Yes, there is a Playmobil movie. Yes, it was released in theaters. Yes, I was the only one in said theater. Yes, it’s a ripoff of the LEGO Movie. Yes, it is a gigantic critical and commercial failure. And yes, I kind of liked it.
It’s dumb, it’s got some groaners here and there, and it’s unoriginal, but it also features a lot of different genres and set pieces that it moves through at a breakneck pace. Its got pirates, vikings, bounty hunters, the black market(!), a neo-noir city, a gladiator arena, a magical kingdom, and they just plop a 15 minute heist flick in there for good measure! Even though none of these elements are particularly strong, I was always excited to see what was up next! And it helps that all of these different areas are connected via surprisingly solid world-building. Also there’s plastic Daniel Radcliffe and Jim Gaffigan.
The strangest thing about the Playmobil movie, besides its existence, is the thirty minute live-action sequence that kicks the movie off. It took me completely off guard. Not only was I looking at non-plastic people, but they were singing, and one of them was Anya Taylor-Joy. I think Anya Taylor-Joy is one of the best actors working today, and it was a welcome surprise to see her here. After the first musical number, shit gets heavy out of nowhere. It was only a little bit funny.
Playmobil: The Movie feels like a very passionate, but misguided, attempt from a father who wanted to make the most fun movie possible for his kids. The director’s note in the credits is really sweet, and it makes the negative reception the movie got just that much more sad. This isn’t a must-see by any means, but it’s a surprisingly charming movie that wouldn’t be a bad option for family night.