We live in divisive times. Folks are arguing over politics, relationships and even sports. What’s one thing everyone seems to agree on? Well, that the Emoji Movie sucks. This is a clear fact but do I agree?
There was a side of me hoping Emoji Movie would be a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately it is not a strong film. I don’t know if I can cosign the worst of the reviews but I can see where they are coming from. It’s just not a good movie.
There are some positives. I liked the animation for the most part. It was bright and colorful and some of the world building in the phone looked cool. Also the voice cast was fine. I particularly liked Steven Wright and Jennifer Coolidge in their roles.
Unfortunately there are major problems. The biggest is The Emoji Movie is incredibly derivative. It borrows or shares similar elements with Inside Out, Minions, Wreck-it Ralph, Zootopia, The Lego Movie, A Bug’s Life, Sausage Party, Trolls, Angry Birds Movie, Sing, Secret Life of Pets, Toy Story and more.
Sometimes having a derivative story isn’t a problem. Many criticized The Good Dinosaur for being derivative of The Lion King but it had enough creativity, heart and beautiful visuals to engross me. The Emoji Movie doesn’t have anything like that to distract you from the reused plot points so it ends up feeling kind of dull.
The lead character Gene doesn’t fit in and has to go on a journey to learn to be himself. This is tired enough but along the way he meets a cool talking girl and a snarky boy (Jailbreak and High 5). These sidekicks do nothing to build a compelling story and are mostly annoying.
The movie could be saved by its laughs but they aren’t there. Some of the jokes don’t even make sense. From the marketing you would think Sir Patrick Stewart as the Poop Emoji would get big laughs but he really doesn’t. He is in 3 or 4 scenes and that’s it.
In Inside Out the world was constantly morphing and changing depending on what happens to Riley and the emotions. Here the emojis journey annoys the teen Alex but that’s about it. Plus, the idea that kids don’t talk to each other at all is a little hard to believe even for the greatest of cynics. At the very least Alex had to talk to the girl he likes to get her phone number and she sends him a text to begin with!
There is some creativity in the world of the apps but the problem is most of the time they feel completely superfluous. Like they spend a segment in youtube and another in spotify for no reason and they didn’t quite get the spirit of what those apps are all about to begin with.
The villain is pretty annoying and everything plays out just as you expect. There is also a plot with Mr and Mrs Meh that did nothing for me.
The Emoji Movie isn’t the worst animated film I’ve seen but it’s not good. There’s nothing offensive about it (except maybe the glaring product placement) so you can take your kids and they will be moderately entertained but why do that when they can watch Captain Underpants or Cars 3 instead? Those are far superior films than The Emoji Movie. I guess at least I wasn’t offended like I was after watching The Killing Joke (reaching here).
In the end, it’s not epicly bad to be memorable like Norm of the North but it’s far from good. It feels like a waste of time and resources when they could have made something that said something about communication and our phones. Even if it just had better jokes that would have been watchable but alas it was not to be.
Here is my youtube review:
Now I want to forget about The Emoji Movie and move on to the next animated film of 2017. Oh wait, that’s the Nut Job 2 🙁
Overall Grade- D