The Emoji movie, a new animated feature arrives trailing behind it some of the most hostile reviews of any film this year.
The film’s main character is a young emoji called Gene (voiced in breathless fashion by TJ Miller.) He lives in the bustling city of Textopolis, which is found inside a smartphone belonging to teenager, Alex. Gene suffers from the same predicament as every almost other character in the movie, namely that he is utterly one-dimensional.
His trademark expression, “meh”, conveys complete indifference to the world. Gene, needless to say, is curious and enthusiastic. His excitable perspective on life is very different from what his blank face suggests.
When emojis are ready for work, they sit in squares and wait for their phone user to choose them.
Gene’s parents, Mel Meh (voiced in ultra-lugubrious, Eeyore-like fashion by ultra-mournful comedian Steven Wright) and Mary Meh (Jennifer Coolidge), don’t think he is mature enough to be on the grid.
They’re proved right when he panics, puts on a silly face and thereby makes Alex think the phone is broken.
Alex plans on taking the phone to the repair centre. If the handset gets wiped, that will mean, whoops apocalypse, that Textopolis itself will be erased. Even if it isn’t, the evil Smiler (Maya Rudolph), who has a rictus-like grin on her face at all times and is in charge of operations at the text control room, will probably have him deleted anyway.
Gene, therefore, embarks on an epic journey across the phone and through its many apps, toward a place where no emoji has ever gone before, namely the “cloud”, where he can be fixed.
Here are 5 reasons why we hate The Emoji movie:
1. It’s cookie-cutter entertainment, utterly boxed in by its own ridiculous premise, but given our obsession with our smartphones, you can just about understand why the film-makers thought it might be a good idea to anthropomorphise the apps.
2. The Emoji Movie is an example of a movie based on an idea which must have seemed very clever in theory but turns out to be cumbersome and deeply irritating in practice.
3. There’s an excruciating dance-off in one app in which the heroes have to show off their disco moves to survive.
4. This is a kids’ film aimed at a family audience. There is therefore no room for sexting or obscenity. The world it conjures up is oppressively bland. The closest we get to anything remotely subversive is when the poop emojis snigger and refuse to wash their hands after going to the toilet.
5. The film-makers would surely have been much better advised to make a movie aimed at teenagers, one that could tap into the sarcasm, cruelty, boastfulness, narcissism and surreal humour that emojis can be used to convey.