The Emoji Movie is a movie that exists with two goals in mind, to advertise apps to smart phone users and to try to connect with a younger generation. It certainly made some of us aware that Candy Crush was still being played by someone out there, but the movie was completely unsuccessful when it came time to be relatable. It felt like a group of middle aged studio executives sat down a focus group of random 12 to 16-year olds and asked them how and why they use their smart phones.
So our movie begins with a high school freshman who wants to talk to a girl, even though he already has her phone number, the boy is nervous about communicating with her. The high schooler attempts to send her a ‘Meh’ emoji, but our main character messes up. Main character Gene is a Meh emoji just like his parents before him. When emojis are selected by the user, they are scanned, and the vaguely human looking faces must freeze in their chosen expression. Gene, through a wacky mistake, ends up making the wrong face.
His mistake was laying heavy on his non-existent shoulders; Gene goes off on a quest to find himself. He wants to be the emoji he was destined to be and along the way picks up a one liner expelling side kick in the shape of a high five and a love interest. The high five character is only in this movie to toss out the odd one liners, hoping that one of them will make the audience laugh. When the one liners include such classics as ‘hashtag,’ he was relatively unsuccessful.
The love interest Jailbreak is an emoji which is uninterested in fitting in, she wants to do her own thing and even has her own plan for her life. Or at least she does until the end when she decides to give up on her hope and dreams to stay with Gene and become a good citizen of this boring world.
Sure this movie looks like a ridiculous and over the top case of out of touch adults trying to find something to market to teens but the writing is so boring that I can’t imagine many teens making it all the way through the movie, even ironically. With enough rewrites and talent, there could have been something to this movie, but the jokes fall flat, the animation is dull, and the audience spends half the movie hoping that Sir Patrick Steward likes his new boat because there was no other reason to be in this movie. I like to think it’s a blue one.
The animation in the movie is a bizarre mess, most of us either have a smart phone or are familiar enough with them to recognize what the screens look like. For some reason, instead of making the backgrounds in the movie look even a little bit like the phones we know so well, everything feels like a cheap knock off. As though they wanted to recreate the home screen but altered everything just enough to keep the visuals vague and dull. Even the colors are off, somehow the colors in this movie are boring. Is that an award category yet?
The plot is one we’ve seen so many times in s much better movies that without serious effort there was no way this movie was going to add anything to the plot line. Stop me if you’ve heard the one about the character who doesn’t fit in with his peers and goes on an adventure only to return home and discover that his differences are what make him special. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the writers turned Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer into a boring movie about smart phones.
Sometimes it seems as though the writers want to mock the effect that modern technology has on our lives but only a few frames later they are promoting some app that I’m sure is available in the app store. This movie is terrible and not in an enjoyable ‘The Room’ kind of way; The Emoji Movie is dull from start to finish. The most interesting thing about the movie was the hype created by YouTuber Jacksfilims and even he seemed to have a hard time keeping a straight face.
Don’t waste your time folks! See Dunkirk instead.