'The Emoji Movie' Fails To Resonate
By Livia Peterson
Technology has changed the world for the better, and it is dominant in all circumstances in our lives. One cannot imagine being without a cell phone, tablet, or computer. (Or sometimes, all three.) We connect with family, friends, and meet new folks via social media, which is as amazing as it is addicting. That said, Tony Leondis’ computer-generated animated film “The Emoji Movie” proves less so as it explores the world of emojis with emotions.
The meh emoji Gene (T.J. Miller) lives in Textopolis, a digital city inside the phone of his user Alex (Jake T. Austin). Despite the disappointment of his parents Mary and Mel Meh (Jennifer Coolidge and Steven Wright), Gene is able to make varied emotions other than meh. Mary and Mel are hesitant to let him work the text center, but they allow him to anyway. When Gene makes an extremely weird expression in the end, the Smiler (Maya Rudolph) dubs him a malfunction. However, his friend Hi-5 (James Gordon) mentions that his malfunction is able to be fixed by Jailbreak (Anna Faris), so Gene and Hi-5 escape Textopolis to find Jailbreak, then journey onto Dropbox with her in tow, all while being chased by bots trying to delete them. Of course, the threesome encounter several setbacks along the way, while Alex attempts to reset the phone at the store in an unnecessary side plot.
Emojis are insanely fun to play with, but “The Emoji Movie” is far from amusing. The A-list cast always sounds fatigued and soon, the audience is too. However, the target audience – children – will have a blast. It’s just such a shallow story, it ends up being ridiculous and brainless to the adults. The Spotify sequence is admittedly a joy to watch, but the subpar animation just reiterates the fact Pixar is still killing it in spite of some recent disappointments.
Ultimately, “The Emoji Movie” is more a money grab than decent entertainment, proving that what happens on a cell phone should remain on a cell phone. Technology is awesome, but more is needed to produce a good film. Unlike “The Lego Movie” and “The Lego Batman Movie,” which had fun with its blatant product placement, “The Emoji Movie” comes off as nothing more than a series of short advertisements for various phone apps. If you really want to see a film about emotions having emotions, stick to the utterly brilliant “Inside Out” instead.