MOVIE REVIEW: The Emoji Movie (2017)

Emoji Movie


Written By: Nigel Asipa

I use emojis pretty regularly, emojis are meant to transcend language and communicate exactly what you’re feeling by diluting the amount of words it would take to explain your current mind set. TJ Miller’s ‘meh’ emoji feels so strongly about this that he considers emojis to be the most important invention in the history of communication.

Critics around the world must’ve been sharpening their knifes at the mere mention of a movie based on the uber popular phenomenon of the little ideograms. Many were in agreement that Hollywood has sunk to a new low and has made the inevitable cash grab of yet another widely used product.

Inside Out, The Lego Movie and Wreck It Ralph all deal with identity crisis. Each carry the responsibility of teaching kids about adapting to change and each were borrowed shamelessly from this atrocity of a movie. Sony apparently won a bidding war for the rights against Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures to make the film and this happened around the same time Inside Out came out, July 2015. So I am a little suspicious as to how ‘inspired’ the creative team were in getting this off the ground.

The disappointment is that Tony Leondis and his team make the whole thing so surface level. The humour is painfully obvious and has the kind of jokes you would expect. Much of it is reliant at poking fun at Patrick Stewart’s ‘poop’ emoji which the character itself has zero relevance to the plot, just a sideline character to give the movie some levity. One of the jokes were “doing my duty”, get it? Duty – doody (sigh!)

I could’ve walked out the theatre with a lump on my head as I was continuously beaten over the head with the lesson of ‘expressing myself’ and not conforming to what society expects of me. I actually felt more like Stephen Wright’s ‘Mel Meh’ emoji, the casting of Wright is pretty spot on by the way.

The story centres on the ‘meh’ emoji; Gene. He wanders through the emoji metropolis (Textopolis, really?) internally confined to articulating one specific emotion. He buries deep inside of him many other expressions but is forbidden to do so and his day to day activities include being ready for his masters request (Textopolis is in a phone owned by a young millennial called Alex) of applying that said emotion, ‘meh’. He finally gets selected by Alex but wreaks havoc for the rest of the emoticon community when he pulls the wrong face and is made an outcast by Maya Rudolph’s ‘smiley’ emoji, Smiler; the leader of the text center who considers Gene a threat and must be erased.

Narrowly escaping Smiler’s clutches, Gene runs into James Corden’s ‘hi-five’ emoji, Hi-5 and assists him into finding Anna Faris’ codebreaker emoji, Jailbreak as she can help them reach the cloud.

Leondis has said he was inspired from Toy Story and pondered on what is the new toy these days. It was very personal to him as he’s gay and wanted to explore the world of a phone. The story itself is criminally bland and that affects the dimensions of the characters, none of them are interesting despite the movie’s attempt to make them identifiable. Even the millennials are so shallow, the crisis Alex has is what emoji to send to his crush and because the wrong emoji is sent, he considers getting the phone fixed.

There’s product placement galore in this, from Instagram, Dropbox and Just Dance that I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie incites people to be on their phones, more so adults as the measure of humour would mostly appeal to the much younger demographic even though the movie tries to appease to everyone.

It’s gonna do well at the box office simply because its subjects are instantly recognisable and it’s a concept unexplored in cinema before, best of my knowledge anyway. It in no way however means it’s original, different sure.

If you’re still determined to see it even after all of this then check out the review by jacksfilms

This is easily the worst of the year so far and probably the worst animated movie I’ve seen to date, if there is anything worse 2017 has to offer me, I’m dreading it.

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