The Emoji Movie

"Weak"

The Emoji Movie Review


There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining movies have been made using far less as source material (see The Lego Movie). But while there are some hilarious verbal and visual gags peppered throughout this movie, it all hinges on a script that's painfully obvious and animation that simply isn't inventive enough to hold the attention without a decent story and stronger characters.

It's set in Textopolis, an app inside the smartphone of the teen Alex (Jake T. Austin). The central character is Gene (T.J. Miller), who has far too many expressions for a meh emoji. His parents (Jennifer Coolidge and Steven Wright) worry that he has some sort of defect. Threatened by the cruel senior emoji Smiler (Maya Rudolph), Gene and his pal Hi-5 (James Cordon) sneak out of the app in search of the hacker Jailbreak (Anna Faris), who can help reprogramme him if they can make it to the cloud. But Smiler sends a team of killer bots in hot pursuit.

Yes, the plot is cursory at best, and essentially exists only so the film can namecheck carefully placed apps in a series of sponsored, rather pointless extended set pieces. This leaves the movie feeling like a low-rent variation on Wreck-It Ralph, although only a few of these sequences have any visual interest. The Candy Crush world is at least a colourful alternative to the dull digital look of most of most of the movie. And the lack of imagination shows in the depiction of music streaming as a stream and a firewall as a wall of fire. There's also a strange rush to violence in almost every sequence, as the bots continually try to delete our heroes.

The vocal cast has some fun with their characters. Miller and Cordon add quirky charm, while Faris makes Jailbreak sound a lot more interesting than she looks. And then there's Patrick Stewart as Poop, a small role featuring endless silly puns that raise a wry smile. But these witty asides seem like they were added in later or improvised by the cast. The script itself is startlingly dull, constantly explaining concepts that are flatly obvious to anyone who has used a smartphone. And it misses the chance to properly play with things like hieroglyphics or emoticons. Instead, the filmmakers strain to add some sappy sentimentality at the end. It's not an unwatchable mess, but such a simple concept demanded a much more inventive, even anarchic approach.

Watch the trailer for The Emoji Movie:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Budget: 50

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Tony Leondis

Producer: Michelle Raimo Kouyate

Starring: T.J. Miller as Gene (voice), as Hi-5 (voice), as Jailbreak (voice), as Smiler (voice), as Mel Meh (voice), as Mary Meh (voice), as Alex (voice), as Akiko Glitter (voice), as Flamenco Dancer (voice), as Poop (voice), as Ice Cream (voice), as Steven (voice), Tati Gabrielle as Addie (voice), Jude Koyaute as Poop Jr. (voice), as Spam (voice), as Internet Troll (voice), Melissa Sturm as Angel / Phone Store Employee (voice), as Laughter / Broom / Pizza (voice), Sean Giambrone as Travis (voice), Timothy Durkin as Mr. Schnoebelen (voice), as Ronnie Ram Tech (voice), Wendell Brooks as Ram Tech Bouncer (voice), as Fist Bump, as Gavel (voice), William Townsend as Rocket (voice), as Flashlight / Trojan Horse (voice), William J. Caparella as Alien (voice), Joe Whyte as Red Wagon (voice), as Trojan Horse (voice), Kate Miller as Heart Eyes (voice), Rich Dietl as Nerd Emoji (voice), Derek Mio as Elephant (voice), Paige Eileen Caparella as Cat Heart Eyes (voice)

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