By Andrew Jenck
I love this job. I love how I can now be motivated to go to the movies on a weekly basis and share my opinions and passion with all of you. However, with all the pleasures, there have been times where this felt like work; having to see movies that I otherwise would have no interest in seeing. I mean, do I really need to go into great detail about why you shouldn’t see The Emoji Movie? The last time I felt this way was with Transformers: The Last Knight, in which I thought up most of that review before even seeing it. That’s why I’ve decided that The Emoji Movie is not worth seeing even for review purposes and will instead discuss my thoughts on the subject matter, as opposed to a straight-forward review.
This film should give me enough material to review, considering the blatant product placement, stealing concepts from much better animated movies, and the fact that it’s, well, about icons in your text messages. However, I won’t review it simply because of one thing: generic. I read the plot summary on Wikipedia and saw some reviews from my favorite critics, and the story itself feels like any other generic kids movie. The meh Emoji has more than one emotion which makes him an outcast to the other Emoji community. He’s pressured by his family to change. After failing to appease them, he goes out on a journey of redemption, only to realize that he…ugh…should just be himself. Cast some celebrities for the voices, throw in some dull slapstick and potty humor, let it cook for one year, and you have Generic Kids Film #248B.
The few positive reviews I’ve seen for this film comment on how this film has a good message, but that’s just to trick its audience that it has heart. The real message is that Just Dance, YouTube, and Candy Crush are these awesome apps that you can download! This film apparently has so much product placement, that the destination for the characters is Drop Box. It’s really despicable how it advertises so much to kids, and just encourages them to be on their phone more.
There is a way to do the message of “being yourself” well but there needs to be more to that message. Wreck-It Ralph, for example, had its titular character realize that instead of abandoning his whole life he should make the most of his situation. Speaking of that movie, The Emoji Movie steals its concept by having a bunch of electronic characters sharing a hub world and interacting; just replacing arcade cabinets with a smartphone. But don’t worry! They’re so creatively bankrupt that they also steal the concept of Inside Out in which a cartoony world and a more realistic world affect one another. Though, instead of being a neurological analysis of a child’s depression, it’s…a high school freshman trying to contact his crush with Emojis.
The whole movie feels like that: a cash-in on popular ideas without the heart or sincerity. Even the title itself tries to justify its existence by being a rift on The LEGO Movie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “If a film about LEGOs can be good, maybe this one will surprise us.” LEGOs are a popular toy that encourages creativity and imagination, and the film built its premise around that while also adding its own themes around the product. The Emoji Movie is just a product.
I’m not seeing this film because I think it looks bad. Watching bad movies can further my understanding of filmmaking, allowing me to appreciate good films even more. However, it needs to be an interesting kind of bad; one that needs to be discussed in great detail about why it doesn’t work. The Wreck-It LEGOji Out Movie is the boring kind of bad. I’ve seen all of these tropes elsewhere to the point where discussing them would make a boring review. This life is too short to watch insignificant movies, and considering how I’ve basically thrashed this film without seeing it, I am even less compelled to suffer through it. I won’t go see it. I won’t stream it. I won’t even watch it on cable because I refuse to support something so seemingly lazy in any way whatsoever.