The most heartbreaking thing about The Emoji Movie is not the rampant commercialism and product placement. It’s not even the nonsensical story and insulting excuse for characters. Its that the Popeye Movie was cancelled in favour of this. A film that, by the sneak peak I’ve left above this review because a trailer for The Emoji Movie was too offensive, looked to be a fun flick with some slick animation. To rub salt in the wound, The Emoji Movie is a film that’s bound to rake in millions and make a tidy profit, spurning more art projects cancelled in favour of these blatant cash grabs.
The story starts with an introduction to the world of Emojis. Forced to play out their expressive faces regardless of whether they’re picked for a text message or not, the story follows Gene (T.J. Miller), a multi-expression emoji that has a mental breakdown while being “selected” and ends up on a journey to find out his purpose in the Emoji world with fellow emojis Hi-5 (James Corden) and code-breaker emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together they travel through the apps of the phone to try and find Gene’s purpose. With very light characterisation and a plot riddled with plot holes, its hard to know where to start with this film.
Watching a film this bad makes it extremely difficult to find any positives and the last thing anyone wants to do is read a big review that absolutely lays into a film until they’re blue in the face but its very difficult not to do that. The over-the-top product placement is at its worst during the Candy Crush segment that incredulously shows how to play the game, fills the screen with the logo and shouts “Candy Crush Saga” with the characters telling us a number of times just how good the game is. This tactic is used numerous times during different “app” segments including Just Dance, Youtube and more. Its so bad its actually insulting.
If there’s one positive aside from its relatively short length, is the animation. This is one area the film actually does a good job with. The bright, vibrant colours and lip syncing are generally very good throughout and the charm of James Corden and Patrick Stewart are the only passable parts but the script does them absolutely no justice here.
Overall then, I’d recommend skipping The Emoji Movie. Not just because its one of the most disappointing animations I’ve ever seen, not just because it has no coherent plot or characterisation to speak of but because any amount of money given to this film is an insult to art projects everywhere. Despite the vocal talents of some top artists, The Emoji Movie is a blatant fast cash-grab, made with no love or care and slapped on a plate. Even a poop emoji would be more appealing than this film. If you love watching films or have any love for the film industry, please don’t watch this film.