The Emoji Movie (originally titled Emojimovie: Express Yourself) is a 3D computer-animated science fiction comedy film that is directed by Tony Leondis, and written by Leondis, Eric Siegel and Mike White based on the text faces known as Emoji. It includes the voices of T.J. Miller, Ilana Glazer, James Corden, Patrick Stewart, Steven Wright, and Rob Riggle. Produced by Sony Pictures Animation, the film was released on July 28, 2017, by Columbia Pictures.
The plot focuses on Gene, an exuberant emoji who has more than one facial expression, which is insanely rare in the emoji world. Gene is supposed to be a “meh” emoji, but is unsure of what to do with his various other expressions. Gene then enlists the help of his best buddy Hi-5, and the former princess turned code breaker emoji, Jailbreak. They travel through various apps on the phone they inhabit, such as Candy Crush and Just Dance. But when a danger hits the phone caused by the villainous emoji Smiley (a smiling face emoji, if that isn’t obvious enough), it is up to the unlikely trio to save their world before it is permanently erased.
Why it Sucks
- The sole purpose of the movie is to advertise smartphones and phone apps, made obvious by the blalant and shameless product placement for phone apps, such as the inclusions of music service "Spotify" and streaming service "Crackle" as well as "Facebook", "Twitter", "Candy Crush", "YouTube" and "Just Dance Now" in the film. It's also a shameless cash-grab trying to leech off of the smartphone pop culture (except the writers knew nothing about smartphone pop culture).
- Poorly written and unfunny jokes, that often take forever to finish.
- The Meh emojis sound like they don't want this film to exist either.
- Patrick Stewart voices the poop emoji. Apparently Stewart himself said that his casting was meant to be a joke.
- It wastes other talented actors, such as Late Late Show host James Corden, who voiced Hi-5 in the film.
- Predictable formulaic plot that is based on over-done ideas, already seen many times in other animated movies, about a misunderstood character in search for a way to please others at first, but eventually accepts himself/herself for who he/she is. Other examples are: a very cliched and never explained plot twist consisting on Gene's dad having the same problem as his son that feels very rushed and quickly made in order to make audiences understand why Gene has the problem; the fact that Jailbreak formerly was a princess and an "every character dances" ending.
- Jailbreak is a ripoff of Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie, personality and design-wise. She's also a ripoff of Olivia “Sombra” Colomar from Overwatch because she has a skull similar to Sombra's Calavera symbol on her beanie, both characters have purple hair and are notorious hackers, which makes Jailbreak a double rip-off.
- Smiler is a very predictable villain and her design has an uncanny valley feel to it, mainly because she always smiles no matter what.
- A chunk of the humans look like Inside Out background character rejects.
- Awful innuendos, such as the elephant and dashing away emoji scene (made to represent that the elephant is farting).
- If the movie had come out in 2015, it would've made a lot more sense as emojis were popular back then. However, in 2017, emojis aren't really talked about that much, making this film even more pointless.
- The film has flat characterization. All the characters have this flaw, especially Gene's parents who mistreat him for not being a Meh emoji.
- Inappropriate moments for a movie for kids: there are a couple scenes in which a character nearly utters the word "shit".
- The awful marketing stunt of juxtaposing the film's antagonist on The Handmaid's Tale (a Hulu original series) which is a very serious work that deals with the oppression of women in a dystopian United States known as Gilead.
- Aggressively childish writing.
- False advertising: despite the heavy marketing of the aforementioned Poop Emoji on posters and in the trailers, this character, voiced by Patrick Stewart, only gets a few lines and doesn't even have an important role in the movie whatsoever.
- The movie forgets completely about Hi-5's subplot and focuses only on Gene.
- Nonsensical characterization: every single character seems to express other emotions than the one that they have to do when they are used on the phone, almost making the entire plot pointless.
- The humans' story was barely even touched upon throughout the whole movie, essentially wasting a sub-plot that only comes off as a redundant afterthought.
- The movie portrays the teens as phone addicts that can't communicate with each other except by text messages, clearly depicting the problem of teenagers spending all day long glued to their phones, but instead of criticizing this problem it encourages it.
- The Latin American Spanish dub is horribly done with zero research over the characters to know what kind of voices should be given to them or how to translate jokes to Spanish. For example, there's a heavy amount of mexicanism (Mexican jokes and slang terms) to try to make this movie funny that ends up having the opposite effect; the Poop emoji and Gene's dad have Argentinan accents for no good reason, and the name "Jailbreak" was translated as "Lady Hacker" in order to allow cheap jokes made by Hi-5 (except in Brazil, where she is called "Rebel").
- The authors did an awful job at representing the characters' roles in the movie. Smiler is depicted as the villain even though all she wanted to do was to protect the Emojis world while Gene, despite being the protagonist, was the one really responsible for all the troubles that happened in the movie, he even caused the death of many characters such as the trolls and the Just Dance girl and almost caused the entire phone to almost have its data deleted. Basically, the movie tries to force viewers to like the protagonist and to despise the villain without giving the usual proper characterization to them as a reason to do this.
- Like other Sony Animation films, the animation is admittedly nice to look at.
- The music in the film is decent, as well as the song "Good Vibrations", which was performed by Ricky Reed for this movie.
- A few good jokes that actually worked:
- The old-school emoticons such as ":)" are elders.
- The scene where the Just Dance girl is dancing in the garbage, wondering why she keeps dancing while crying.
- There is a funny moment with the Columbia Pictures logo with an Emoji.
- Smiler, she is the best part of the entire movie. Even if you hated her for being the villain, at least her intentions and motivations are understandable and were defined better than the ones of the protagonists, making her a very well defined character overall and a sympathetic villain in particular. Everything she did was try to prevent Gene from dooming their world, she wanted to eliminate him only in order to defend the cellphone.
- The voice acting is at least decent.
After the teaser trailer came out, it was widely panned by audiences. The film itself was subsequently panned by critics and audiences alike, calling it one of the worst animated movies and the worst movie of 2017.
It was at one point the lowest-rated animated film on Rotten Tomatoes with a 0% rating (it has since been changed to 10%). It got a 2.3/10 on IMDb and a 12/100 on Metacritic.
The movie won four Razzie Awards: Worst Director, Worst Screen Combo, Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture at the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony.