The Emoji Movie Parent Guide
Looking for a film that leaves you feeling… well… meh? Then search no further than this lackluster animation experience.
Parent Movie Review
Looking for a film that leaves you feeling… well… meh? The Emoji Movie could be the perfect fit if you are truly wanting to throw money toward a highly lackluster experience. Locked within teen Alex’s (voice of Jake T. Austin) smartphone is a hive of animated emojis. (If you’re thinking, “emo-what?, turn around and head for another movie.) Their community is led by Smiler (voice of Maya Rudolph).
Smiler’s modus operandi is to ensure all emojis are well behaved and ready to display their designated expression if, and when, Alex decides to pull up the keyboard of graphic icons on his phone and reveal his innermost thoughts – particularly to his crush, Addie (voice of Tati Gabrielle). However, there’s one emoji that is having a difficult time marching to the beat of one drum.
Gene (voice of T.J. Miller) may be the offspring of two meh parents (voices of Steven Wright and Jennifer Coolidge), but he has more feelings bottled up inside of him than he can possibly keep under control. On his first big day in the center of the emoji grid (for those of you as old as me, think Hollywood Squares), Alex picks the indifferent “meh” face to represent his current attitude. The spotlight leaves Gene with stage fright and the outcome is a malfunction of indescribable confusion. The momentous fall from fame leaves Gene’s parents disgraced and, even more distressing, motivates Smiler to forever ban the rouge signifier from entering the emoji stage again.
Embarking on what becomes a road trip within a smartphone, Gene teams up with his buddy Hi-5 (voice of James Corden) who tells him there are pirates in the phone that can “fix” his problem. With Smiler’s police-bots on their tail, the pair become a trio after meeting up with Jailbreak (voice of Anna Faris), a rebellious hacker with the skill to hardwire Gene into eternal apathy.
Engaging Jailbreak in their cause isn’t easy, because she is distracted by her own issues. Upset with the two-dimensional representation of women on smartphones (“the first female emojis were either brides or princesses”, she exclaims) she convinces Meh and Hi-5 to join her and seek freedom in the cloud – a place where you can be whatever you want. However, it also means they must leave the oppressive boundaries of the smartphone behind.
The Emoji Movie may offer a clean ride in the usual content categories, but it does pose some thematic concerns. To begin, it’s a blatant pusher of product sponsorship in cinema. Our heroes ride music streams in Spotify, take flight on a giant Twitter bird, use dance moves in Just Dance to escape threatening bots, discover their sweet tooth in Candy Crush and find security within Dropbox. There’s also guest appearances from YouTube and Instagram. The plot occasionally interrupts the commercials.
Yet perhaps the biggest issue with The Emoji Movie is that its creator yearned for it to be something more than just entertainment. Ironically, his underlying message gets bogged down trying to manipulate his young audience rather than allowing them to feel emotion. Tony Leondis states in an interview that as a gay man he hoped to express his childhood frustration of being excluded “in a world that expects you to be one thing.” His intended purpose instead exudes elitist superiority. Gene is the only emoji that gets to be anything he wants and too bad if it isn’t his “special” right to do so even if it casts a cynical cloud over the rest of the populace who are literally pigeonholed into their emotional cubes.
If that wasn’t enough agenda to squeeze into this 90-minute romp, we also have Jailbreak’s foray into feminism. Literally breaking through a glass ceiling in one hardly vague visual metaphor, those little ones in the audience who adore Disney princesses may leave feeling less than human.
Finally, this animation encourages tweens and teens to continue expressing their deepest emotions through text messages. While the animated humans only make up a small percentage of this movie’s story, am I really the only one thinking, “Put down your phone kid, and just go talk to her!”?
The more I consider The Emoji Movie the more emoji I become.Directed by Anthony Leondis. Starring T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release July 28, 2017. Updated July 28, 2017
The Emoji Movie
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Emoji Movie rated PG? The Emoji Movie is rated PG by the MPAA for rude humor.
Violence: A character is teased and bullied because he doesn’t fit in with everybody else. Robot-like characters are sent to find and destroy a couple of misfit characters. Chase scenes and death threats are depicted and uttered. Characters are in various perilous situations. The script makes references to computer hacking, illegal software, viruses, piracy and hiding information about sites visited. Characters are scorched when they try to break through a firewall. A popular character is disgraced and has to hang out with “losers”. A character vomits, and then re-eats the candy he vomited.
Sexual Content: The script includes vague sexual innuendo, mild crude humor and bathroom jokes. Characters embrace.
Profanity: Mild language, name-calling and a partial use of scatological slang are heard.
An acronym for a term of deity is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters gather in a bar setting.
Page last updated July 28, 2017
The Emoji Movie Parents' Guide
The narrator in this movie tells us that inside smartphones and apps is a world of “perfect technology”. How does this description promote these devices and applications? What real life companies and games are specifically portrayed in the animation? How do these mentions act as a commercial for these products?
A teacher tries to connect Emoji’s with Egyptian hieroglyphs. How are both examples of pictorial languages? How well do they communicate ideas? Are either the best way to talk with other people – especially if the people are in the same room as each other? What are the advantages and disadvantages of interpersonal conversations?
Gene struggles to be accepted by the other Emoji’s because, unlike them, he can express a variety of emotions. Why is he encouraged to conform by his parents and some of his peers? Why do others tell him to think outside of the cube, embrace his differences and just be himself? While the later advice works well for Gene, how might it stifle opportunities for his other, one-emotion friends?
News About "The Emoji Movie"
It's a crappy job, but someone had to do it! The animated Emoji Movie needed a voice for the icon "Poop", and that role went to none other than actor Patrick Stewart ,who is best know know for the sophisticated roles of Professor Charles Xavier of The X-Men franchise and Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: Generations. Along with this outlandish casting choice, other actors have stepped up to take on other emotions, like T.J. Miller (Deadpool) as “Meh”, and James Corden (TV’s Late Late Show with James Corden) as "Hi-5".From the Studio
EMOJIMOVIE: EXPRESS YOURSELF unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone's user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression - except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become "normal" like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic "app-venture" through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it's deleted forever. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment