Director: Tony Leondis
This year's Angry Birds...
It was only a matter time before our little emojis got their own feature length animated film and I can only image the idea behind this spawning from some crazy, possibly drug-induced conversation where imaginations run wild. But, how do you write a story involving the most popular (and relegated) emojis?
I believe emojis are the Japanese evolution of the original emoticons which become increasingly popular among l33t speakers back when speed-typing was a necessary skill and character count was limited. Now, emojis are used across all platforms and mediums mostly to emphasise what the writing is feeling or to bolster meaning do not to be misunderstood.
Now there's literally hundreds that live in our phone and this story is set in one particular. A whole city of emojis going about their daily business until called upon by a user. Our protagonist is Gene, a supposedly "Meh" emoji who has an identity crisis and ends up putting the whole phone at risk of being restored to factory settings. Thus, kicking off an adventure of product placement, finding inner peace and adverting disaster.
Doesn't sound so bad does it? The critics haven't been kind with a current score of 1.9 on IMDb, 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, 1.3 on Letterboxd and Flixster having the highest score of 42%. It is ridiculous, as was T.J. Miller parasailing at the Cannes Film Festival for a promotional stunt. In fact there's a massive marketing campaign behind this, involving brands like McDonald's and Yollies possibly trying to rival Despicable Me's minions.
It does start off rather poor and you can see where the script is made up of as many phone related and emoji puns, many of which feel forced. The performances do their job, probably better than their respective emojis. It's got a strong cast but unfortunately the characters are difficult to like.
There's some serious but clever product placement going on and they certainly don't shy away from doing it. A fairly good soundtrack but forgettable score from Patrick Doyle. And there's a message about being yourself and gender equality which actually brings some morality to the story.
It does actually get better towards the end and I have to remind myself, it's a children's film, who will probably get more out of this than my adult self. The animation is vibrant and up to a good standard but over all, it is rather Meh. So mission accomplished!
Running Time: 5
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 2
The Extra Bonus Point: 0