The Emoji Movie
On this Sunday that just passed, the most important people in Hollywood gathered together to celebrate the best of the best films from 2017. In celebration of such glorious accomplishments, here at Trash or Treasure we will be looking at one of the worst films of 2017 (per AV Club). Now, the films at number one and number two on the list (The Last Face and The Bye Bye Man) were difficult for me to come by, which left me with the widely available number three on the list: The Emoji Movie. Traditionally on Trash or Treasure we look at films that are could be good or bad, but in this case we are making an exception for this film, starring way too many people to list, so I’ll just say the one I have the most respect for: Patrick Stewart. The film, and I swear this is the plot, is about and emoji who wants to be useful and is being hunted down by another emoji. Let’s get it over with.
As if to start the film off with a real middle finger, we open on someone pasting a sunglasses emoji over the Columbia lady’s face. This inconsequential act serves as the springboard for all the terror that is to come. We’re introduced to Alex, the emoji’s “user” (a human with a phone), and there’s a disturbing shot showing us the outdoors of a school where everyone is texting, reminding us that the younger generation has been overwhelmed by technology and The Matrix is real.
Wait, scratch that last part.
We continue on with the narration telling us what emojis are (for the old people in the audience) and we meet Gene Meh, a meh emoji (which accurately depicts how I wish I could feel about this film). About this time, I thought we’d hit some exposition, but we’re actually assaulted with every bad joke in history including Gene trying to tell time on a clock emoji and the clock emoji responding with “my eyes are up here”. Gene, as it turns out, is a very bad meh emoji, because he shows emotions that aren’t “meh”. There’s an extreme use of poop jokes, and I continue to worry for Patrick Stewart as he chants “we’re number two!” with his son-poop. I can’t believe I just typed that. Did I just type that?
Unfortunately I did.
We continue to get introduced to other characters like Smiley and Hi-5, also voiced by actors that I (used to) respect. I only kind of care about the actual story but my mind is drawn to the fact that Patrick Stewart keeps making poop jokes every time his dumb literal shit character opens his mouth, and there’s a clever subtle joke where the teacher of Alex’s lesson teaches about hieroglyphs, which are similar in symbolistic characteristics to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh shit, sorry fell asleep in the middle of my own boring sentence. What’s happening in this dumb movie?
Something something kid and/or emoji drama.
Anyways, Gene gets fired from his job for being bad and then Smiley attempts to delete him, and luckily for him he escapes with Hi-5, who’s also sad, I think. Many “dumb jokes that made me die a little inside,” later and Gene and Hi-5 are on their way to find Jailbreak, an emoji that escaped to the cloud, but in order to do it they have to leave the text app. They do this with no resistance, and there’s a lot of explanations using a lot of apps with lots of social commentary. It’s an awful lot of attempting to make powerful statements about society, that if I closed my eyes and hit my head until I forgot I was watching this very movie, I might think I had stumbled upon a classic. Instead, all of the social commentary falls short, which is unsurprising, in a movie full of poop jokes.
I will not let this go.
They head into the “Piracy App” which is full of more jokes I wish I never heard and Future Love Interest: Jailbreak (who to no one’s surprise is a she-moji…wait did I just type THAT?). They escape the bots which somehow follow them to the Piracy App (yes it’s really called that), and then they end up in Candy Crush and…hey if it’s okay, I’m just gonna skim over some really bad parts for ya, is that okay? Okay, good. Bad jokes happen, Alex schedules a reset on his malfunctioning phone, and we’re asked to care. There’s a dance scene to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Feel This Moment”, and “Disco Inferno” (which is three songs too many), there’s some romantic tension between Gene and Jailbreak (somehow), and another Duke boys-esque escape. Oh wait, I should mention there’s a joke about men always taking credit for things women come up with, and it’s shrugged off because I don’t know what you expected of this movie.
Though, if you expected anything other than trash, I have news for you.
In the midst of the dumb shit, Hi-5 gets deleted, so Gene and Jailbreak set off to find him with some more dumb jokes, licensed music, and questionable romance in tow. Seriously this could’ve been called “Dumb Jokes, Licensed Music, and Questionable Romance: the movie”. It pains me a great deal how much this film is filled with those three things. This film was created by adults who are desperately out of touch with the younger generation, and it shows. While I ponder this, Gene and Jailbreak save Hi-5 with little to no resistance, and I start to think about things that could be better than ever watching this film again.
Like being on fire, or attacked by a bear,
Or attacked by a bear on fire.
They escape again with more of the exact same stuff that’s been grinding my brain to orange pulp this whole hour and a half, and easily make it past both the supreme malware destroyer AND the almighty firewall. Add conflict that’s easily resolved to the list of things that appear in this movie over and over and over again. The romance of Jailbreak and Gene is fleshed out to its fullest, something that also doesn’t have any conflict to it, except when Gene says some dumb shit about how Jailbreak is a princess because he literally has not been paying attention to anything she’s been saying this whole fucking movie.
To be fair, it’s what I’ve been doing all film.
Gene is captured, but fear not, Gene’s parents decide to accept him and Jailbreak and Hi-5 return and save him, mercilessly destroying Smiley the villain in a comical yet disturbingly horrific fashion. But wait! Alex still wants to delete everything on the phone! There’s a whole mess of attempts at triggering my emotions in the last part of this movie, and quite frankly they don’t work. There has been zero reason for me to be worried for the main characters of this film so far, and why should I now? There’s also a lot of questions about this whole “phone universe” I have, like how do emojis reproduce? What kind of infrastructure do they have? Why do they reproduce? WHY WOULD DELETING THE PHONE DELETE THE EMOJIS ON THE PHONE?
Me, shortly after completing this film.
So Gene saves the day, I’m not surprised, and thank god the film ends because I actually considered what it would be like to eat my own brain slushie that I now have because of this film. I can see that critics on the surface would have panned this film because of the god awful jokes and poor attempts to reach the youth of today, but quite frankly it’s the plot building of this film that ruins it. There’s so many moments with little or no conflict that it just makes you feel like you’re watching absolutely nothing. And so, dear reader, we dump this into the trash. Deep, deep into the trash, where it truly belongs.
I WILL NOT LET THIS GO.