Review: Playmobil – The Movie

Anya Taylor-Joy in “Playmobil: The Movie.”

Dir. Lino DiSalvo. 110 minutes.

When “The Lego Movie” premiered in 2014, many of us assumed it would be a pointless mash-up of intellectual properties, aiming to entice viewers purely by the power of brand recognition. The skeptics were wrong then, but they aren’t now. “Playmobil: The Movie” is a featherweight imitation of “The Lego Movie,” taking its human-turned-plastic heroine (Anya Taylor-Joy) on a tour of the Old West, dinosaur land, classical Rome and an Eastern Bloc military base. Also, there are musical numbers.

“Playmobil: The Movie” is cinema at its most flavorless, colorless, frictionless and forgettable, a blandly sentimental odyssey that will leave you longing for some edgy innuendo or at least some swearing. A faintly uncomfortable scene in which a (male) character feeds a (female) character a burrito spiked with sleeping potion offers momentary relief from the film’s otherwise suffocating harmlessness.

There’s also something perverse about Taylor-Joy’s character’s arc: jaded by the untimely deaths of her parents, she rediscovers the joy and wonder of life with the aid of Playmobil™ Brand Games and Toys. Can PTSD really be cured with a few boxes of plastic cowboys and dinosaurs?

Several exceedingly talented actors, including Taylor-Joy, and Danielle Radcliffe as an unfunny superspy, participate in the film, presumably lured by heaps of plastic doubloons. Androgynous “American Idol” alumnus Adam Lambert gives the villainous Emperor Maximus some personality via campy, high-flying song numbers.