These days, when you’re young, most of your social life is based around your phone. Calling family, texting friends, and just basic usage of the Internet all happens on that little device inside your pocket. One of the most iconic things to come out of phones are the emojis. Deriving from the emoticons, emojis are little symbols used to form sentences, from facial expressions to everyday objects. Now, the emojis are getting their first movie, simply titled The Emoji Movie.
Within your smartphone resides the world of Textopolis, a metropolis where all the emojis live and work. The emojis are tasked to act one way; the way that they are supposed to appear on the phone. The only emoji who can break this barrier is Gene (T.J. Miller), who was born with the ability to make multiple expressions, even though he is supposed to be a “meh” face. When he fails to express his respective face, he becomes determined to fix his glitch. With the help of an unused emoji named Hi-5 (James Corden) and a hacker named Jailbreak (Anna Faris), he sets out on a mission throughout the phone to find a way to turn him into a proper, “one-expression” emoji.
Like most people, when this movie was first announced, I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out. I’m not someone who uses emojis all that often, so I don’t really relate to the subject. However, when it was announced that the movie would take place inside a smartphone, it had me intrigued. Since it is a movie made for kids, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Now that I have seen it, I’m glad I didn’t listen to all the hatred. The Emoji Movie is so entertaining and so perfect for kids.
First off, I really enjoyed the voice cast. I thought Miller, Cordon, and Faris were all perfect for the roles that they were voicing. I was happy to see Miller expand into a lead role, and he perfectly captured Gene’s bombastic personality. I also thought that the humor of the film was very effective. From the trailers, I didn’t think it looked all that funny, but the movie was better than the previews. There were many moments where the humor was just average, but there were a few laugh out loud moments.
While using real apps in the movie may seem like product placement to most, I thought it was a nice aspect of the film. I found the world more relatable because they were talking about programs that I knew about, and used in some ways. Product placement doesn’t really bother me all that much, and I’m somewhat confused why it makes some people really angry. I always say, “It’s better to use something that exists then to spend the time and money coming up with something that doesn’t.”
Most reviewers are saying that the movie has no intelligence, and doesn’t try to do anything original. That may be somewhat true, but do you really think that the filmmakers went into this movie thinking they were going to revolutionize the way we make kids’ movies. Also, do you really think kids care about new and original stories and characters? The story this movie had was similar to many movies we’ve seen before, but it was fine. This movie just needed your basic “Hero’s Journey” tale to keep the characters going.
If there was one thing that I loved about this movie the most, it was the animation. I thought the world within the smartphone was really beautiful. It was so colorful and vibrant. The animation really made me want to live in the worlds they were traveling through. I also thought the characters were smartly designed. It seemed really simple just to put arms, legs, and faces (where there were none) on the different emojis, but it worked really well. It was nice that they didn’t go all out to bring the symbols to life in some extraordinary way.
This movie is for kids. This is something that I would show to a toddler when they are finally ready to see a movie. However, most people reviewing the film are not kids. The problem with that is they are making the target audience a problem. Just because you are not the people this was made for, doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. You have to accept it for what it is, and not try to turn the target audience away from it.
Make no mistake, The Emoji Movie is a fun movie that you’ll want to take your kids to. I was in a theater with so many little ones, and they were all enjoying it, as was I. If I had one gripe about it, I would have liked it to be more original. However, as I said above, the basic story and characters they had worked well for this movie. It may not speak to everyone, but it does have an audience. Don’t pass judgment on this movie if you haven’t seen it yet. Just give it a try, and you might be pleasantly surprised.