There’s no denying that emojis have become a major part of they way we communicate. They daily decorate our text messages, Facebook updates & tweets. The excitement on film twitter when an upcoming movie receives a hashtag complete with unique emoji is almost palpable at times. Therefore, it was really only a matter of time before these little faces & symbols became a subject of a film. Was there any need for this? Of course not. However, I’ve attempted to remain calm & open minded in the midst of the promotion and release of one of the most hated movies of all time; ‘The Emoji Movie’.
The narrative is a generic animated journey in order to discover that being yourself is ok. It’s been done numerous times before and whilst it’s a message that can’t be heard enough it’s been achieved more successfully in the past. It’s rather over sentimental at times too, which really slows the film down. Fun should have been the main component of this movie but instead it’s maybe what it’s lacking the most. Furthermore, the other morals about communicating and expressing yourself are laughable and definitely not what audiences of any age should be hearing. As I’ve already mentioned these laboured messages really damage the pace of the movie which for the majority of the running time drags. A few high energy sequences break this up, the highlight of these being a Just Dance scene, but otherwise the journey to the finale is at times unbearable. Beware though, as when you think you’ve reached the finale there’s around another three still to endure. ‘The Emoji Movie’ suffers from a serious case of finale fatigue.
Despite the unoriginal narrative, basic messages and snail’s pace I did manage to find some elements of the movie to appreciate. Similar, but obviously not to the same standard, to the way ‘Inside Out’ demonstrated great creativity in crafting a world for emotions inside a young girls mind, ‘The Emoji Movie’ achieves a certain degree of this too. The result of this playful creativity is some amusing moments, however the gags have no longevity and simply don’t work throughout the films running time. The fleeting moments spent outside of the phone, where the emoji characters are based, with the human characters always came off better. It’s a shame that not enough time was spent in this setting.
As for the cast, T.J. Miller is ironically meh at portraying his meh emoji, ‘Gene’. He’s not overly likeable and as a lead character he lacks the charisma that this film really could have done with. It certainly wasn’t going to be found with James Corden either though. He portrays ‘Hi-5’, in what I imagine was a character designed to be the comic relief. Unfortunately he managed quite the opposite in his role, being one of the most irritating characters ever to grace cinema screens, I shit you not he could potentially join the ranks of Jar Jar Binks. The supporting cast such as Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph & Sofia Vergara all fare better with their smaller voice performances but they’re all underused. There is some funny material with these characters, especially Rudolph’s villainous ‘Smiler’ however the same problem with the longevity of the gags also applies to the character writing.
Ultimately, there isn’t a lot to defend in ‘The Emoji Movie’. Whilst critics and audiences wanted to hate this film before they’d even seen it after watching the film it’s hard to suggest any other response. There are countless issues here without a doubt making this one of the very worst films of the year. However I did admire some of the creativity on show, select moments of the casts voice performances were enjoyable and there is the smallest amount of humour present too. As a short film, ‘The Emoji Movie’ could have been a blast but as a feature length animation it will leave you wondering if you ever even want to use an emoji again.
Rating – 2.5/10
Question: What is the worst animated movie you’ve ever seen?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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