greatly detailed or animated as Toy Story 4 or Incredibles 2 to name a few.
Playmobil: The Movie is an unexciting and disappointingly unfunny tale that only the youngest of children will get a kick out of.
Overall Grade: D
MPAA Rating: N/A
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Jim Gaffigan, Gabriel Bateman, Adam Lambert, Kenan Thompson, Meghan Trainor, Daniel Radcliffe
Directed by: Lino DiSalvo
Distributed by: Pathé Distribution (France), STXfilms (United States), StudioCanal (United Kingdom)
Running Time: 99 minutes