Do not watch this…
Toy adverts have recently become feature length and over ninety minutes in length. At least with the Lego Movie series, there is an attempt to be creative and original. At least the rules of the world are firmly established and there is a logic underlying the narrative. It is a shame the same cannot be said for the Playmobil film.
This film is derivative and unoriginal to the highest degree. The opening line of the film is “once upon a time”. Was there ever a point when this phrase was considered an original way to open a story? The lead female character is also inspired by Amelia Earhart, as if Amelia Earhart is the only woman worthy of being idolised. It is just laziness. This laziness creates a constant feeling for the viewer that one has seen this all before. Two human siblings frame the story, just like the Lego Movie. Characters frequently burst into song, just like the Lego Movie. This film was clearly made to milk the profound success of the Lego Movie, and is attempting to use its formula for easy cash. It would have been appreciated if the filmmakers had the grace to attempt to hide it. They did not. Everything in this film is stolen from elsewhere. The character designs are ripped from other movies: the monster at the end looks like a dinosaur from Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, for example. The plot itself is your generic “rediscovering your childhood” narrative. It is difficult to believe the filmmakers are not being sued for copyright infringement.
Little thought went into setting up the story world and setting. Details such as how or why this Playmobil world exists, and the rules of the world, are not included. Marla (Taylor-Joy) and Charlie (Bateman) are human one minute and then a noseless toy the next, and there is no given reason. The Lego Movie world exists within the imagination of the children. Nobody bothered to tell us what created the playmobil world, why the characters are suddenly there, and the rules are not made clear. It is clear that Playmobil just wanted to create a movie that showcases all their toy ranges. How we get there does not matter, so long as the world exists to sell toys. It is utterly shameless commercialism.
This is a film created to sell Playmobil toys and its various ranges, and this is reflected in the cluttered plot. There are so many characters and none of them are given the time to breathe. Every character introduction feels like a tick on a checklist of toys to sell, and it is a very long list indeed. They do not have personalities other than their occupation. The spy is just a spy. (Apparently Daniel Radcliffe played the spy, but he is given no time to make the role unique or interesting.) The pirates are stereotypical pirates. The robot is not anthropomorphised at all. There is no time to give them personalities because the writers had to whizz through as many toys as they could.
Whilst there is a lot of promise in a world made up of different, clashing cultures (Vikings living alongside people from the future alongside cowboys etc.). There is just too much, though. None of these settings are given time to be fully explored. The writers clearly had a quota and tried to fit in as many Playmobil ranges as possible. One minute Marla’s companion is a man with a truck. The next companion is a spy. The next one is a robot. Why? Do these characters teach her anything about herself? Do they serve as foils for Marla? No. Playmobil sells these toys. They are included for this reason and this reason alone.
Nearly all films are made to make some kind of profit. Nobody invests money into a film without hope of a return; filmmakers would go bust almost immediately. Most films at least strive for meaning, originality and creativity. They attempt to disguise the fact they are a product to make it easier to swallow. This film is shameless in its commercialism. Don’t waste your time watching this movie. Watch a Playmobil advert on the television. You’d gain the same amount from that.