This is…wow. I mean, wow.

emoji 2

People have asked me what it would take for me to give a film an F. Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to give one, as I think there’s always something to be found within. After all, filmmaking takes a lot of work; many people work for multiple years on these movies, so the least I can do is give them a D-, right? The Emoji Movie is the exception. They didn’t even try. Really, they didn’t. This movie has the most asinine writing and execution out of any film I’ve seen in recent memory. The “plot” follows a “Meh” emoji who discovers he is malfunctioning because he has more than one emoji. Because, in the emoji universes, smiley faces can only smile, angry faces can only be angry, and poops can only be…poop. He teams up with a High Five and a super cool alternative hacker chick who together go on an epic adventure across a smart phone to escape to the cloud and achieve absolution or nirvana or something. The final product is a terrible amalgamation of Wreck-It Ralph, Inside Out, and Tangled, except nowhere near the quality of those films.


This film is the epitome of a Sony film. Sony pictures is notorious for trying ridiculously hard to cash-in on the hot new thing in order to make some quick money off unsuspecting young people. The only problem is, every single time they attempt this, they fail astronomically. Watching the emoji movie is like taking every stupid pandering moment from The Amazing Spider-Man franchise and extending it to a full film. Someone I saw it with described it as “a feature-length cringe compilation,” which might just be the aptest description I’ve ever heard. The film is dripping with attempts to resonate with youths that land with an almighty and overwhelming thud. Characters use “trendy” phrases like “NBD” and “#Blessed,” that were outdated the moment they were first uttered. You see, that’s the nature of the internet. It’s impossible to make a movie revolving around it because the moment you write a joke into the script we’ve already moved on. Any of the relevancy issues the film has could have been solved by literally consulting anyone under the age of thirty at any point during the production process. But, like I said, they didn’t even try.

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The movie has many more issues beyond just being remarkably out of touch. For one thing, there isn’t a single funny joke in the entire film. Additionally, they based their entire plot around the least interesting emoji possible. All of the humor that could be mined from the “meh” personality is spent in the first ten minutes of the runtime, thus making all of the screenwriter’s later attempts to be incredibly grating and groan-inducing. The film doesn’t really have a moral. It’s clearly set up to allude to being yourself or whatever, but all of this is destroyed because our main character is the only one who is seemingly capable of being remotely individualistic. The voice talent isn’t particularly emphatic or interesting, nor are the directions the story takes. The animation is ridiculously lazy and overall feels like a substandard cartoon network show instead of a feature film. The film has some absolutely egregious product placement that rivaled even the Power Rangers Krispy Kreme debacle earlier this year. A ten-minute sequence takes place within the Just Dance app that was genuinely one of the worst scenes I’ve seen in my lifetime. Not to mention the fact that Sony felt the need to include the Crackle App on the screen as much as possible so as to pimp their streaming service that no one alive uses. I mean, seriously, do you know a single person who has the Crackle app on their phone? Just one person. No, of course not. The structure of this film is absolutely terrible. Nothing really happens for the entire runtime, tension is never escalated, and most of the plot points are simply presented out of nowhere rather than being set up properly or logical progressions based on the situations at hand. Honestly, this movie was just dismal to watch. With each passing scene, I felt a pall pass over the theater, almost as if we were slowly watching a sad alcoholic man slowly lose control of his life over time. There wasn’t even a single eggplant joke. Not one. Not ONE. The only good thing to come out of this entire travesty is the judicially low box office return the film has incurred thus far. Maybe this will finally teach Sony a lesson that instead of trying desperately to be as hip as possible, they should instead just dedicate their money to creative people like Edgar Wright. In other words, please, Sony, from us to you, more Baby Drivers, and fewer Emojis.


-Ethan Brundeen


Posted by:Ethan Brundeen

One thought on “The Emoji Movie

  1. Great review, even though I do not agree. This film does not deserve universal panning. It is a satire on modern communications; not brillaint but still raises lots of interesting questions. Decades from now it will be dug up and studied as a whimsical cultural artefact that portrays the imagined relationship between humanity and digital communication. Researchers will ask why hieroglyphics returned as a universal language and why humans came to rely on homogenised icons to convey meaning.


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