The Emoji Movie
The Emoji Movie (originally titled Emojimovie: Express Yourself) is a 3D computer-animated science-fiction comedy film that is directed by Tony Leondis, and written by Leondis, Eric Siegel and Mike White based on the emoji faces, smileys and graphics used in electronic messages. It includes the voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Sean Hayes and Patrick Stewart. Produced by Sony Pictures Animation, the film was released on July 28, 2017, by Columbia Pictures.
The plot focuses on Gene, an exuberant emoji who has more than one facial expression, which is insanely rare in the emoji world. Gene is supposed to be a “meh” emoji, but is unsure of what to do with his various other expressions. Gene then enlists the help of his best buddy Hi-5, and the former princess turned code breaker emoji, Jailbreak. They travel through various apps on the phone they inhabit, such as Candy Crush and Just Dance. But when a danger hits the phone caused by the villainous emoji Smiley (a smiling face emoji, if that isn’t obvious enough), it is up to the unlikely trio to save their world before it is permanently erased.
Why It Sucks
Warning: Do not insert any points among the lines of "it's a rip-off of Wreck-It Ralph, The Lego Movie and Inside Out" in this section.
- The idea of having a movie based on emojis is an incredibly lazy concept.
- In addition, this concept could have worked out if released earlier when emojis were still relevant, but by 2017, no one was using them.
- The sole purpose of the movie is to advertise smartphones and phone apps, made obvious by the blalant and shameless product placement for phone apps, such as the inclusions of music service "Spotify" and streaming service "Crackle" as well as "Facebook", "Twitter", "Candy Crush", "YouTube", "Instagram and "Just Dance Now" in the film. It's also a very shameless cash-grab trying to leech off of the smartphone pop culture (except the writers knew nothing about smartphone pop culture).
- Very poorly written and very unfunny jokes, that often take forever to finish.
- In a severe miscasting, Patrick Stewart voices the poop emoji. Apparently Stewart himself said that his casting was meant to be a joke.
- Very predictable and a formulaic plot that is based on over-done ideas, already seen many times in other animated movies, about a misunderstood character in search for a way to please others at first, but eventually accepts himself/herself for who he/she is. Other examples are: a very cliched and never explained plot twist consisting on Gene's dad having the same problem as his son that feels very rushed and quickly made in order to make audiences understand why Gene has the problem; the fact that Jailbreak formerly was a princess and an "every character dances" ending.
- Jailbreak is a rip-off of Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie, personality and design-wise. She's also a rip-off of Olivia “Sombra” Colomar from Overwatch because she has a skull similar to Sombra's Calavera symbol on her beanie, both characters have purple hair and are notorious hackers, which makes Jailbreak a double rip-off.
- Smiler is a very predictable, generic, and lame villain, and her design has an uncanny valley feel to it, mainly because she always smiles no matter what. However, she is the best part of this movie, as mentioned below.
- Very awful innuendos, such as the elephant and dashing away emoji scene (made to represent that the elephant is farting).
- The film has flat characterization. All the characters have this flaw, especially Gene's parents who mistreat him for not being a Meh emoji.
- Inappropriate moments for a movie for kids: there are a couple of scenes in which a character nearly utters the word "sh*t".
- Aggressively childish writing.
- False Advertising: Despite the heavy marketing of the aforementioned Poop Emoji on posters and in the trailers, this character, voiced by Patrick Stewart, only gets a few lines and doesn't even have an important role in the movie whatsoever.
- Speaking of the marketing, there was a promotional image for the film on Twitter which spoofed Hulu's series The Handmaid's Tale. In the image, Smiler was depicted as being the series' main character Offred. Because of the themes of the aformentioned series, and and the seemingly blatant misunderstanding of them, the image sparked controversy of the film's marketing, resulting in the tweet to be deleted. Even though the tweet was deleted, the damage was already done due to bad marketing.
- The movie forgets completely about Hi-5's subplot and focuses only on Gene.
- Nonsensical characterization: every single character seems to express other emotions than the one that they have to do when they are used on the phone, almost making the entire plot pointless.
- The humans' story was barely even touched upon throughout the whole movie, essentially wasting a sub-plot that only comes off as a redundant afterthought.
- The movie portrays the teens as phone addicts that can't communicate with each other except by text messages, clearly depicting the problem of teenagers spending all day long glued to their phones, but instead of criticizing this problem, it encourages it.
- Gene, the main protagonist is incredibly unlikable.
- The writers did a very awful job representing the characters' roles in the movie. Smiler is depicted as the villain even though all she wanted to do was to protect the Emojis world while Gene, despite being the protagonist, was the one really responsible for all the troubles that happened in the movie, he even caused the death of many characters such as the trolls and the Just Dance girl and almost caused the entire phone to almost have its data deleted. Basically, the movie tries to force viewers to like the protagonist and to despise the villain without giving the usual proper characterization to them as a reason to do this.
- The movie clearly knows nothing about phones (And this comes from a studio whose owner is better known for their technology). For example: the climax where the phone is getting deleted, and a lot of apps get deleted, but when Alex unplugs the phone, all the apps get restored.
- Many plotholes; how can you get to the phone from Dropbox via Twitter?
- The pacing is atrocious.
- Just like Foodfight!, the movie makes a reference to Casablanca, and there's no way kids would get it.
- Like other Sony Pictures Animation films, the animation is admittedly nice to look at.
- Passable character designs for most of the characters.
- Excellent soundtrack for the film, as well as the song "Good Vibrations", which was performed by Ricky Reed for this movie.
- A few good jokes that actually worked:
- The old-school emoticons such as ":)" are elders.
- The scene where the Just Dance girl is dancing in the garbage, wondering why she keeps dancing while crying.
- There is an amusing moment with the Columbia Pictures logo with an Emoji.
- In relation to WIS#7, Smiler, she is the best part of the entire movie. Even if you hated her for being the villain, her intentions and motivations are understandable and were defined better than the ones from the protagonists, making her a very well defined character overall and a sympathetic villain in particular. Everything she did was to stop Gene from destroying the Emojis world, she wanted to delete him in order to protect the phone and it's data from getting deleted.
- Decent voice acting, despite talents being wasted.
After the teaser trailer came out, it was universally panned by audiences and the film itself was near-universal disdain by critics and audiences alike, calling it one of the worst animated movies and the worst movie of 2017.
It was at one point the lowest-rated animated film on Rotten Tomatoes with a 0% rating (it has since been changed to 7%) and the site's critical consensus displays a no symbol emoji ("🚫"). It has a 3.2/10 on IMDb and a 12/100 on Metacritic.
The Emoji Movie opened at #2 on its opening weekend grossing $24,531,923 domestically. The film would later make a total domestic gross of $86,089,513. In foreign countries, the film made $131,687,133. Overall, the film grossed $217,776,646 worldwide against its $50 million budget. Making it a box office hit, despite being panned by critics and viewers.
Awards and nominations
The movie won four Razzie Awards: Worst Director, Worst Screen Combo, Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture at the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony. Making it the 1st animated film to take home Worst Picture in Razzie history and with the most Razzies.
- Jordan Peele was asked to voice the Poop emoji. He refused, and he's cited this offer as the reason he decided to start a directorial career.
- Ilana Glazer was originally cast for the role of Jailbreak, but for unknown reasons, she was replaced by Anna Faris, who previously voiced Sam Sparks in the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films.