The Emoji Movie review- a big thumbs down

This corporate clickbait exercising pretends to be a cinema for kids, but is actually trying to cross-sell apps to a tween audience

Children should not be allowed to watch The Emoji Movie. Their impressionable brains simply arent set up to sift through the thick haze of corporate subterfuge clouding every scene of this sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film. Adults know enough to snort derisively when, say, an anthropomorphic high-five drops-off a reference to popular smartphone game Just Dance Now( available for buy in the App Store, children !), but young children especially are more innocent and more vulnerable.

The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evils, a movie that feels as though it were dashed off by an uninspired ad executive. The best commercials have a style of stimulating you forget youre being pitched at, but director Tony Leondis leaves all the notes received from his brand partners in full view. The core conceit apes Tim Burtons The Nightmare Before Christmas, where a spirited misfit hops between self-contained worlds styled in a single recognisable style. Instead of vacations, however, our hero here jumps from app to app, and the ulterior motive of pumping up download numbers drains every last drop of joy from Leondiss make further efforts to enchant.

The director wants us to think of Textopolis, the bustling city inside our smartphones, as a world of pure imagination. When a meh-face emoji named Gene( TJ Miller) is banished from his home for daring to express an emotion other than unimpressed nonchalance, Leondis takes his journey of self-discovery as an opportunity to imagine fantastical scenery. As a smiley-face emoji( Maya Rudolph) ruling Textopolis with a cheery iron fist tirelessly hunts him down, Gene gapes in awe at such wonders as a supercharged rollercoaster ride through raw data and a pixelated humpback whale that majestically glides over him. But because these glossy images are so nakedly in service of plugs for Dropbox and Spotify, its all but impossible to appreciate any incidental beauty they might possess.

Alex,
Alex, voiced by Jake T Austin, in The Emoji Movie. Photo: Sony Pictures/ AP

The permeating falseness extends to the movies thematic underpinnings, which make a clumsy lunge at vague, be-yourself positivity. The paramount importance of being true to ones own spirit is attained literal in Genes silly quandary; hes forced to hide who he is for the sake of compulsory homogeneity, and merely through tapping into his full scope of feelings can he attain his potential. While Leondis, who is gay, has stated he intends this as an parable for the afflictions faced by the non-heterosexual community, any social commentary is stymied by the execution. The films insistent feel-goodery and occasional nods to feminism( delivered by a spunky blue-haired hacker emoji, was put forward by Anna Faris) ring false. Product-placement mashups Toy Story and The Lego Movie had the purity of playtime to seal in the sentimentality; somehow its not as endearing in a film built around the apps we use to kill time while sits on the toilet.

The ruthless mercenary details take the Emoji Movie beyond simply embarrassing and incompetent into something more manipulative and contemptible. One baffling scene find the emoji cronies all doing a synchronised dance called the emoji bop. In a film so desperate to sell itself, this is clearly a craven bid to runs viral, the cinematic equivalent of clickbait. The script practically prays for the approval of the tweens that elevated the lowly emoji to phenomenon status, but has only the slightest notion how they talk or act. Alex( Jake T Austin ), the human in possession of the phone housing Gene and the rest of the casting, speaks like an dusty oldster. Alexs awkward courtship of the cute daughter in his class revolves around the deployment of emojis, but demonstrates no workable understanding of how the icons fit into adolescent life. Watching this fogeyish hero angle for edgy relevance is as uncomfortable as reading a fast-food chains Twitter account.

However, the most disturbing part of this toxic movie is the way it infects audiences with its ugly cynicism. A spectator leaves The Emoji Movie a colder person , not only angry at the film for being unconscionably bad, but resentful of it for making them feel angry. A critic can accept the truth that art and commerce will expend infinity locked in opposition. Nevertheless its still startling to see art that cheers commerce on while being stamped in the face by its boots.

[ youtube https :// www.youtube.com/ watch? v= r8pJt4dK_s4? wmode =op aque& feature= oembed]

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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