With movies like The Lego Movie, I found that it is important to give them the benefit of the doubt. Just because it’s about a product or a toy, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be unbearable. The Emoji Movie is where I was wrong. The movie takes place within a boy’s cell phone and an emoji named Meh (T.J. Miller) is only allowed to have a “meh” expression. Every emoji in textropolis or whatever it’s called, is designated to one expression, and if they express anything else, that’s a big no no. All of the emojis are waiting to be sent up to the text box where they can live their dream of being sent through a text. Meh meets a hacker emoji (Anna Farris) and they go on this journey to turn him into a true meh. They are also accompanied by an overtly annoying hand emoji (James Corden). The Emoji Movie is like Sausage Party, except the level of violence and crudeness is to a complete minimum. Although, most children would probably rather watch cute animated characters get ripped to shreds in Sausage Party, than watch this unfunny, annoying, movie filled with absurd product placement.
The High-Five emoji has no place in this movie. He is beyond irritating and all he really does is run into things and hurt himself. They were clearly aiming for a Shrek/Donkey duo, but missed the mark by a mile and a half. The one-liner styled humor is a simple as possible and the eye-rolling dialogue, along with many other things, is what kills it. “Whoops, he fell and hit his head.” The comedy is either unfunny physical humor, or one-liners related to pop-culture, technology, or social media; none of which a child should be able to understand.
The animation is nothing to be excited about. Animation can be beautifully done, making the movie much more enjoyable for children. We’ve seen this with movies such as Pixar’s Inside Out where all of the visuals, colors, and characters mix well together, making for an enjoyable experience. The Emoji Movie’s animation has nothing special about it. Children may have fun watching the assortment of colors throughout the movie but that is about it.
Ridiculous amounts of unnecessary product placement are absurdly placed throughout the entire movie. Social media apps, and phones games are shown throughout the whole movie and are even somehow vital to the appalling plot. The movie uses Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and even Candy Crush as plot points. Yes, you read that correctly. The movie is not unique enough to have its own material, but instead takes jokes and material from apps and social media, and use those as a way to entertain. They failed, not surprisingly.
The message is unbearably unclear, although at the same time it doesn’t seem to matter. Is it trying to say that children should express themselves in as many ways as possible? Or is it saying that emojis and technology are important for communication? There is even a line in the beginning of the movie that says something along the lines of; “Who has time to write anymore? Emojis are the most important method of communication.” With its appalling praise of the use of technology for kids, this movie is garbage that even children won’t find funny or remotely entertaining.
It’s hard to tell whether a movie about emojis could have been good or not. After all, there have been bigger surprises. However, it seems that what we have here isn’t even an attempt at a fun comedy for kids, but rather a middle finger to the film industry.
Overall Grade: F