The Emoji Movie (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Emoji Movie</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, February 2018)  After seeing the critical savaging received by The Emoji Movie (“One of the Worst Movies of All-Time” ran a typical piece), I was pretty sure that approaching the film with sufficiently lowered expectations would be enough to ensure an average viewing experience. But despite a few mildly interesting moments, The Emoji Movie turns out to be just as bad as the critical consensus determined. Part of it has to do with an instinctual rejection of a fad bandwagon: While emojis have their place and are not going anywhere, The Emoji Movie is as instantly dated as any film can be, making obvious references to contemporary businesses, current technology and social mores of the moment. It would have been incomprehensible five years ago, and is likely to feel unbearably dated five years from now. But let’s not pretend that flash-in-the-pan prejudice can solely account for the film’s bad impression. The nonsense world building also has much to do with it—the film is bad enough without any technological knowledge (I’m not sure the screenwriters understand the definition of a firewall), but the metaphors (trolls inside the phone?) don’t make sense even for non-technological audiences and the inner contradictions become even worse throughout the film. The Emoji Movie is also terrifyingly lazy in its plot development and thematic concerns, having a character creating an apocalypse and then being congratulated for stopping it. It doesn’t further help that the characters are dull, the jokes are easy and the overall imaginative depth of the film is superficial. Compare this to any Pixar film and you can see how inferior the result is. To be clear: The Emoji Movie is not worth burning down a DVD to prevent it from ever being seen again … but it’s not a good film.

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