The upcoming Playmobil movie has been panned as a “generic and lifeless promotional tool,” “wearying” (for adults) and “bland,” missing all the wit and verve of the ultra-successful and fun Lego Movie franchise.
Toys were not made to be watched but played with, so even if the jokes on the big screen fall flat, the toys still stand up straight at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, which has been transformed into a life-size Playmobil playset tie-in, featuring the uber-popular German line of elaborate figures.
From late July until the end of August, the garden, a hidden gem of winding sylvan trails bounded by local and exotic flora nestled into a hillside near the capital’s Givat Ram neighborhood will be taken over by life-size Playmobil characters and offer activities which the bendy and bowl hair styled toy figures would probably undertake if they were a bit more flexible — and animate.
Unlike last year, when the botanical gardens hosted Playmobil for the first time, now there is a movie to tie-in. Many of the activity stations spread around the 37-acre property are somehow connected to the film’s frenetic romp from landscape to landscape, including adventures with pirates, knights, Native Americans (or Indians, in the un-PC parlance of the organizers), princesses and the Wild West, where kids can take turns lassoing pretend cows.
A flower maze and stand of cacti in some areas of the garden are fake, a somewhat strange choice considering that they are located in a botanical garden. But not to worry, your kids have about as good a chance of noticing as they do of spotting the garden’s fairy iris flowers, thanks to all the toys to distract.
Toys! Alongside the pirate ships and tepees and life-size characters is a giant room filled with dozens of actual Playmobil sets and a whopping 10,000 of their teeny weeny parts that may someday find a home in your couch cushion, you should be so lucky.
A very unscientific survey of several children who attended a preview night picked the playroom as the unrivaled favorite attraction, beating out ropes courses, an archery range and sword-fighting castle. At the exit, naturally, are plenty of take-home catalogs with all the latest playsets, lest parents somehow forget to consider the Brandstätter Group’s bottom line.
And for anyone who might be so inspired by the toys to watch the movie, “Playmobil: The Movie” hits Israeli theaters on August 8.
Playmobil Around the World at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens opens July 21 to August 30. Ticket are NIS 89 a pop. Details at the website here.