We live in a day and age where anything can be turned into a movie. Remakes are being made all the time and Hollywood is notorious for turning popular children’s toys into major blockbusters like Battleship, The LEGO Movie, and Trolls. Now Sony Animation has had the brilliant idea to bring the popular emojis from your phone onto the big screen and create a story circling them. The Emoji Movie brings the voice talents of T.J Miller, Patrick Stewart, James Corden, Anna Faris, and Maya Rudolph to the emoji world of Textopolis. In the hidden world of your phone, each emoji is responsible for one facial expression, except for Gene who has multiple expressions. Born a ‘meh’ emoji, Gene is determined to become “normal” by traveling to the Drop Box to be reprogrammed. Helping him in his journey are High Five and Jail Break, two other emojis who are unhappy with their fate to simply play one character their entire lives. Together they jump from app to app, moving across the phone, to help Gene find who he really is.
Lets get straight to it, this movie really is not good at all. When your main character is a Meh emoji and his parents are even more meh than he is, the movie’s energy is already low. It’s an interesting choice that the emoji they chose for their main character is a Meh. When the main character isn’t even interested in the story, why would the audience members be? While I certainly struggled to understand why this movie was made in the first place. There are plenty of other emojis that could have made the storyline more entertaining. Every time the movie had a high energy scene in other apps, like the Just Dance or Spotify app, it was almost always followed by a scene with the Meh parents which sucked the energy out of the film.
When it comes to the high energy scenes (which were few and far between) The Emoji Movie had a great soundtrack to work with. The emojis ventured into the Just Dance app and participated in a dance battle which is easily the high point of the film with catchy music and bright lights to keep us interested. Unfortunately, the energetic moments come towards the middle of the film after almost 45 minutes of mind numbing dullness and they simply aren’t powerful enough to pull this movie out of its slump. The movie had plenty of opportunities to ramp up the energy by having Gene and his friends explore other fun and interesting apps, but instead it is immediately followed with more scenes that dragged. It was an interesting choice to only venture into a couple of apps when there are plenty of more that could have added a lot more energy to the experience. Angry Birds, Temple Run, Flappy Bird – the untapped potential here was enormous but instead the writers were determined to drag the energy down.
For a movie directed towards kids and preteen audiences, The Emoji Movie was surprisingly lacking in humor. Any humorous moments relied way too heavily on our knowledge of popular emojis like the Poop or Devil instead of putting any effort into the writing. The Emoji Movie relies on subtle humor that doesn’t usually land well with younger audiences. I saw The Emoji Movie during a mid-day showing with a theater full of children and it was silent for most of the film, which is never a good sign. I found this particularly surprising from the company that produced movies such as the Hotel Transylvania series along with Goosebumps, which were immensely popular and I found to be charming for kids movies.
The Emoji Movie lacked a lot to make it a hit with the crowd it was targeting. With a serious lack of humor and characters that never felt involved in the story, The Emoji Movie failed to bring the popular characters from your phone onto the big screen. I doubt we will be seeing a sequel to The Emoji Movie in the near future, but hopefully Sony Animation offers us more promising movies to come.
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The Emoji Movie runs 1 hour 26 minutes, and is rated PG for rude humor.