Ah, 2017. Producer of classic films such as Norm of the North and the unforgettable Emoji Movie. The Emoji Movie's first trailer was released 7 months ago, giving humanity a glimpse of the depths of the fiery abyss. I recently had the privilege to see this "film" in theaters, and boy, did it hold up to it's reputation.
The first trailer showed us Gene, a cliche character whose name comes from his genetic disorder that makes him feel different emotions. He (no surprise) gets chased, meets comedic relief and romantic interest, and promotes the overexerted message of "be yourself". The entire plot could be deducted from the one trailer, and that's mainly because of how boring it is. With expectations low, I went to the theater.
Skip this part to avoid me rambling about the emoji world
The movie kicks off inside the world of Textopolis, a city inhabited by only emoji(s). Gene, our main character that nobody likes, wants to work at this place that scans emoji(s) onto the user's screen. But what I don't get is that it takes like 3 whole seconds to scan an emoji, but the movie is playing 1:1 character movements through a viewing screen. The only explanation is that time is slower in the emoji land, but that also doesn't make sense. If their time truly moved at 1/1000000th the speed of the regular world, there would be no problem with Alex's appointment!! This means that an emoji's only desire in life is to be scanned, but this is a highly prestigious job housing only ONE emoji of each type in a seemingly infinite world with many versions of the same emoji. And this is proved when at the beginning of the movie, Gene walks out to greet some emoji mom, with over a dozen babies. This is proof that there are many of the same emoji. But this also raises another mind-twisting question: how are emoji babies made?? We find out in the movie that Gene and Jailbreak, the main love interest, are both attracted to each other. This means that an emoji has a biological hormone system, but this also raises another question. What are emoji(s) biological structure!? It's best not to think too deep into this... back to the story.
After leaving his home, Gene proceeds to fail being "meh" several times. This is where one of the only likable things about this movie is found. A joke is thrown in about emoticons being elderly, which is the only thing that's actually clever. So Gene, in his attempt to fulfill his life's goal, goes to work at the emoji scanner place. Unsurprisingly, he fails, and now he is a wanted fugitive. The overlord, who is more cringe worthy than creepy, sends Antivirus robots after Gene. He grabs comedic relief, known as High Five, and escapes the text app, giving audiences an existential crisis.
After High Five explains the situation, they enter the piracy app, disguised as a dictionary. There, they meet the dark side of the internet, such as trolls and spam. They meet Jailbreak, who is doing some super high tech and awesome hacking by swiping random circles and shapes into random spots. Gene explains his situation and Jailbreak says "understandable have a great day" and then they all run away.
There is serious product placement here, by the way. Literally 10 minutes of the movie is dedicated to Candy Crush Saga, a game that was addicting but is just stupid and old at this point. Oddly, the scene in the trailer where High Five regurgitates candy and eats it again isn't here. It's actually later on in the film after they've already left the app. The group ventures on to Just Dance, which isn't even a feasible phone app. Seriously, the product placement is so bad that the products don't even make sense in the context of the story, but take up at least 5% of the film. Alex deletes the app and it starts crumbling away. After inventing the horror that is the "Emoji Pop", the Antivirus bots finally catch up. They install some dance program and oddly enough, the Antivirus bot originally closest to the emoji(s) wasn't the one to get them. Anyway, High Five gets caught by a bot and is thrown into the trash. Does this mean Alex deleted his Antivirus?
Gene and Jailbreak are right at the exit to the cloud, but now they have to go get High Five. All the while the Antivirus bots are still being pathetically bad. Seriously, if Alex had Norton Antivirus, the movie would have ended in 20 minutes. They rescue High Five, who kills the other captured characters in the piracy app by leaving them to die. The overlord character upgrades one of the bots using illegal malware, and it STILL doesn't manage to delete a few emoji(s). Here is where the most heinous product placement lies. Throughout the movie, the characters mention Dropbox waaaaay too much. The trio reach Dropbox, which Jailbreak praises way too much for being so secure. The entire plot is based around the premise of Dropbox being a portal to literal heaven. Anyway, Gene gets rejected by Jailbreak when he confesses his love(hurrah) and becomes full on "meh".
The phone is being deleted, and now Gene has to make many different faces to represent Alex's feelings. Alex unplugs the phone from the deleting machine, and at the same time unplugs the movie. Good riddance.
There still are some really confusing questions, though. If there really is a world in my iPhone, did Apple make it? Do emoji(s) worship the programmer of the phone as their god? What is the emoji currency? Did they evolve from emoticons, or did they just appear? These questions are more fun to think about than the plot of the movie.
Final rating? 1/10. It's almost funny how boring it is. Spend the ticket money on Dunkirk instead.