Everyone Already Hates 'The Emoji Movie'

emoji movie
The Emoji Movie Sony Pictures

So, as you’re likely aware, we’re currently trapped in some kind of Back To The Future II-esque alternate timeline where a bloated casino owner with a cotton-candy toupee has somehow become god-king of everything. But not everyone’s gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs just yet, and it seems there’s still something we can all agree on: hating The Emoji Movie. As it happens, there's a new trailer for Sony Pictures' animated film out today.

The trailer starts off with all the subtle nuance of an acne cream commercial. A tween male receives a text from a tween female. "What do I say?” he asks his friend, because we all know 12-year-olds are totally clueless when it comes to handling mobile technology. Youths, amirite?  

Best to just sit back and trust the emoji, son. Oh, and surprise! Emoji lead exciting lives right there in your phone and get up to wacky shenanigans when you're not looking, just like Toy Story or Wreck-It Ralph. (Except completely NOT like either, because this is a unique intellectual property, right Sony?)

Perhaps you’re wondering: what possible source of dramatic tension or compelling narrative could there possibly be in a film about sentient emoji? Here's a sample: “What if you get sent out on the phone, making the wrong face?” asks the father of our protagonist. Spoiler alert: that’s exactly what happens, although in the actual movie all this "plot development" probably takes an hour. Yet somehow, it all manages to seem even more insipid than it sounds. Have two minutes ever felt so long? Watch the trailer for yourself and find out.

Here’s some of the things that stuck out as particularly hate-worthy in the trailer.

  • Island of Misfit Emoji idea clearly lifted from the awesome 60s stop-motion classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Raindeer
  • A walking hand says “Bye Felicia”
  • "Quirky" emoji ladyfriend appears to be inspired by Chloe from Life Is Strange (Pricefield 4evar!)
  • Heartwarming romantic moments between emoji
  • Really, really unsubtle Candy Crush product placement
  • Appalling misuse of global treasure Sir Patrick Stewart

It's not just spoilsport journalists hating on this movie. Delve deeper into the comments on any of the social media posts promoting the film and you'll quickly spot a common theme among them.

It didn't need to be this way. The Emoji Movie actually boasts an immensely talented cast with serious comedic chops, including Anna Faris, T.J. Miller, Sofia Vergara, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Coolidge, Maya Rudolph and Rob Riggle. Granted, most of these actors are likely contractually obligated to do a couple projects for the cheerio-baggie set in order to get other films made, but this lineup of talent deserves better. Kid movies, even heavily product-driven ones, need not be throwaway. The Lego Movie could have been a tedious, feature-length advertisement, but it set its sights higher. It's widely regarded as clever and charming, and boasts a 96 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. But The Emoji Movie, judging from the preview, looks like a banal, paint-by-numbers cash grab in the vein of The Angry Birds Movie.

What do you think of The Emoji Movie as we approach its July 28 release? Are we being too hard on it? Let us know in the comments. 

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