The Lego Movie franchise has been one of the funniest, smartest things in the cinema and even the Angry Birds movies were pretty good – so hopes were counterintuitively pretty high for Playmobil: The Movie. Disappointingly, it is a borderline dopey, sentimental children’s adventure mostly without the wit and spark that converted grownups and kids to the Lego films.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays a woman who has just graduated high school, is yearning to travel, close to her kid brother and living in what appears to be a fairly Mary Poppins-esque part of Brooklyn. Fate takes a terrible turn, and she and her brother become closer in ways they hadn’t wanted to or anticipated. He runs away to some sketchily imagined toy convention in Manhattan, she follows – and through some kind of cosmic, seismic convulsion they are plunged into the miniature Playmobil universe, converted into Playmobil figures with Playmobil hands and Playmobil faces (Taylor-Joy’s doll-like beauty is reduced to a dull Playmobil ordinariness and she is given short hair). They are separated, and must find their way back to each other. The film throws up some entertaining bits along the way, but for those of us who are used to the turbocharged irony and comedy-rocket fuel of the Lego world, this is a letdown.
• Playmobil: The Movie is released in the UK on 9 August and in the US on 30 August.