As soon as the film was announced, it has gotten nothing but hate. Despite this, I was still willing to give it a chance since an animated film featuring emojis could work but it all depends on its execution.
Synopsis: Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, and Anna Faris
Writers: Tony Leondis, Eric Siegel, and Mike White
Director: Tony Leondis
Rating: G (Canada)/PG (United States)
Running Time: 86mins
For showtimes and more, check out The Emoji Movie on movietimes.com.
As mentioned, the consensus surrounding this film has been negative and now, after watching the film, this opinion was valid, however, it isn’t quite the worst film of the year so far. The biggest source of this negativity comes from the film’s concept itself. Everybody knows what emojis are and have probably used them at some point in their lives but the filmmakers can only stretch the concept so far and this is where the film falls short (at least in my mind) while trying to make them more relevant than they have the right to be.
To truly enjoy the film, if that’s still possible, one must turn off their brain and just accept the world that is presented to us because it is both derivative and certain aspects don’t make the most sense conceptually. The story here plays out from multiple perspectives, following the inner workings of Alex’s (Jake T. Austin) smartphone and the emojis within it and also Alex himself as he pursues the affection of a fellow classmate named Addie (Tati Gabrielle).
Within Alex’s smartphone, the film focuses on a certain emoji named Gene (Miller). Gene was unlike all the other emojis as he could produce multiple expressions. Gene was meant to be a “meh” just like his parents Mel (Steven Wright) and Mary (Jennifer Coolidge) but he couldn’t get there. He simply wanted to be like everyone else so he decided to set out on a journey of self discovery. Joining him along the way was a Hi-5 emoji (Corden) and a hacker emoji named Jailbreak (Faris). The latter storyline plays out like a poor man’s Inside Out (but with much less emotion), as the emojis took their jobs seriously. However, Alex always seemed to fail with Addie as his phone always seemed to get in the way.
There is absolutely nothing new whatsoever storytelling wise. Gene’s storyline was slightly more compelling and was more of a standard journey of self discovery full of predictable twists and turns while the film’s tone-deaf depiction of teens made Alex’s storyline irritating to watch. The humour missed more than it hit and unsurprisingly consisted mostly of puns based on the different emojis and plenty of sad and dated pop culture references. Basically, it tried to be current, perhaps banking on internet and emoji culture, but it just did not work.
The voice acting was okay all around although it could have been so much better. Okay to mediocre delivery coupled with a terrible script made certain characters come off as annoying but were all easy to not care about. Not even the animation could save this. It’s certainly not the best looking animation ever and it’s certainly not the worst either. The city of Textopolis was depicted with a decent amount of color and detail, however, the character themselves were not afforded the same amount of care.
Overall, this was a bad animated film, stretching out its concept way too far and features average animation, a terrible script, and sad, dated humour that not even the voice acting could save.